Do you shop online to be frugal? Share your fave deal?

loralee_2007July 8, 2008

Up here in Canada, retail pricing on most items is absolutely ridiculous. As a result, I've taught myself to be ultra frugal by comparison shopping online, and it truly amazes me the amount of $$ we have saved over the years.

My fave examples:

- I started my online shopping in 2003 when we were on a very tight budget for our wedding. I bought my "dream" wedding dress online, new in packaging, for $175US and I was hooked. I went on to buy my shoes, custom flowers, favors, and decorations, and had a blast doing it!

- Last year, when building our new home, again we were able to stretch the budget by shopping online. Flooring alone we saved $7000, and I was able to buy ALL of our furniture (10-piece dining, 3 piece leather livingroom, and 4-piece bedroom) - delivered - for just over $5100 when we were quoted over $10,000 retail.

- My most recent "find" was last week on our coffee tables. Pricing has been giving me headaches because we need 3 sidetables & 1 main coffee table. After reviewing pricing, retail I had figured about $2500, so I had hoped to cut that to around $1600 online. Imagine my great surprise, after 9 months of searching, when I found the PERFECT tables, and the cost - delivered - was only $480 for all!

I'd love to hear about your online finds and how you source things to keep costs down.


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Not sure of my "favorite" but I always enjoy a good deal. I did like the deal I got a while back, had a notebook computer that needed a new keyboard. I didn't want to work on it - I'm better with desktop units but they begged and pushed and I said OK. I thought the price would scare them off. To get the keyboard from Dell it was over $300. Found some used ones online for $150-$200. Well I found one on fleabay for $15.

Bought some dryer balls and liked them, then found a set of 4 for $11/shipped.

Can't remember the other bigger deals, but I like to shop online. And I like to pay bills online too. Saves about $25+/yr in costs.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 4:53AM
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I have never actually purchased anything online, but I shop online. I have saved money by telling the clerks at stores that I saw it online for a certain price and they let me have it for the online price. A hunting supply store had to find the item online before they let me have it for the sales price. It took them a long time to find the item, but I saved $20. I wish I were not afraid of having my card number stolen online. How do you pay for your purchases? How do you protect your credit?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 11:27AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

How do you pay for your purchases? How do you protect your credit?

Most of my purchases are smaller, very seldom over $50 or so. I use the Free Version of Paypal. I move $$ from a small credit union account to my small Paypal account. It takes usually several working day for the money to be transferred electronically, but that is what works for me.

Some folks pay through Paypal using a credit card, but if one does that, it is no longer a Free account. Someone tried to pay me a little money using Paypal/credit card, or a Paypal account funded by a CC. Paypal alerted me that someone was attempting to pay me, and that $ would be taken for a fee to do so, and then my account would have not been free anymore.

I declined accepting the payment and we worked something else out...I think she paid from actual funds in her account instead of via a CC with Paypal.

Just last night I found a soap dispenser on Ebay and even with shipping it was less than half of the suggested retail. I also would not have been able to find it locally, and it would have meant a 1-2 hours round trip to find it.

I've bought on Ebay
Merino Wool socks
Electronic game systems and games for them
a Kitchen Aid mixer attachment set
Numerous wind up flashlights for myself and others (kids love them!)
TZ tapes for my Brother P-touch labeling machine
Vintage hankies (was collecting them)
Vases (was collecting them)
and numerous other items that escape me now.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 1:03PM
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I got my young Husky from She was in a rescue and cost $150, already vaccinated, spayed, and somewhat trained-as much as a husky can be trained LOL! She doesn't have papers but being spayed she can't be shown anyway, plus she's an unusual coloring that doesn't do well in the ring. I will be getting her a limited type of registration so we can participate in AKC-sponsored agility events though. Tatyana is definitely the best deal I ever got online!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 6:46PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Tatyana looks like a real sweetie. What a very unique name too.

I forgot. I also found my little Kiley about a year ago on line also via Here she is a lot more grown up. She is some sort of a Chow mix, and very smart and loving. She was just $75 for the adoption fee, first shots, spaying, and being microchipped. I thought that was such a steal deal, I readily gave the facility a donation.


    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 8:48PM
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I shop mostly on line to find items not found locally. I order artists' canvases, paints, brushes, frames, etc. I do comparison shop to get the best price. And I usually buy when items are on sale. Until the rising gas prices, the shipping costs were about equal to sales tax here so that wasn't a concern since I didn't have to pay tax for online purchases.

Other items I have bought were used/new books, replacement parts, and gifts that could be sent direct to recipient.

