Buying Things Online

January 19, 2008

I have refined shopping online to a few easy steps. First, I have Ben’s Bargains, Sickdeals, Woot, Techbargains and Dealnews all on RSS feed in a folder on my bookmarks toolbar in Firefox. That way I can browse through all the deals with only one mouse click.

Keeping Up With Latest Deals

Ben’s Bargains – Lists deals from big reputable vendors. This is my favorite site since it lists items most relevant to me; mostly technology items, but there are other items such as jewelry.

Slickdeals – Lists a few really good deals. This site is excellent for knowing about really great deals.

Woot – Sells one item a day usually. The item can be refurbished or slightly old technology. On special days, woot-offs, they keep selling a single item until they run out of stock. Some fanatics just buy some lackluster items to move on to better stuff. The most sought after item is a bag of crap, which may contain anything. To date there has only been one item I wished to purchase from woot, and it was 66% off the next lowest I could find elsewhere.

Techbargains – Lists technology related deals.

Dealnews – Lists general deals.

Comparison

Those sites above are for finding out about deals, but usually you have something in mind that you wish to purchase. You can keep checking the deals sites to see if your item goes on sale or you can use price comparison tools if you need to buy it now.

Pricegrabber – good for finding prices from many internet vendors, but the merchants might not all be reputable.

Bigwords – Finds the lowest cost option for purchasing books, DVDs, CDs, Video Games.

I also check fatwallet to see if the specific store has any coupon codes.

Fatwallet – good for finding the historically lowest ever price on a product such as digital cameras on Dell.com. Forums are a wealth of information, but many of deals are hard to get. Fatwallet has a program that shares affiliate revenue with you, so you can save even more money.

Books, Movies, Music and Video Games

I use Bigwords for comparison shopping. Then Amazon.com Marketplace and Half.com explicitly since their prices are usually the lowest because you are buying from another person who is trying to undercut the next person. Great for buying used textbooks.

Amazon.com Marketplace – Buy new and used from other people. Just click on the buy new and used link.

Half.com – You can also buy sell movies, video games and CDs. Now owned by eBay (EBAY).

Yourmusic – This is a music subscription site much like the 12 CDs for the price of 1 BMG club advertisements, but you can cancel anytime and buy only what you want. You fill up a queue of CDs and they send you one every month. Just remember to keep your queue full.

Electronics

For electronics such as monitors, printers, cameras, Dell and Amazon are pretty good. For computer parts, I check the price on Newegg and pricegrabber to find the lowest price. There have been rumors of a Newegg IPO for many years, but nothing has yet to materialize.

Newegg – Large computer part retailer based in Southern California with warehouses position across the country, so they can ship anything to you within 3 days. They might not always have the lowest price, but their prices are very reasonable or the next lowest price. Their service and turn around time is excellent.

Dell – They periodically rotate their deals, so you will have to wait to get the lowest price. Be aware that they charge tax in some areas and you can often get free shipping. For an added bonus you can buy a one-time use coupon on eBay.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com (AMZN) is my favorite website because there is no sales tax since I am not a Washington State resident and they often have free shipping. When you add an item to your cart and move it to buy later, every time you check your cart you will be notified if the price has changed. This is a good way to find out when they lower the price of an item you don’t immediately need, so you can buy it at the cheapest price. If you sign up for an Amazon.com credit card, they will give you $30 and 3% back on Amazon.com purchases and 1% back on all other purchases. For reoccurring purchases, Amazon.com has a subscribe and save program that gives you an extra 15% off. This usually makes their prices the lowest. If I don’t know what specific item I want to buy, I check on Amazon.com and use Savvygraph.

Savvygraph – Plots the rating and number of reviews for items from Amazon.com. This allows you to see at a glance the popular opinion of a variety of products. For example if you’re looking for a DVD player or a new HDTV.

Go forth and save.

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Top Places to Sell Online (Ebay, Craigslist, Facebook)

July 23, 2007

I’ve sold a lot of things online, ranging from: concert tickets, collectible fishing lures, bobbleheads, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, digital cameras, and baseball jerseys. I’d like to share what are the most efficient ways to sell things through the Internet. Why keep stuff laying around when you can turn that into cash which can be reinvested?

1) EBAY (www.ebay.com):
Use Ebay (EBAY) as an indicator of the market value for the item you would like to sell whether you plan to use the site or not. View the recently completed auctions to find out what the public is generally paying for the used or new item that you have. For things that can be easily shipped and have some kind of scarcity, I would use Ebay because you have the widest range of possible buyers from all over the country. Be aware that you will have to account for the cost to ship the item and 3-4% of the sales that will be paid in Ebay fees. Then you’ll have to pay another 2-3% of the payment via Paypal (the usually method of payment through Ebay). If you’re not willing to lose up to 7% of the sale plus shipping cost, then Ebay may not be the best option for you.

Best Ebay benefit: can sell almost anything, widest range of buyers
Biggest downfall of Ebay: a lot of auctions to compete against

2) CRAIGSLIST (www.craigslist.org):
If you’re looking to sell items not easily shippable (furniture, artwork, household appliances, car parts), then Craigslist would be the place for you. Craigslist was started in the Bay Area and is basically an online classified site that allows users to post ads for free. There are no fees involved like Ebay, but you have to communicate through e-mail to set up an appointment for the sale. There is a minor amount of fraud on Craiglist with people trying to obtain payment via Western Union wire funds. If you don’t meet with the person to complete the sale, there is no guarantee that he/she is a legitimate buyer. The housing postings are plentiful and are good for advertising to all types of potential renters.

Best Craigslist benefit: ability to sell larger/heavier items, no fees
Biggest downfall of Craigslist: no commitment from buyers, fraud

3) FACEBOOK (www.facebook.com):
Facebook is a social networking site that has recently added a marketplace to their site; where you can post items you want to sell, items you want to give away, or housing vacancies. At this point, it is hard to say how successful the classified ads for material items are doing. The major benefit to using Facebook is for college students or recently graduated college students looking for housing and have yet to invest in a piece of property. The rental options are quite plentiful and you can check out the profile of the poster so you can make an assessment beforehand how compatible you would be. I have easily found three roommates via the rental section of Facebook marketplace.

Best Facebook marketplace benefit: easy way to find college roommates
Biggest downfall of Facebook marketplace: too new to know how effective listings are