The proliferation of online retailers has made it quicker, easier, and significantly cheaper for consumers to access the products they use on a daily basis. In fact, in 2017, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday survey, 55 percent of those shopping for gifts said they planned to turn to the internet, versus just 44 percent who preferred to make purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, marking the first year online shopping was scheduled to outpace the trusty trip to the mall.
And while it’s unlikely you’ll see your local Target shut its doors for good, there are plenty of good reasons (many of them staring back at you from inside your wallet) to ditch the high prices and long lines at your local brick-and-mortar shops for good. Before you hand over another dollar, get to know these 40 things you should always buy online.
If you’re looking for a new computer, head online before you head to your local mall. Companies like Apple offer great online promo codes and discounts, even on models like the beloved MacBook Pro (from $1249.00), making it easy to save cash on those pricey electronics. Better yet, getting your computer delivered to your house means you can forgo the walk back to your car with a bag that screams, “I just spent $1000.”
Planning an exotic getaway? Go ahead and buy those tickets online. Sites like Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, and Hopper can all save you significantly on your next trip. Maybe it’s finally time to book that family vacation to Disneyworld (from $565/person). Sorry, travel agents.
According to the Time Use Institute, the average American spends 42 minutes shopping every time they hit the grocery store, something most people do an average of 1.6 times a week. However, with the rise of delivery from places like Whole Foods and services like Peapod and Instacart, it’s so easy to save significant time and money getting those same staples online. Who else is going to bring you K-Cups (starting at $3.99) to your door at 6 a.m, anyway?
The last-minute scramble to get those in-demand toys is a thing of the past. Instead of braving the mall during the holiday season to find yourself fighting over the last Hatchimal on the shelf, ordering toys online makes it easy to get your shopping out of the way early without having to explain what those huge bags of toys you’re hiding in the garage are to your kids. Better yet, many stores have exclusive toys that are hard to find in stores and cumbersome to fit in your trunk, but you can get delivered to your home for free, like this Melissa & Doug Deluxe One Stop Shop Play Store Set ($179.99) from Target.
Instead of lugging back those huge bottles of window cleaner and dish soap from the store, order them online and save yourself the trip—and the back strain. In fact, a two-pack of Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid ($5.99) purchased online costs significantly less than you’d pay for it at your local grocery store.
The high prices at your college bookstore are bound to leave you broke before the semester is up. The good news? Buying them online can save you a small fortune. Case in point: while a new copy of Gerald Karp’s Cell and Molecular Biology: Concepts and Experiments will cost you $110.88 at Barnes & Noble, the same new book will run you just $8.74 plus shipping at online retailer AbeBooks.
Picking up that 50-inch flat screen at your local big box retailer could have you spending more than you wanted in the long run. However, buying it online could save you a pretty penny. In fact, buy that 50-inch Samsung flat screen TV ($449.99) online from Best Buy and you can make sure you’re getting the best deal using the site’s price comparison tool.
If you’re not eligible for health insurance through your employer, the internet might just be your best bet for getting affordable coverage fast. Buying health insurance online through either your state’s marketplace or individual provider sites, like eHealthInsurance, can save you the hassle of finding an insurance broker, while letting you compare ratings and prices quickly and easily.
Looking to upgrade your scrapbooking supplies or plan the Pinterest wedding of your dreams? It’s time to start looking online. Not only can you find customized craft supplies, like adorable baby milestone stickers ($12) on Etsy, sites like eBay offer bulk crafting supplies, from ribbon to cabochons, for a fraction of what you’d pay in a store.
Rather than trying to load your car with those heavy bags of mulch or enormous rolls of sod, save yourself time, money, and the hassle of vacuuming your trunk by purchasing your gardening supplies online. This is especially true on bigger orders: you’re unlikely to find 2,000 pounds of rubber mulch ($649.99) at your local brick-and-mortar store, after all.
Looking for a gift card? Don’t head to your local store—head online. Sites like Gift Card Granny and GiftCards.com can save you nearly 60 percent when compared to what you’d pay in stores. Who can beat a $100 Best Buy gift card for just $50?
Any parent can tell you just how quickly babies grow out of their clothes—or otherwise ruin them. Instead of making a rushed midnight trip to Target, ordering clothes online can save you time and money in a pinch. In fact, you can get a five-pack of Gerber onesies ($5.99) on Amazon for just $2 apiece—significantly less than you’d find them for in virtually any store.
