Money-saving Online shopping tips from Marsha Collier: San Francisco News

Simple steps to save money every time you shop! How to find the best deals on your favorite items.

Top 10 Tips on how to shop smart (and find the best deal, for you!):

1. Use your mobile phone for back-up: Not sure if you are getting a real deal when your shopping in-store? Your mobile phone can an instant resource to price check. Use any one of your favorite shopping apps, type in the product, and see what the item is going for online (or in other stores near you). If it's drastically less than the price tag your holding in your hand - try to bargain with the salesman& or hold off and buy it when you get home!

2. Do your homework: When making a big-ticket purchase, it's important to do some research. Let's put it this way -- that flat screen you're about to be online may be listed at $250, but when you plug it in, it could very well be black and white! "Cost" is more than just how much cash you hand over, but is about your happiness with the product. Make sure to read product reviews online(there are hundreds of sites dedicated to sharing user and expert reviews), do some research, and buy from a retailer who you trust.

3. Take advantage of coupons: Now more than ever cost counts. There are millions of coupons, discounts, and offers available online for just about any item. Search on,, or Groupon to see what type of applicable store coupons that you can get to purchase your item at an even lower total cost.

4. Make a secure purchase, look for a trusted logo: Does the website you clicked on look a bit shady? No contact phone number, no help line, or even worse - no product image. Find a McAfee, TRUSTe, or a VeriSign badge to make sure that you're not being scammed.

5. Hand over your phone for a deal: Not only can you use your phone for research and back-up, but there are new mobile sites and big retailers that let you use mobile coupons at your favorite store. (example include Target, Mobile Spinach and others). You can flash your phone at checkout to save big bucks!

6. Listen to the experts: There are hundreds, scratch that thousands of expert shoppers blogging about their favorite deals, sales, and products! Do some digging to find a blogger who likes the same things you do (be in eco-friendly clothes or high-fashion pumps) and have them help you find the best place to spend your hard-earned cash!

7. Look at the return policy: You may be saving when you buy during that private 1 hour sale, but does the site let you make returns? Make sure to do a quick read on their policies to make sure that if it doesn't fit or the color doesn't match your style, you can get your money back.

8. Check for tax and shipping deals (odds are, you can get it sent to your home for free!): Retailers are competing for your business, and one way they are doing it is by shaving off costs. Make sure you do some searching to see if you there are any applicable shipping or saving codes for you to get your item to you for free. Heck, who doesn't want to save $10!

9. Can you get it cheaper at WalMart? Maybe Target?: WalMart and Target are known for having the lowest prices online, and in the store. Rather than hunting and pecking around on each site, check out to get a side by side comparison view of how much it's selling at each of the retail giants, and see how it stands up against everyone else.

10. Don't one-stop shop: Although you may typically buy your favorite Haviana flip flops at Macys, do some searching around online to see if they are offering you the lowest price. At, you can easily do a quick search for "Haviana sandals" and view the lowest prices from more than 500,000 stores and online sellers. If you need them now, try TheFind's local search to see where you can buy them in your neighborhood, for the lowest price.