BTW, love the dogs!!! (I have a lab and australian shepherd)


    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 11:07AM
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I shopped online for my daughters wedding and got her four bridesmaid dresses and shoes as well as the maid of honor's dress. The bridesmiads and maid of honor loved it, as they got very pretty dresses and shoes and the average price for their outfit was between fifteen and twenty dollars. Also got the flower girls dress. Was very pleased with the outcome of the venture.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 3:22AM
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loralee 2007: Wow! You've got some great savings! I also live in Canada and I find it hard to locate canadian suppliers on-line. I'm kind of sceptical about getting larger items from US because of the customs and their fees/taxes. Would you mind giving out the on-line furniture store you purchased your coffee table set from? I'm also looking for some furniture and would love to try them. Thank you in advance.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 12:48PM
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I love to shop online, and usually seem to find great deals. We bought a 50" DLP TV that we wanted. It was $2600 in the store and we got it for $1800 (a lot still I know, but we felt it was a good price for what we wanted). We got our bedroom furniture online and the $5000 set was only $2900 (King bed frame, dresser, mirror, two night stands, armoire).

We have gotten burned, too. Thinking we would get something at a discount and it arrives being poor quality or not what we thought because of a poor description. What we do now is price compare online and look at the item in the store. We decide if the quality is what we want, and if so, we buy online. I rarely experience a store willing to give the online discount price.

As for purchasing using credit cards, I do all the time. I check my statement monthly and get my free credit report yearly. I have never had a problem, but if I did, I would not have a problem disputing it. Also, I have been called by the credit card company a couple times when they feel an unusual purchase has gone through.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 10:51PM
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i'm touchy feely so i don't usually shop on line but occasionally i do the after christmas sales and search for a promo code and get good deals.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:02AM
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I got my dog online too through from a local rescue group. We live in a very rural area where the closest major shopping is 35 miles away. At the cost of gas lately it is cheaper to order online and pay S/H than to drive to the store and get it. And some of the things are hard to find items so would have to do lots of calling around or driving every where to find them. I have been an online shopper for many years. Before that it was through catalogs.

Here is my best online deal.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 4:28PM
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LOL @ all the dogs! We got our 2 twin kitties "online" as well, rescued from Mobile, Alabama and brought to Canada in 2005!

goldeneye, I didn't see your post as I've been away for a couple weeks and didn't check here until now.

My coffee tables were bought at:

We ordered on Tuesday and they were delivered that Friday. Customer service was awesome too.

The furniture we bought was from:

Their customer service wasn't as good in terms of, they're hard to get a hold of on the phone because they run a retail store, but they were quick to fix a problem that I had, and I'm thrilled with the product we received, so I do recommend them.

If you want to know where to get AWESOME prices for wholesale pool tables in Canada that are simply gorgeous, I can tell you that too!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 1:01PM
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goldeneye, I just thought of another tip for you (or other Canadians) as well. When shopping in the US, one of the biggest impediments to buying is because many sellers will only ship here via courier (mainly UPS, Fedex & DHL), but in doing so, these companies charge exhorbitant "brokerage" fees which is their fee charged to clear the item through customs, along with a fee they charge because they've paid our taxes owing up front.

There IS a very easy way to avoid this though! It's called "self-clearing", and it's super easy! If you know an item is being sent via courier, get the tracking number from the seller and call the courier and tell them you want to self-clear the package, and give them a contact number to reach you when the package comes in.

Once it's in, they will call you, and all you do is go down and pick up the paperwork from them and take it to a Canada Customs office. Note, most main courier depots are located around the airport, and since so many packages are processed by these couriers that require Customs intervention, their office is usually in the vacinity of the main courier offices, so it's very convenient.

Anyways, take the paperwork to Customs, pay for your taxes due (and any duty if applicable - but none will be if the item is made in Canada/US/Mexico). They will then stamp your paperwork, which you take back to the courier station, and they will then release your parcel to you. And that's it!

The last time I did this was for a $600 package of china. It took me 10 minutes in total to complete and I saved around $120 in brokerage and fees.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:50PM
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ohhhhh....I LOVE the dogs!!

Ebay junkey here. I buy lots of cosmetics mainly Burts Bees stuff there.

Also when we need any furniture I check online 1st. Got our barstools online LOTS cheaper ( but DH had to put them together ) Also got a gorgeous rug from Right now I am surfing for a side table for the guest bedroom.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 9:05PM
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I forgot to metion Craigslist. I don't know if it counts as being online because you do go and pick it up after you find something you like. But I have got some really great deals like hand crafted solid wood furniture for about 10 cents on the dollar. And too many other things to metion. Today I got an almost new, 2 YO, aluminum 21 speed bike for $60. Except for a few scratches it looks and rides like new. It cost new $310 + tax.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 10:15PM
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I buy secondhand designer clothes online which saves money and recycles. I refuse to use eBay though because of all the fakes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clothes

    Bookmark   August 19, 2008 at 9:54AM
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I've bought very little - if anything ... can't think of anything - online.

