How to use technology to save money shopping
For those just arriving in a new country, the process of shopping can be a bit intimidating. Fortunately, new technology can help ease the process and make living in a new country just a bit easier.
Not only do new arrivals have to learn where all the shops and stores are located, but they must also adjust to the pricing structure. What might be considered a deal in one country could easily end up overpriced in another.
This is where technology can really help out. Anyone with an internet connection and credit card can easily shop online and have their goods sent to them. Many of these sites offer deals on shipping depending on the amount of items purchased. For example, if you plan on buying many items for a new apartment, it's possible you might be eligible for free shipping or other discounts, depending on which site you use.
Perhaps the best part of shopping online is that it makes it easy to comparison shop instantly. Using sites like Google's Product Search, a savvy shopper will be able to find which sites are offering the best discounts. This is simply a much more efficient way of comparison shopping than going to each store and remembering the prices for a particular item.
Even when you're out and about, smartphones have revolutionized the way many people choose to shop. Using a free barcode scanner app available from many major companies, shoppers can use their phone's camera to scan a code, then look up prices online to ensure that they're getting a good deal.
One thing to keep in mind when shopping online is to use reputable sites. Companies like Amazon, Overstock, Wal-Mart and many more have nearly every product imaginable, and provide resources for customers if there ends up being a problem with the item or order.
Technology doesn't just help out with shopping. It's now easier than ever to send money online via an international wire transfer. The same rules for shopping online apply here as well – especially when choosing a secure site. Specifically, look for options that have logos certifying their accredits from VeriSign Secured, the Better Business Bureau or the TRUSTe Certified Privacy group to ensure that the site is reputable.
Besides ordering products directly online, there are a number of other ways the internet can be useful. Sites like Groupon, an online coupon website, have been all the rage as of late in the U.S. Essentially, these websites offer different localized deals each day, as a way of promoting the different businesses that have signed up for the service. If you know that a business is on Groupon or a similar site, waiting until a deal pops up can be a great way to save some money.
If you're really serious about saving, one idea that could potentially help in your bargain hunting is to set up an email address solely to receive special offers. Nearly every major retailer offers electronic mailing lists that include coupons and deals, similar to flyers in a local newspaper. Many people often treat this as spam, but there are occasionally some great deals for those who pay attention. Signing up for newsletters and mailing lists on a separate email address ensures that you keep your inbox tidy while not missing out on any discounts.
Finally, technology has simply made some transactions a lot simpler. For example, those who don't like to spend a lot of time at the supermarket could quickly find their take-out expenses racking up quickly. Fortunately, many supermarkets now offer home delivery for groceries, and the surcharges for this service are often not as expensive as one might think. The ease of ordering food and other essentials online definitely beats the hassle of the supermarket – and some specialized sites even offer ethnic cuisine, if you're missing a taste of back home.
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