Money Matters: The inside track on internet saving

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 9/05/2012 10:55 am

With 3.5 million coupons redeemed in 2011, equivalent to $4.6 billion in savings, it’s clear that consumers are still looking for ways to save.

Understanding how internet retail works can be one way to save more on the web.

Personal Finance Expert Regina Lewis said there is some inside advice available to use the web wisely.

“Sometimes you don’t see the price, particularly if it’s a big brand name because the manufacturer has said you can’t advertise a price below a certain level, it’s too low to show,” Lewis said.  

Lewis said you won’t see the real price until adding the item to an online shopping cart.

“At that point it’s not considered advertising and the price will be revealed,” Lewis said.

Another hidden fact is that two customers looking at the same item on the same website can see two different prices.

“They can do that based on what’s happened on that computer to date. If you routinely head right to the clearance rack or if you insist on 30% off or better, or insist on free shipping, they’re going to say ‘show Brittany the deal’ because she’s a deal seeker and she’s identified herself that way,” Lewis said.  

Lewis said your online spending habits can be tracked and retailers advertise accordingly. 

“If I’m an impulse shopper and sometimes I buy on sale and sometimes I don’t, then I shouldn’t expect to see the item listed as 30% off because I’ve shown that’s not a must for me. Its things like that that will affect the price and promotion on the very same item,” Lewis said.  

Even if you’re not a super savvy shopper, there’s a simple saving tip any online banker can bank on.

“When I log on and I’m looking at my online banking accounts, I will also see cash back deals on everything from auto-repair, to area restaurants, to the big retailers and drug stores that we shop at regularly. Then I choose, I’m in the driver’s seat at this point, the deals that I want. When I shop, I’m earning cash back,” Lewis said. 

Lewis said that cash back goes directly into your account and you’ll see it reflected on your statement the following month. 

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