For the 79 million of us born between 1946 and 1964, commonly known as The Baby Boomers, we are claiming our spots in the middle-aged cheap seats at a face pace. Within five years, one-half of the U.S. population will be over the age of fifty (New Media Trend Watch). We’ve been lagging at bit behind the younger set in terms of our technology prowess, but we’re catching up – the average Facebook user is now 40.5 years old (Pingdom, 2012 ).
Here is what has really gotten my attention: “In the next five years, Boomers are set to control 70% of the disposable income in the US and they stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years.” In summary: we’re learning how to maximize the Internet and we’ve got money to spend…. Hmmm…. What to do?
I know, let’s go shopping!
In certain circles I’ve acquired a nickname: Shop.Dot.Kimba. I do love to shop, but I love to shop – FOR BARGAINS. This thrifty southern Irish gal is always on the look-out for a steal, a deal, or a curbside treasure – the whole “another man’s trash” mantra. If you’re a regular blog reader, you’ve seen my post sharing secrets of an estate sale junkie. As crazed as I am about scouring estate sales for bargains, I’m equally as dedicated to discovering terrific finds on the Internet. Here are some tips as well as a few of my favorite online sites:
- Avoid shipping costs. Always take into account that for most online purchases you will not have to pay sales tax. But to make an online purchase truly cost-effective, the key is to avoid shipping costs as well. Here is one site that I highly recommend you visit before any online purchase: Retailmenot. This site is very easy to use: search for the online store from which you are about to make a purchase and Retailmenot will show you any useful discount codes. Many times a code for free shipping will be available. Also, look for free shipping with a minimum purchase. If you are a dollar or two away from free shipping status, it may be worth your effort to find something to put you over the order minimum to save on shipping. Otherwise shipping can add upwards of ten+ dollars to a purchase total.
- Comparison shop. I recommend looking up an item on Amazon before you hit that purchase confirmation button. Amazon was launched in 1995 and has evolved into the largest online retailer . Amazon is also great for product reviews. A gal pal was recently considering purchasing a substantial piece of furniture online, but she took the time to look up the reviews – which were terrible – and wisely decided to pass on the purchase.
- Pay attention to return policies. Sometimes sales are final; no returns. Consider carefully if you love a product enough to live with it no matter what. Also, online retailers often require you, the consumer, to cover the shipping costs for an item that you are returning. That cute little silk blue dress that is three inches shorter than it appeared in the picture could cost you $8 to return.
- Take note of sizes. Size matters. Sizes can vary dramatically from one site to another. Most of the time I don’t shop for clothes online – I’m just too difficult to fit. However, here’s a list of ten recommended online clothing and shoes sites that I found featured on the Huffington Post.
- My two favorite sites. I have two online sites that I stalk on a regular basis: One Kings Lane and Joss & Main . Each of these sites offers terrific daily sales and prices are very good. A few things to remember: all sales are final; you will pay shipping (but it’s usually very low); and items move quickly – if you love it, buy it, because it could be gone in a matter of not minutes but seconds. In particular pay attention to OKL’s “downstairs” where they feature clearance and sale items. By the way, if a friend “refers” you to either of these sites (they must be a current site member), and you make a purchase, your friend receives a $15 credit on their account. If you’re interested, e-mail me and I’ll hook you up!
For my “girly” stuff. For health and beauty needs I like to use Drugstore.com This site offers a huge selection of products, usually has free shipping, and offer bonus dollars to use for future purchases. Tip: create a “your list” of the products you purchase most often – this usually entitles you to a deeper discount than the regular onsite price.
Are you an online shopper? What are your favorite sites? Any online shopping secrets to share?