Most shoppers want to find out how to get the most for their money, and online shopping can be a great way to get the latest styles without going to department stores.

In reality, both shopping methods can break the bank fairly quickly. Great deals online might be great deals, until you have to pay for shipping and handling. Savvy shoppers need to strike a balance between online shopping and department stores for the best deals. After all, a trip to the mall often has added costs including lunch, highly caloric caffeinated beverages, and a subsequent gym membership to get down to your normal size.

Potential Money Pits Online and In the Store

Online shopping and retail stores both upsell. Right when you are ready to check out, the clerk can hit you with a $5 impulse buy. Similarly, the virtual shopping cart can hit you with a $5 fee for faster shipping (or the $5 fee for clicking the wrong button). Shoppers need to be aware that it is easier to spend money online. All you need to do is enter your shipping address and credit card number, and an endless amount of great deals can show up at your door. Driving to the mall, parking, and wandering to a store can take an hour. Plus, it is typically frowned upon if you go in your pajamas.

Possibility of Theft

Another important factor to consider is potential identity theft online. There are a few simple ways to protect yourself from identity theft and regain lost funds. Typically, a cyber criminal can steal a lot more than a purse snatcher. However, major e-commerce websites have multiple safeguards against identity theft. You just have to make sure that malware is not reporting every key you press on your computer to some guy sitting in his mother’s basement.

However, a purse snatching at the mall can also be a costly nightmare. Additionally, funds lost in cyberspace can be replaced. A botched robbery can result in harm to you and your family. The mall is not a war zone, but it is still important to be aware of your surroundings.

Price Compared to Convenience

It is important to know what your shopping kryptonite is. Some shoppers are really good at identifying a single item online, purchasing it for the best price, and stopping there. Similarly, some shoppers are really good at going to a retail store on a clearance day, grabbing a single item, and waiting in line.

However, some online shoppers cannot resist the urge to upgrade to next-day shipping and tack on a few extra purchases to get said next-day shipping at a discount. Store shoppers might not be any better. It is important to be able to leave the store with what you wanted to purchase. Similarly, it is important to recognize that a 50 percent off sale item is not saving money. You are still spending 50 percent of the original price.

Find a System That Works for You

There is nothing wrong with developing a shopping system that works for you. Choose the best deals over convenience, and do not forget to factor in other costs and risks.