ST. LOUIS -- In my continued search to save you time and money, today a list of the best and worst items to buy online. I'm pleased to welcome back budget blogger Michael Needham to contribute to today's article which was inspired by a post he made last month.
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What are the best items to buy online?
1. ELECTRONICS: From Free Shipping to the absolute lowest prices, and no pressure from a sales person, you can quickly read user reviews and enjoy some huge savings on your own terms.
Top Two Deals Today:
$80 Off Toshiba 40" 1080p LED TV + Free Shipping
2. HOMES: Easy-to-browse listings, virtual tours and instant communication with realtors all make the Internet a valuable tool when you're shopping for a house. Still, you should know that just about anyone can become a realtor and some houses photograph well but look a little less extravagant in person. After you find your dream house online, hire a highly rated, local realtor to help you make the final decisions.
3. APPLIANCES: Buying appliances sight unseen used to be a dangerous investment. Now, though, Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowes and other major retailers offer the same or similar warranties for online products as what you get in-store and prices are often lower.
Top Deal Today:
4. BATH FIXTURES, TUBS AND SINKS: My wife and I just purchased a new home and while it may have seemed absurd to buy most of our bathroom fixtures online and a tub with free overnight delivery from Amazon, we saved thousands of dollars by taking matters into our own hands, rather than giving free reign to our contractor.
5. HOME LIGHTING: I've said it several times on-air for both radio and television.... lighting deals are incredible online. Online you can easily save 60% on lighting fixtures no longer carried in physical stores as they make way for new stock. With free shipping in most cases and user reviews, this is a great way to go.
Top Deal Today:
6. SPOUSES: Admittedly, it used to be hard to find a normal person on an online dating site. Now, though, meeting your (hopefully normal) spouse via the Internet has almost become the norm. Sure – you're not actually buying your spouse online, so maybe we can't count this as a big ticket purchase. Today this top picks comes with two major freebies.
Top Deal Today:
7. GROCERIES: For some strange reason, no matter how much I push, very few of our viewers actually buy their groceries online. Every Friday, I present "Frugal Food Friday" on our air where we cut your grocery costs by 50%. The people who have participated are now extremely enthusiastic repeat blog visitors, but there are countless people I still can't win over despite the savings, no parking spot fight, and no waiting in line.
What's are the worst items to buy online?
PETS: Unless you're supporting a shelter animal which we highly recommend, a purebred pet can set you back thousands of dollars, so I think it's a big ticket item. You might be tempted to save and order your new pet online – don't do it. Choosing the right pet is a very personal decision – not just for you, but for the animal as well. You need to get to know each other and make sure it's a good fit. That's one of the reasons you should never buy a pet online. The other reason: you could be supporting a puppy mill and nobody wants to do that.
FITNESS EQUIPMENT: If you're not careful, you'll get hit with exorbitant shipping prices on a new treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike. I've seen shipping fees add an extra $200 to popular exercise equipment. Wait for the few major sales per year where we'll find free shipping options and other legitimate reductions.
What purchase requires the best of both worlds?
VEHICLES: According to a recent study from eBay Motors, nine out of 10 millennials use the Internet to shop for a new car. It's easy to see why. While there aren't any Internet-only car dealers, most dealers have an online sales manager that can offer exclusive deals to e-shoppers. These savings can be quite a bit bigger than what you'll find on the lot, but just be sure to physically inspect and test drive the car before you sign anything. Also, with the approaching Memorial Day vehicle deals on lots throughout our viewing area, followed by the 4th of July Car Blowouts, you won't go wrong this season online or in-person. Most of our favorite dealerships also have great website features where you can do the bulk of your shopping and investigating online.