29 November 2008

Online Shopping in the Economic Downturn

I went to the mall for Black Friday and picked up a couple of gifts but decided to do the rest of my shopping online. That's not so unusual (for me or for the country). News stories about Black Friday and the economy in general are concluding that (a) even with economy slowing, Americans are optimistic and want to keep the holiday as normal as possible, (b) they need/want to save money this season, and (c) they are turning to online outlets to accomplish it.

My usual starting points for online shopping are:
Shopzilla.com
Overstock.com
Half.com

Typically, I follow the links to stores from Shopzilla and rely on the "ratings" of the store provided at the Shopzilla site. For technology purchases, I always include a comparison with thenerds.net (even if that store doesn't pop up in a Shopzilla search).

And then there are the couponing sites. I have joined and quit two, learning that I am not dedicated enough to work the links. But I do check the coupon sites listed below for the leading coupons and codes for products I'm researching.

A dedicated online couponer is on these sites regularly, as a member and even as a contributor to some of them. You have to figure out the trade-off of time investment and cost savings. The additional crucial factor is the number of purchases you are making regularly. When I shopped for a household of four, I used paper coupons for groceries. As a baby boomer now shopping as little as possible, I literally do not have as many purchases to make.

YAHOO! DEALS is a shopping site with tabs for Coupons, Storewide Sales, and Weekly Ads. The site is easy to read, and especially easy to spot expiration dates. The Coupons page has an important feature in upper right-hand corner: ability to sort the coupons by Latest, Most Popular, and Expiring Soon.

Dealcatcher also presents a streamlined page for easy scanning. The Coupons tab includes links at top for Popular, New, and Expiring Coupons. I found the link for List Stores a helpful one. The site also offers deal alerts by email and RSS feed but I haven't used those.

Probably one of the most-often linked sites is Retailmenot. The web site offers a weekly email newsletter plus a Firefox extension for your browser that posts alerts about new coupons. Again, too much connection for me! But I do like the user comments on the coupon codes.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

1 comment:

Melany said...

Excellent post..! couponalbum.com is a another website that allows you to search for coupon codes.