images (81)8 Tips for Saving Money and Covering Your Ass When Shopping Online


“They” say the recession is in a turnaround. Which may or may not be true,depending on your individual financial situation, but whether you’re looking to get back to mass consumption, or are still searching for deals and bargains to make your dollar go further, many are doing their shopping online.

And to make sure you don’t get ripped off or spend more of your tax refund than you should, I spoke to Barry Boone, founder of, where you can find out the latest coupon codes offered by retailers, and, which gives you the info on where to find the best deals.

So since the guy makes a living saving other people money, I asked him for his top tips for making sure we get the best deal when buying on line. Here’s what he told me:

1: Always Check for Coupons Before Checking Out
Most e-commerce sites offer special deals, but you’ve got to have the code to get it. And many of them aren’t so open about those codes. So you can search their site, or let Boone get it for you. “Visiting and getting a coupon or promo code only takes a few seconds and could save you anything from free shipping to 50% off or more,” he says. Save 50% for a few seconds? Best few seconds ever spent.

2: Shop Around
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many guys won’t take the time to click the mouse a few times to see if another site’s got it cheaper. Or at least lower shipping, or faster turnaround time.

Can Boone save you the effort? Sure. Hit one of his sites and he says, “we can help you find that best price by giving you a list of online stores in the category you’re shopping for, and showing you the coupons that those stores are offering.” Shit, I’ve driven an hour to find a better price. I’ll surf a few sites for a deal.

3: Credit, Not Debit
In general, it is far safer to use a credit card than a debit card for shopping online. Boone explains why: “Most debit cards don’t offer the same level of safety that a credit card does, and when an unexpected or erroneous charge shows up on your debit card, the money is taken from your bank account, and you can end up with bounced checks or other issues before you ever realize the problem has occurred.”

4: Screen the Final Screen
No one is perfect. Not even computers… or the guys running the shopping cart software. “Always be sure that the final checkout screen shows the correct items, quantities, and pricing before you submit your order,” Boone says.

5: Keep Your Info Private
Not everyone is as honest and ethical as you are. Many online shopping sites are making extra money by selling your info to the highest bidder. Boone warns, “Read the site’s privacy policy on information sharing, and be sure you don’t unintentionally opt in to having your information shared with third parties.”

6: Do They Tack On Tax?
Some merchants are required to collect sales taxes in your state while others might not, depending on the laws and things like whether they have a physical presence in your state. “It can pay to check several online retailers if the merchant you’re about to purchase from wants to charge sales tax,” Boone says. Finding one that doesn’t keeps more coin in your pocket, and less out of Uncle Sam’s.

7: Even eBay Lets You Save Beyond the Bid
If you’re an eBay shopper, be sure to check for an eBay coupon, especially if you pay by PayPal. eBay sometimes issues coupons that are valid for purchases made on their site with PayPal. And Boone says that this is especially true near the holidays.

8: Shipping is a Profit Center
Pay close attention to shipping charges. Boone warns, “Some retailers make up for their low prices by padding the shipping, so you want to be sure you’re getting the lowest possible overall price.” It may take some work, but researching the shipping cost of several sites and figuring the total cost, before finalizing the deal, could save you big bucks.