If your local wine shop is out of your favorite bottle, you might just be out of luck for your next party. However, ordering online can mean you always have the right bottle on hand while saving yourself the inconvenience of trying to get 30 bottles of the good stuff out to your car without breaking the box. In fact, ordering online can save you a boatload of money, too: a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut ($59.97) on Wine.com is significantly less expensive than what you’d pay in your local store.
If you’re still buying books in a brick-and-mortar store, you’re throwing your money away. Not only can shopping sites like Amazon save you tons of cash—where else are you going to find a brand-new copy of Leaves of Grass ($3.45) for under $4, after all?—you can also find a wealth of eBooks, many of them free, that your local bookstore just can’t compete with.
Instead of shelling out hundreds of bucks on an airport parking spot, pay ahead and save yourself time and money. Sites like SpotHero can help you find the best parking lot for an event or airport for a fraction of what you’d pay in person. And considering you park your car in peace in popular destinations like Manhattan’s Theater District (from $27) without worrying about it getting dinged by a garbage truck, it’s well worth it for the peace of mind alone.
Those Halloween pop-up shops that open every October are paying a premium to rent space and hire seasonal employees—and they’re passing those additional costs onto you. Luckily, if you’re the kind of person who loves to plan ahead, you can get better prices and skip those long lines. Buying online in the off-season means you can get those usually-pricey costumes for a fraction of their usual cost. So, go ahead and get yourself that sexy scarecrow costume ($27.99) you’ve been eyeing.
Those vintage concert t-shirts at your local vintage shop may cost you an arm and a leg, but it’s easy (and cheap) to come by the exact item you’re searching for online. Sites like Etsy, eBay, and Poshmark, make it easy to find that perfect 1980s Rolling Stones shirt (from $75) for a reasonable price instead of the hundreds you’d pay at a brick-and-mortar shop.
If you’re buying your contacts at a local pharmacy, you’re paying more than you should—not to mention wasting your time. Outlets like 1800Contacts and ContactsDirect have top brands like 12-packs of Acuvue Oasys ($67.99/box), which are significantly cheaper than the prices at your average shop, and better yet, you can set up automatic refills so that you never run out.
Lugging those 60-pound bags of kibble back to your house is no picnic. Fortunately, sites like Chewy not only have great prices on pet food, toys, and prescriptions, they also offer AutoShip services that shave extra money off every order so you’ve always got Fido’s favorite snacks on hand. In fact, a 30-pound bag of Wellness Complete Health Adult dog food ($55.09) will run you nearly $3 less if you get a regular subscription.
Authenticated designer goods
While buying a Chanel bag for $20 on eBay will likely yield some disappointing results, using authenticated designer sites like The Real Real and Vestiare Collection can save you hundreds, if not thousands, on what might otherwise be a bank-breaking purchase. Where else can you find a pair of Gucci Blooms sneakers ($395) without spending your whole paycheck?
Before rushing out to your local office supply store when you run out of printer ink, go online. Not only can you buy ink for a fraction of the price of a brick-and-mortar store, you can even purchase printer ink refills ($8.99) to do it yourself while keeping those used cartridges out of a landfill.
Bulky, expensive, and a pain to lug around, luggage is definitely best bought online. Imagine: instead of loading up your trunk with suitcases that obscure your view, you can have adorable bags delivered right to your door, like Away’s popular carry-on suitcase ($225), which even charges your phone for you.
Make those last-minute runs to your local big box store a thing of the past by ordering your diapers online. Amazon has an easy subscription service that delivers your diapers on a predetermined schedule—even huge 180 packs ($62.40) of popular eco-friendly brands like Bambo.
Whether you’re sending your congratulations or your sympathies, flowers are yet another item best purchased online. Not only can you save yourself the trip to the florist with same-day services from a number of online retailers, you can even get super-specialized bouquets, like the Tiny Miracle New Baby Girl Bouquet ($50) from FTD.
Running out of those workplace essentials, from pens to notebooks, can be a pain when you’re in a rush to complete a project. Luckily, new office supply subscription services, like Cloth + Paper’s monthly pen subscription ($18), mean you’ll never be out of supplies when inspiration strikes.
