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Shopping: Online or Instore – Which is Cheaper?

From bagging a bargain to avoiding the crowds, there’s loads to love about shopping online.


But, do you get the same rush from not actually seeing, touching or even smelling the stuff you’re about to buy? It’s a closely fought contest, which probably comes down to one thing: price.


Is it cheaper to shop online or instore? Let’s take a nosey around.


Comparing prices. Got to be the biggest advantage of shopping online. Instead of traipsing up and down the high street for three hours only to discover you’ve saved 28p, you can track down the cheapest deals from the comfort of your couch.


Delivered to your door. The thrill of it turning up is half the fun. No more struggling on the bus or through crowds with exploding supermarket carrier bags and a multi-pack of toilet rolls (embarrassing). You can bulk-buy basics making considerable savings and delivery is usually free.


Returns are easy. And again, usually free. In terms of clothing (not consumables!) you can order several sizes, try them on at home and send back what’s not right, without the cost and hassle of travelling, parking, queuing and interacting with strangers.


Convenience. The last thing you need after a tough day is a trawl round a supermarket. You end up filling your trolley with things you don’t need to escape as quick as you can. And still have nothing in the cupboard you want to eat. Food shopping online means you can take your time, be selective, plan, avoid succumbing to subliminal supermarket advertising, and avoid the check-out chocolate.


Coupons and discount codes. There’s always a voucher to be found online offering great money-off deals, especially to new customers. If you sign-up to a newsletter you’ll be first to know of special events, offers, sales etc.

Reviews and ratings. Whatever you’re after, chances are someone else will have been there, done that, so you can get the lowdown on some insider information. Has the jumper gone baggy after a week? Does the pizza taste like cardboard? Has that springy thing jammed after one use? Saves you wasting your money on a bad purchase.


Fewer impulse buys. There’s less chance of buying something you don’t need, want or even like online.


Sending gifts. Never miss a birthday again. Order something online, have it delivered on time, with a little note, hey presto! No more searching stores for inspiration, then gift wrap, then a card, then a pen, then some Sellotape, then an address, then a post-office…


Online shopping would appear to win hands down. But, before you click to buy always ask yourself two important questions: ‘Do I need it? and ‘Can I afford it?’ If you hesitate for even a couple of seconds, go and have a brew and a biscuit instead. That will save you even more money!