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Risks or Rewards on Online Shopping

Knowing where to shop online, without getting tricked or ripped off, will potentially save you quite a bit of money compared to traditional – off line – shopping. But, not everything is cheaper online and – more important – not everything online is great.

A good rule of thumb when shopping online is to only shop from well known sites. While this may not save you as much money as shopping from smaller competitors, you stand little risk of being ripped off. And, if you need support or if something brakes, knowing that there is a real company behind the web site is very reassuring.

Although most things are available online, some things are harder to buy unseen. If you are shopping for clothes, be very sure of the web shops return policies before you order anything. A size five isn’t necessarily the same size on site A as it is on site B – getting stuck with a bunch of clothes you can’t wear isn’t very funny, nor will it save you any money. Buying clothes online can save you plenty how ever; you just need to find a good store.

If you are afraid of giving out your credit card number online, may I suggest you apply for a second one, with a low credit limit? That way, even if worst come to worst and you get ripped off, you can never lose too much money. Having a separate credit card for online shopping is a good idea in more ways; it’s an easy way to make sure you don’t shop too much. It’s easy to get carried away when you find cheap stuff you really, really want. A low credit limit will eliminate that risk as well.

Other things you can easily find cheaper online are;

Music: More often than not you know what CDs you are looking for, why not save yourself a trip to the store – and perhaps a few dollars and find a good online CD store? Actually buying music online – and not downloading for free – will also help the poor music industry cope with the lowered profits.

Electronics: Although electronic equipment may be something you’d want to see and test out before buying it, you can save a good deal of money if you do buy it online. There’s nothing stopping you from trying it out at a traditional store, only to actually buy it later online.

Toys: For those with kids, toys are often way cheaper online, although you need to be careful. Many cheap imported toys contain paint with led in it, making them close to toxic. Poor quality is not unheard of either, so make sure you know what – and from where – you are buying toys. A quick e-mail asking a few simple questions can avoid much of the potential troubles.