Why waste time and energy checking out those kitchen appliances at your local department store? Buying those mixers, blenders, and panini presses online can save you serious money—and it’s not like you could test them out in the store, anyway. You can even get refurbished devices from popular brands, like Vitamix ($289.95) for close to half what they retail for.
While your local electronics store may have a few flash drives in stock, the internet has an abundance—and they’re way cheaper than what you’d get buying them at a brick-and-mortar. Better yet, you can get tons of creative designs—and who wouldn’t want a custom-engraved mahogany thumb drive ($12.49)?
Don’t lug another bottle of pricey detergent home from the store only to spend your drive back hoping it won’t spill all over your trunk. Instead, buy an Amazon Dash Button ($4.99) and you can get your detergent delivered to you with the touch of a button.
Think you’re getting the best price on hotel rooms by booking directly through the hotel’s site? Think again. Travel sites like Trivago, Kayak, and Expedia can all save you a significant amount of cash on that dream vacation at The Four Seasons Maui ($639/night) for way less than you’d pay if booked through traditional means.
Instead of loading your cart full of paper products only to realize that’s the only thing you’ll be able to carry home, order them online. Luckily, with a Dash Button ($4.99) from Amazon, you can get a 24-pack of Charmin ($29.99) shipped right to your house on whatever schedule works for you.
Buying a treadmill at a brick-and-mortar store not only means you’re going to be paying more for the equipment, it also means scheduling delivery and possibly even taking time off from work to wait for it to arrive. Fortunately, you can now buy the same exercise equipment online, like a Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer ($649.99) for less money and have it delivered for free to your door; better yet, sites like Amazon even offer expert assembly, meaning you’re done once you click.
For most people, trying on underwear isn’t really a thing, meaning it’s generally not worthwhile to head to a brick-and-mortar store and face your nearly-nude body under those harsh fluorescents. Whether you’re in the market for Hanes tagless boxer briefs (from $14.00) or something lacy, if you know your size, it’s well worth it to buy your underwear online, letting you avoid those pushy salespeople asking you about their fit.
While you may not want to buy a bed or a couch you’ve never tested out in person, there’s no reason not to buy accent pieces online. Sites like Wayfair not only have more options—hello, porcelain vase lamp ($219.99)—than your local furniture store, the prices can’t be beat, either.
Rather than overspending on a piece of costume jewelry you’ll only wear once or twice, save yourself some time and money by buying online. Sites like BaubleBar offer inexpensive, high-quality, and trendy jewelry, like beaded drop earrings ($42) that will last way longer than those pieces purchased from fast fashion shops.
Make sure you’ve always got a tool handy to clean up those messes by ordering your paper towels online. Not only will this save you the hassle of trying to carry those cumbersome 24-packs of Bounty ($28.99) out to your car, subscription services from Amazon mean you can always have your towels at the ready.
As Seen on TV products
Rent on those As Seen on TV stores isn’t free, nor is the time of the employees who work there. If you’ve seen as As Seen on TV product you just can’t live without, buy it online, where you won’t pay the markup you’d get in a brick-and-mortar store. Bring on the ThighMaster ($19.99)!
There’s no reason to spend your time waiting in a box office line to secure yourself a seat for a performance. Discount sites, like TKTS by TDF, can get you huge discounts on those Dear Evan Hansen tickets (from $45) without the worry about getting bum-rushed by over-eager Hamilton fans.
Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be trying that blow dryer or curling iron out at your local beauty supply store, get it online instead. Big beauty stores regularly offer online coupons, and many of those products you’d pay top dollar for at your local beauty store, like the CHI Original 1″ Ceramic Straightening Iron ($79.99), can be purchased online for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re buying umbrellas at your local bodega when it starts to rain, you might as well throw your money in the trash. Not only do those umbrellas regularly cost $10 or more, you’d be lucky to withstand a single rainstorm before yours breaks. For about the same price, you can get a stylish clear bubble umbrella ($14) from Totes, a company with a track record better than whoever makes those flimsy umbrellas you get on the street.
Buying software at a brick-and-mortar store just leaves you a box full of packaging to throw away when you’re done installing. Everything from tax programs to photo editing software, like Photoshop (from $19.99/month), can now be purchased in a single click for a fraction of what you’d pay getting your programs at a big box store.