Ask A Washington DC Expert: Tips On Finding Deals Shopping Online

August 19, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

While online shopping offers plenty of perks (shopping in your pajamas), it also may mean extra expenses, like shipping, handling and processing, that you normally wouldn’t encounter while shopping at a brick and mortar store. If your preferred mode of shopping involves clicking a few buttons, then check out these tips from Laura Harders, founder of, and see how you can save on your next online shopping spree.

Laura Harders
Washington, DC

Laura Harders is the founder and author of, an online resource for busy metropolitan moms looking for ways to save money and live well on less. A frugal living expert, writer and coupon workshop teacher, she has been a featured speaker for local organizations, including the Fairfax County National Consumer Protection Week educational seminars. Laura’s tips have been featured in national media outlets including the Washington Post, “The Today Show,” MSN Money and the US News & World Report. Here, she provides her tips on how to find deals while shopping online.

Sign Up For Savings

Do you prefer a particular retail company? Make sure you sign up for their e-mail newsletter and subscribe to their mailing lists for special offers. Oftentimes, retailers provide sneak peeks and not-made-public discount offers to their subscribers. Examples of companies who provide special discounts to subscribers include Victoria’s Secret, Express, Inc., Bed, Bath and Beyond and Costco.

Do Your Research  

Another way to save some dough while shopping online is to comparison shop. Gone are the days where an item is only available at one store. Chances are that that same item is available through other retailers, like Amazon or eBay. Search for the item of your desire through various websites and keep track of the prices. Not sure if you’re getting a great deal? Use a price comparison site such as to see if a price is really the lowest price out there.

Related: Ask A Washington DC Expert: Tips For Travelling Internationally On A Budget

Use a Cash-Back or Rewards Site

If you’re going to spend money online, you might as well be paid for it, right? Sign up and use a cash-back site, like Ebates, to earn back cash for your online purchases. Or, see if your credit or debit card company offers cash-back and/or rewards for using their cards to make a purchase. Many companies, like Bank of America and Capital One, offer cash-back and reward deals. It’s an easy way to save.

Check for Online Coupon Codes Before Checking Out

Before finalizing your purchase, you should always see if you can find a coupon code. It is a great strategy to save even more or perhaps get free shipping with minimal effort. Laura’s favorite website,, is a great database to find online coupon codes to save money.

Related: Best Places For Handmade Accessories In Washington DC

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

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