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Online shopping for fun and profit

And no, we're not talking about the kind of profit touted by the Underpants Gnomes.

Evan Siple, who offered a soliloquy on online shopping here, shares his system to save money on every purchase. He's already buying all his electronics and plenty of groceries over the Intertubes --- being careful to avoid the early adopter trap. He also takes advantage of Craigslist.
 
But why online, especially for electronics?

"As far as ordering electronics online, you can ALWAYS find a better deal online than at the major brick-and-mortar establishments, almost without exception. Even in the case of buying something large like a television, which can be white-glove delivered to your house for a fee, the cost of shipping and delivery is usually offset by substantial rebates, no sales tax, and the simple fact that you're not paying an inflated price to satisfy a salesperson's commission."

But Evan's not talking about searching for coupon codes online, or even hunting Amazon for "filler items" to bump the total in his shopping cart over $25 to get free shipping (via Consumerist).

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Here's his secret to saving money and time, which requires one simple step:

"If you, like every other American, have a blog or Web site, you can sign up to be an Amazon.com Associate. (And actually I'm pretty sure other online retailers offer a similar thing but I'll use Amazon, as I have experience with it.)
 
In a nutshell, you place a small search bar or ad box on your page that people can use to search for things on Amazon --- when they click through and order something, you get a cut of the revenue. Depending on the product, it could put between 4 to 10 percent in your pocket.

Pretty great, right?
 
Well, unfortunately, you can't use this affiliate program to get money out of your own purchases. But let's say your wife/husband/mother/brother/pretty much anyone else you know has a blog or website. You could just as easily partner with them to order through their affiliate box, and vice versa.
 
Factor in the fact that you are now no longer paying shipping, sales tax, time waiting in line, PLUS getting an additional 4 to 10 percent back in cash, ON TOP of whatever benefits your credit card may confer to making purchases ... the potential for saving money is pretty insane. However, in the rare case that I've done enough homework and checked all of my prices from other trusted online resources and the cost to me is lower somewhere else even after all of this, I'll go somewhere else without hesitation.

But, then again, you do have to wait a few days for your order to arrive. Right? Nah. You can sign up for Amazon Prime which gives you two-day shipping on everything. (N.B. The program costs $79 a year, or about $6.60 monthly, and you can share your membership within your household --- lfk). But if you use the system I just mentioned, it pays for itself almost immediately.

(Note that I definitely do not work for Amazon or have any other sort of conflict of interest, but for me personally they're the best online retailer thus far.)"

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Well, readers, what do you think? Loyalty shopping programs start to be a problem when they prompt you to make impulse buys, but this system relies on buying only what you need --- just all from one source.

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