How do you buy your laptop, mobile phone, car, bike, bed, washine machine or a ticket to a concert? These days it is obvious that just by switching to internet you can save money. However, it is not so obvious that some shopping channels and some strategies can be even more rewarding. My experience tells that savings could range from 35% to 90% off regular price. Lets discuss what needs to be done to buy smart.

To begin with, amazon.co.uk is a literally “amazing” place to check item reviews. Actual buyers and real users of the item should usually give the best picture of what you might expect from the item.

Depending on the item you buy, it is really worth finding an item in a store to see how it looks, before buying on internet. Otherwise, it is essential to study every pixel of the photos provided.

The next step is to select the cheapest platform. Usually, ebay.co.uk is cheaper than amazon, mostly because on ebay you can find super great auctions that start as low as £0.99. However, sellers pay ebay 10% of their income, thus free advertising platforms, such as gumtree.co.uk can offer even better deals. Another way to reduce the price is to go abroad – aliexpress.com is an outstanding platform that offers many items directly from China.

To illustrate the potential wins, I just recently bought a new sealed macbook pro for £1300 while the price on the apple store is £2000, saving 35% off the price. This saving comes from a completely new item, while the price for a bit used item can drop much further – as my father likes to say: “once the car drives out of the salon, it immediately looses around 30% value”. For a few times driven Remington Classic 3 2009 bike paid £75 while new costed £300, saving 75% off the price. For a ticket to a summer festival paid 50% less by finding a private advertiser, who did not need anymore.

What needs not to be forgotten is to clear the risks associated with buying through internet and especially from the free advertising websites. Potential risks is one of the main reasons why products cost so different. According to Citizens Advise analysis, one in six of the 649 gumtree cases was a scam or potential scam (108 cases) and one in ten of the 3711 eBay cases was a scam or a potential scam (386 cases). As a result, you have to clear the risks and i found following techniques working best: when bringing cash (especially if it is a lot of cash) – try to arrange the sale (1) on a day time and (2) in a public place, for instance Starbucks, so that not to be robbed, as it almost happend to me, buying on gumtree, and finally (3) verify the sellers by googling.

One of the largest potential rewarding strategies is buying straight from China, for instance aliexpress.com or alibaba.com, but how about the risks? When buying on ebay and amazon you are partially secure to pay, because they have money return guarantee. It is amazing that aliexpress platform offers equally strong protection – seller will not receive money (aliexpress will not release) till you do not confirm that the item successfully arrived and it is in good state. Wow! This enables to buy directly from China!