By Ashley Rutherford • April 26, 2010•Writers in Residence
Successful bargain shopping starts with the internet. The internet is convenient. You can almost always find your size, and your order can be quickly shipped to your home or office. And, for those hard-working big law attorneys, online stores allow you to shop in your pajamas at midnight with a much-needed glass of wine. And often, with a bit of patience and a couple of smart searches, you can save more than twenty percent off most retail store prices. This article is dedicated to the three most important rules for shopping on the world wide web.
1. Never Pay Shipping: I will not purchase an item without free shipping unless the shipping is quick and the total cost for my purchase is less than the most convenient department store’s retail price. Some websites offer free shipping as a regular bargain. Endless.com offers free overnight shipping on all of its shoes and purses. Amazon.com offers free shipping so long as you spend at least twenty-five dollars.
2. Find an Online Coupon: Many websites offer their regular online customers coupons for twenty percent off, free shipping, and more. Most of these coupons can be found on websites dedicated to bargain hunters. Websites like Retailmenot.com and Mycoupons.com provide many of these codes that can be entered into the store website at checkout.
3. Shop Around: The internet, like the mall, has multiple stores with the same stock. Check several internet stores before purchasing. Many times, stores that carry the same items may have different bargains. For example, endless.com may have a gorgeous pair of shoes with free shipping, but you may be able to find them less expensive at Macys.com even if you have to pay shipping because they are offered at forty percent off the original price. One way to maximize your efforts is to type your item into Google and check the Google “shopping results.” Google will automatically compile a list of websites that match your search criteria. The shopping results also include prices and can be sorted based on “free shipping,” “price range,” and “new items”.
Savvy Tips for the Shopper-at-Law: Although the web has some fabulous bargains, be cognizant of the following:
1. Know Your Measurements: When ordering clothing from a new store/brand, make sure to check the size charts and order based on your measurements. Just remember, you may be a size six in one brand, but a size ten in another. Do not worry if you have to purchase a size larger--if you look amazing in it, then nobody will care if you wear a size two or a size twelve.
2. For Shoes, Check Customer Comments: Previous customers who have ordered your item also may have provided the website with information on the fit and comfort level of certain items. Make sure to check the comments. If more than one person states that the shoe runs a half-size small, consider ordering a half-size larger.
3. Can you return your item?: When purchasing clothing online, always make sure that the item can be returned if it does not meet your expectations. Additionally, for those who want the extra convenience, see if the item can be returned to the store. For example, Ann Taylor and Cache both allow items purchased online to be returned to one of their retail stores.
And always remember: If do not love it, and you paid more than your “it was dirt cheap” price (which for me, this is fifteen dollars), then return it. You will never wear it enough to get your money’s worth.