Online shopping has taken over the way we live our everyday lives. Heck, just yesterday I got a new pair of shoes in the mail. This was the first time I have ever ordered shoes online. Luckily for me, the shoes fit me perfectly. But with all of that said, how do you know you are getting the best deal out there and what should you be doing in brick-and-mortar retail stores? 

 

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My reaction when putting on my new shoes for the first time

 

One of the ways that I save money is to have a game plan of what you are going to buy. For example, when I go to Barnes and Noble to buy a new book, going in, I think “Ok, this book/magazine is all I am going to get today.” This works for some, but if you can, try to either keep to your budget or add another $10-15 to your budget so that if you do see something else you want or fall for that impulse buy, you have some money to fall back on.

An additional way to stay on top of shopping is apps! By this, I mean apps like Target Cartwheel and apps similar to that. They are deals that once they are opened, you get a certain percentage of discount. You could buy that book at Walmart OR you could buy it at Target for the same price, and then save an additional 20 percent off your purchase.

It’ll only save you up to a couple dollars, but that money can be spent elsewhere like spending 99 cents at McDonald’s on a large Dr. Pepper (unless you’re in New York, you lost that right).

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My local grocery store, HyVee, has had deals in their app where if I scanned their coupon from my iPhone, I can get a 2-liter of Mountain Dew for only 49 cents. I’m pretty sure we would all take that deal if given the chance!

Another way is to simply price-match. You would have no idea how much money I have saved just by price-matching another store. Last September when I bought my Apple TV 4th Generation, I purchased it at Target but had them price-match Walmart, who had it for $20 cheaper. Why not buy it from

Why not buy it from Walmart? Well, because I have always had good customer service at Target, whereas at Walmart, I would rather stay away. It’s like you’ve seen something better and want to stick with that something better.

Rewards cards are not bad either. Like I said with my HyVee app, which works via their Fuel Saver + Perks card, you can get some really good deals on them. They happen more than you think! Even when I was a Best Buy Rewards member, I remember over time buying little things like DVDs, cables, and/or a case for my iPad Mini 2. I would also email my family that when they shopped there, online or in-store, to use my Best Buy Rewards card.

By the end of the holiday season, I was getting out with about $20-25 in free in-store credit to use at Best Buy. This resulted in many iTunes card purchases. However, at the end of the day, everyone was happy. Plus, since my card was linked to purchases, I was able to find out what some of my Christmas gifts were BEFORE Christmas.

My last recommendation is in regards to checking out. No, I’m not talking about coupon codes. Better yet, I’m talking about paying for something online and not having to worry about your debit or credit card information getting stolen.

Last summer, after I had just purchased my Steve Jobs watch, I found out a couple days later (ironically at Target) that my debit card had been hacked by a third-party Amazon seller. To make a long story short, my money was never stolen (my bank blocked their eerie transaction), and my bank sent me a new card in the mail. Still, I am always so paranoid about my card information getting out there to someone.

To save your butt, I would recommend using services like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and/or Samsung Pay, also known as NFC payment. My reason behind that is that if you are using your iPhone (6-7 Plus), iPad (Mini 3-10.5-inch iPad Pro), or 2016 MacBook Pro with TouchBar or any Android or Samsung smartphone, you be using the embedded fingerprint scanner for payment verification. The merchant nor the vendor see your information, just enough to verify that you are who you are and that you have the money to pay for it.

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If NFC payment is not an option for you, check out using services like PayPal. This is great for people who pay for things online with a debit card and it will add an extra level of security to your card(s). If something tragic were to happen to your card, you can always call PayPal and they will deal with it.

Those are some of my best tips for saving money and paying safely on the internet and in retail stores. I think that this will help a lot of people since we all buy a lot of various items during the summer at a lot of stores and businesses. Shopping has played a big part in our economy and society, and it will not stop anytime soon. Just make sure that when you do buy something, you make sure that you truly want/need it, and that you are getting the best possible deal on it.

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