Rather worried about getting scammed, I think.

I get a lot of unwanted offers to buy stuff, especially pills and "replica" goods, especially watches, apparently originating in distant countries.

Another factor that has a bearing on my situation is that I'm crowding 80 years of age ... and 80-year-olds are more tuned in to disposing of stuff, rather than buying more.

Haven't found a way to take stuff with me (or spent much time considering how) ... and not too sure that it might be useful in a subsequent life, even were I to find a way.

ole joyful

P.S. While I have a yen to find out things, frankly, I haven't marked down any information about what currency may be used in the Great Beyond ... or pounded the pavement searching.

o j

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 6:16AM
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Jo-Ann M

2 years ago, when I was rebuilding my home after Katrina, I purchased a lot of stuff online - both from retailers and eBay. My kitchen sink - a Blanco super single - lists at over $500, with the local retailers selling it for around 400. I got it on eBay for $150 including shipping. I really compared prices, including shipping & taxes. I found my dining room set online, but it was less expensive to get it from a local retailer. With gas prices the way they are now, I find it less expensive to buy things online rather than going to a lot of ifferent stores searching.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 11:10AM
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I use on-line to comparison shop. I buy my clothes on line except i pick out what i want than call by landline This month i bought an $90 suit for $25 after it went on sale and i had a 50% off coupon.

I have a question for aptosca, clare, I live as far from town as you do and get things from Fedex and UPS. 3 weeks ago Fedex told us they would no longer make trips up here every day just on tuesdays and fridays even over nite stuff. So have you been told the same? Needless to say, i make sure things are coming UPS or i get it else where.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:46PM
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oakleif - No, I haven't been told that but I don't get a lot of things from Fedex and UPS. It seems like most things I order come USPS. Thanks for letting me know. Next time I get something from those outfits, I will have to ask.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:04PM
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I have been shopping online for ~10 yrs. The deals in the early days (1998-2001) were crazy. This was back when Amazon only sold books. Anyhow, I started shopping online because I was a single parent and had two small children. So it was a great convenience for me. I have bought almost everything you can online. Buying online now is almost second nature now and probably spend more than 10k a year online. I now buy online because of cost, convenience, availibility. I pay with CC for everything and haven't had any problems for 8 yrs. In the early days, I had people get a hold of my CC numbers and charge stuff. The CC companies took care of everything without much hassle. Technically, I don't know if the info was stolen online or from a local store. I wish the online grocery stores made a comeback. I would love the UPS guy to delivery the kitty liter, rock salt, soda, etc, while I just pick up the perishables.

The best deals were probably in the early days with many items free with rebates and promotional codes, mostly computer or electronic items.

The biggest amount saved would have to be on the biggest ticket items, furniture, hardwood flooring and other home improvement items, typically saving 20-50%. It also seem the higher end items have the greatest potential for the biggest % savings. I have had at least a dozen transactions over $1k.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 3:43PM
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I have found some really good buys online in Kohl's. If you go through "ebates" you get cash back from them also. I bought a set of circulon pots on clearance in Kohl's for $80 plus free shipping. At that time Penney's had the same set on sale for $280.

On Black Friday I go out to the stores then go online and get the online deals. I have one credit card that I use online that I have a small $500 limit on and I keep it for that reason and get mad when they want to up the CL and refuse it.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 7:10PM
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We just bought our flooring online from TrueHardwoods. Excellent experience. We found the flooring that we wanted at a local store. My husband was still a bit hesitant to buy it because the salesman had no advice on how to install it (and the advice he did give was very inaccurate). So, after I read about TrueHardwoods on the GW flooring forum (thanks Brutus), my DH called them up. They spent several hours with my DH explaining exactly how to install it - lots of detailed answers to his very detailed questions. So, we were very happy with our online buying experience. And we saved a ton in the process.

Also, be buy lots of our kids' school books from Amazon where they are often cheaper than the college bookstore prices. Sometimes MUCH cheaper.

My DH is an IT consultant and he gets excellent deals and prices from Tiger Direct.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 6:21PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I just found an incredible deal on a this giant sized "Lego" style block set. It was $130 and I found it for $29! Unbelievable.
It is unbelievable that even young children know the difference between real Legos and knock off Legos. Ask me how I


    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 1:48PM
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