Can you get better deals in stores or online?

February 18, 2010 2:47:23 PM PST
Can you get better deals in stores or online? Audrey Mansfield goes to an expert to find out how you can get the best deal every time.

Some of Lee Cohen's favorite coupon sites include:

Tips for using coupon sites:
  • Typically the best coupons are displayed on the homepage.

  • Read fine print and recognize that not all coupons will work especially for sites that allow users to "share coupons.

  • Keep in mind that online coupons come in all shapes and sizes - some will be % off, $ off a certain total, free shipping, etc. So don't be surprised if a "coupon" is not identical to what you are used to offline.
Some of Lee's favorite online stores:
Deal sites (require that you sign-up): Tips for using these types of sites:
  • Always read the return policy. Since these sites offer great deals, often you cannot return the products so make sure you are aware of this before you buy.

  • Add your favorite sales to your calendar so that you are reminded when they begin since good inventory moves fast.

  • Look for incentives like inviting friends. For example, RueLaLa will credit your account $10 when a friend that you invited makes a purchase.
Online Stores: Neiman Marcus, Saks, barneys, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom's allow for free in-store returns.

Tips on using these sites:
  • Always read the return policy.
  • When using e-Bay, only use trusted sellers and ask all questions before bidding.
Comparison shopping engines: Tips on using these sites:

These sites act like shopping malls so they will help you find products that other stores carry, you will not be purchasing directly from them

General tips for buying online:
  • Always pay with a credit card, never send cash or western union ahead of making a purchase.

  • If the price is too good to be true, it's probably a fake. Many sites sell knock-offs and try to pass them off as the real thing. If they are charging $200 for a $2,000 Chanel bag this is not a good deal, it's a scam. Comparison Shopping engines do the investigative work for you.

  • For sites that are you unfamiliar with, check to see if they have a McAfee or Verisign Secure Shopping seal.

  • Often users complain about receiving too many emails when they sign up for deals. To stay organized, create a "shopping" folder in your email account and have all of your shopping related emails go to that particular folder.
Steps on creating a shopping folder on your email:

Yahoo Mail
    Step 1: Scroll to the middle of the mail homepage, under "My Folders" click "Add" and then name your folder "Shopping"

    Step 2: Click "Options" in the upper right corner of your Mail page and select "Mail Options", then select "Filters".

    Step 3: Click "Add", give the filter a name ("Nordstroms") and choose from a variety of options to automatically direct certain messages into a specific folder. For example, send any messages you get from "Nordstroms" into the folder called "Shopping". When you're done, click "Add Filter". The next time an email comes in from Nordstroms, it will go into your "Shopping" folder.
AOL Mail
    Step 1: On left hand side of page, scroll over the "My Folders" area, where a "add" icon will appear. Click this, and create the desired folder to send the emails to.

    Step 2: Right click on the email you want automatically send to the desired folder and select the "Filter Messages Like This?" option.

    Step 3: A window will appear where you can choose if you want emails from a specific source ("Nordstroms"), or containing key words ("Sale"). You then select the folder you want next to the "Move to folder" area.

    Step 4: These email should now, automatically be sent to this folder.
Gmail
    Step 1: In the main Mail screen, on the left hand side, click "More" then "Create New Label" and name the label "Shopping"

    Step 2: Return to your inbox, select a message that you would like to send to this folder.

    Step 3: On the top right hand side of the email, you will see the "Reply" button with a small arrow next to it, click on the arrow and select "Filter messages like this."

    Step 4: On top of the screen you will see the "Create a Filter" box pop up. Select your credentials (to save time, I usually just use the "From" field for this) and click "Next Step."

    Step 5: For the action, choose "Skip the Inbox" (if you do not want it in your inbox) and "Apply the label: "Shopping" (or whatever you named your folder)

    Step 6: Gmail will display all emails with your criteria. Next to the Create Filter button you will see a box where you can apply the filter to the emails (called "conversations" in gmail) below. I always select this.

    Step 7: These emails along with future emails will always move into this new folder
Microsoft Outlook
    Step 1: Right click on "Mailbox" in the left navigation bar to create a "New Folder". Name this folder "Shopping"

    Step 2: In the top navigation bar, go to "Tools" and select "Runs and Alerts" and select "New Rule"

    Step 3: Use the Rules Wizard to select the rules for this particular folder

Other sites featured in this segment: About Lee Cohen:

Lee is first and foremost a dealaholic. Ever since she was young, saving money by finding the best deals was her passion. As she got older she realized that she could actually make a career out of this passion for shopping (her parents are still in denial) and joined Become.com, a premium comparison shopping site, as the Director of Business Development and Sales.

At Become.com, Lee works closely with hundreds of retailers to find Become's users the best prices on millions of items. Lee holds a MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a BA in History from Brandeis University.

She also keeps the deals coming through her shopping blog, called The Real Deal. You can follow the blog via Facebook or on Twitter.


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