Super-convenient shopping services like Amazon Prime and online grocery services can save you time but they can also discourage comparison shopping and they make it all too easy to waste hundreds of dollars a year. Here are three potential traps!
Memberships. Yes, we love Amazon Prime because it’s super-convenient and it comes with lots of extra goodies like streaming videos and music and memberships to Costco and Sam's Club are like Disney Land for bargain shoppers, but membership can also make you a lazy shopper if you're not careful. Studies show that Prime members, for example, spend twice as much as non-members, meaning they’re doing more of their shopping via Amazon. The problem is that if you’re a Prime member, you might be tempted to one-click it without shopping around before ordering. After all, you've invested $99 in a membership and you want to make sure you use it. But while Amazon often has great prices, it does not always have the best prices—no one site does. So at the very least, check Jet.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, and eBay. As for Costco and Sam's Club, you can easily end up spending more than you need to by overbuying and wasting food and money. Avoid that trap by bringing along a friend so you can split things that might otherwise go to waste, such as large packages of baked goods and produce.
Online grocery shopping. Same principle here. Again, it's super convenient. But if you’re buying groceries online regularly, odds are you’re using the same service week to week and you may be less likely to shop around and take advantage of sales. So-called "loss leaders," which are items grocery stores often sell under their cost to get you in the door, can save you hundreds of dollars a year if you cherry-pick those sales. Use an app like Flipp or Retale to scan the flyers every week and take advantage of the best deals.
Voice shopping. It’s the latest in lazy shopping! Shouting for Google or Alexa from across the room to order more diapers or anything else can result in overpaying because they make shopping frictionless: Say what you want and it's at your door! Stopping to comparison shop or use money-saving tools like apps and coupons kind of defeats the purpose. The recently announced Google-Walmart deal, which lets you tap Walmart deals via Google Express on your Google Home device, is a great new development and could actually save you money. But the only way to ensure that you're getting the best deal is—yes, I sound like a broken record!—to shop around.
Bottom line: No matter what you’re buying, always comparison shop. Tools like Google Shopping and the ShopSavvy app as well as coupon and sale apps like Retailmenot, Coupons.com, and CouponSherpa, and flyer apps like Flipp and Retale make getting great deals easy!