Throughout my years shopping on the web, I have gathered a large amount of experience finding the slickest of deals on everything from sub sandwiches to desktop processors. Today I’ll be sharing 10 of the most important rules you should follow when searching for the best possible deal on anything you wish to purchase on the shimmering expanse known as the Internet.
Rule 1: There will always be deals.
One of the worst feelings is barely missing a deal when you could have snagged it. This happened to me recently when I woke up at 5 AM for a deal on a solid-state drive, and right before I checked out the site ran out of stock.
This stuff happens, and you may initially feel like a disappointment. But there will always be deals on the product in the future. That’s rule 1.
Rule 2: Some deals are once in a lifetime.
There are a few exceptions to rule 1. Some deals are just unbeatable. For instance, pricing errors could drop a product to 20% or lower of the original cost. I picked up three 2TB hard drives for only $20 each (normally $70 each), and that deal will never return because it was a pricing error. Unless some other company makes the same mistake!
Rule 3: Buy now, think later.
Following the price error business, if there’s a deal that you think may be too good to be true, just buy it. If you don’t need it, you can always sell it and make some profit. There’s no time to waste; the deal might not last long as everyone is using this mentality to snag the best deal.
You can take this rule even further: if you think it’s a price mistake, purchase the fastest shipping possible if it’s still a reasonable price. One time there was some computer memory on sale for $20, when this stuff normally goes for $125. I bought the overnight shipping for $30, bringing my total to $50. All of the orders for the product got cancelled, but it was definitely worth a shot.
Just as I am writing this, I received a $10 code from a certain site because they couldn’t fulfill my order due to high demand and a pricing mistake. It’s a win-win. You know how much I love win-wins.
Rule 4: Check price history.
Are you sure what you are looking at is a good deal? Knowing the history of an item’s price is important to making sure you get the best bargain available. The more you scour the web for deals, the more pricing experience you’ll obtain.
If you’re on Amazon, the website camelcamelcamel.com is an amazing resource. Just paste the Amazon link for the product and you’ll see the entire price history on a graph. If it’s at an all-time low, it’s time to purchase, my friend.
Rule 5: Reviews are accurate (mostly).
Always read reviews. I never purchased a product with 3 or less stars unless it is the only one available. Sort by most helpful, as these reviews are rated by fellow shoppers and reading these will be the best use of your time.
Some reviews are fraudulent. Luckily, for Amazon, there’s another nice site that you could use to verify the genuineness of reviews: fakespot.com. Just paste the Amazon link and take a look at review quality and company quality. If both are given an A, you’re all set!
Rule 6: Visit deal websites.
Believe it or not, there are websites dedicated to sharing deals. The most popular one is SlickDeals.com. It has a wide variety of deals that are voted for by fellow members of the site. It has a great app as well. Because of the site’s breadth, you will learn about deals on things you don’t normally buy.
For instance, I got 50% off Jersey Mike’s subs. I love Jersey Mike’s subs, but normally I’m not willing to pay the full price of $8 for a sub, so this deal was a beaut. Slickdeals also allows you to filter your deals by keywords or types.
There are also niche communities for certain types of products. For instance, reddit.com/r/buildapcsales is the best place for computers items, including parts, peripherals, furniture, and pre-built systems. Do a quick google search for [your product] deals and you’ll find a community in no time.
Rule 7: Get notifications.
If you are really dedicated to deal hunting for a certain product, you need to subscribe for notifications for the item. The Slickdeals app automatically sends you notifications. For other sites like Reddit forums, you can use the IFTTT app to send you notifications for new posts. I personally am using that app for buildapcsales posts, as I am currently in search of a great deal on a graphics card and memory.
Rule 8: Sign up for cash back.
Recently, I’ve installed the Ebates chrome app. It allows me to gain small to large percentages of my purchases back in cash. For example, they currently are giving 18% back at Godaddy.com, 6% at JCPenny.com, and much more.
You could sign up for Ebates for free at my referral link here. If you signup with my link, you’ll get $10 for free just to start!
If you have a credit card (which you should have if you’re 18), it probably has some form of cashback. Always buy with your credit card. You’ll improve your credit score if you pay your bills on time while getting a small percentage back in cash (depending on the card).
Rule 9: Be patient.
Is there a product that you really, really want? First, check if there have been deals on it before. If there have been, especially if there have been multiple deals, you should wait for another one. Subscribe to notifications specifically for that item. You’ll save a ton of money and be super satisfied for your efforts.
Rule 10: Don’t go overboard.
Take control of your money. Always have a budget – I personally keep two separate excel spreadsheets: one for listing all of my purchases, and one for budgeting my net income.
If a deal pops up that’s really good, first consider if you REALLY need it. If you don’t need it in the next 6 months, there probably will be another deal on it in the near future, and you should wait.
Well, that concludes this guide. I hope you will save the big bucks on your next purchase on the internet. Please leave a comment if you have your own tips and tricks. Sharing is caring!