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The Money Mom: Shop Smart Online

This week, I invited Michelle Madhok, the founder of Shefinds.com and MOMfinds.com, two websites I love when I’m looking for a deal, to guest post about her tips for shopping for children’s items online.

4080453687_a8c6b7499c_oWe’ve all complained about circling the mall for a parking spot, and having to pile the car seat, diaper bag, changing pad, and bag of snacks into the car just for a simple shopping trip. But these days, that’s all pretty unnecessary: Moms can find better bargains – in less time – online.

At MOMfinds, we search out these deals daily – from sample sales for kids to cheap diaper bags.

Learn how to shop online like us with the simple tips below – we do it all day, so we’ve learned a thing or two about scoring a deal.

Get Ready To Get Deals

1. Sign up. Add yourself to your favorite retailers’ e-mail lists, follow them on Twitter, and fan them on Facebook – stores love to give deals to their most loyal customers, and putting yourself in that group can yield special coupon codes, sale alerts, and first dibs on marked-down merchandise. You can also follow @momfinds on twitter to get updates on the deals we find.

2. Set price alerts. Some sites will let you choose exactly what you’re shopping for, then notify you when the price drops. Shopstyle.com is a good one for fashion and accessories alerts; PriceSpider.com is best for price tracking electronics.

3. Ask for an after-the-fact markdown. If the item you bought goes on sale within the week or the month, many stores will pay you back the difference. Keep your receipts! Some retailers offer a price guarantee over 100% – that means if you find the item cheaper anywhere else, prove it to the retailer and they’ll beat that price.

Get Set – Know the Websites to Visit

1. Earn cash back on purchases.  Take advantage of websites like Bank of America’s Add It Up™, a shopping website that allows you to earn up to 20% cash back on online purchases – even on top of retailer discounts.  All you have to do is log into Bank of America’s website, and if you’re a customer, you’ll get access to their shopping portal, which includes sites like Best Buy and Macy’s.

2.  Sample sale sites! These sites have been gaining traction for a while now, and with good reason: you can score products for up to 70% off during sales that last a few hours. We keep a kids sample sale calendar at MOMfinds. (You can find the online sample sales calendar for stuff for you on SHEfinds.)

3. Visit deal-specific  sites – MOMfinds’ Deals of the Day offer the best buys we find each day for moms and kids. Smartbargains.com and Overstock.com are great places to nab a deal on brand-name items from past seasons and store closeouts – as far as we’re concerned, we don’t mind being seen with last year’s stroller model if it’ll save some cash.For local deals visit group buying coupon sites where you can score 50% off at local shops, stores and services.

Go – Shop Smart

1. Pinpoint the seasonal items you plan to buy, and keep an eye out for whether they go on sale. If you know you’ll need new swimsuits for all the kids next year, it might make sense to wait till the end of the summer, and buy on-sale suits in August.

2. Find free shipping. For free shipping coupons, go to FreeShipping.org, and keep in mind that some stores offer online purchase with in-store pickup – search their policies or call customer service to find out.

3. Grab a coupon code. To find coupon codes, go to Dealio.com or Google the name of the shopping site with the words “coupon code” or “promotion code.”

Online shopping expert Michelle Madhok has been a pioneer in women’s online content for over a decade. She is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of SheFinds Media – publisher of MOMfinds.com and Shefinds.com.

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