Skip to content

7 Items That are (Often) Cheaper to Buy Online Than In-store

2013 February 15
by Aaron

aaron_image1Have you ever thought about what items  you regularly purchase that might be cheaper to buy online? I recently came across this Reddit asking that question – and thought it would be interesting to discuss here.

Most of our shopping is still done in-store – save for some gifts and “deals” we come across over the internet. But, with news of online retailers matching store pricing (like Target) and Amazon offering free 2-day shipping and other incentives with their Prime offering – it is becoming more and more price competitive to shop online. 

Comparing some of our past shopping lists with prices online at (mainly) Amazon – I did a little research of some items that can be cheaper than buying at the store. Plus – we can save on gas and time shopping.

  1. Water Filters. I typically get ours at Home Depot or another hardware store – and they run about $35-45. These things are not cheap! You can also save by “subscribing” to deliver service too. At Amazon – the price is $27.80 for a Whirlpool individual filter.
  2. Toilet Paper. Now this can be a hit-and-miss game here – you have to be watchful. Obviously with toilet paper there is the tissues-per-roll and the ply amount. You’ll have to factor these in when you shop. But, there is a pretty decent deal on a 48-pack of Quilted Northern for $23.94 (which amounts to 0.50 cents/roll).
  3. Books. Because Amazon has such a big online presence it is able to attract a lot of folks who want to resell their old books online. And with that – there are loads of books being sold for much less then retail. The catch here is that even if you are a Prime member, most items that are sold through 3rd parties is not eligible for the free shipping (check out how to sell your books at Amazon).
  4. Pet food. We have found some pretty good deals online for our pet rabbit. If you have one too – you can visit I have read others testimonials too where they have saved more money by shopping online for their pet feed.
  5. Clothing. Depending on what you are looking for and what season we’re in, there are some great deals to find online at various retailers. It seems like Aeropostale, Old Navy and Kohl’s are always running online deals.
  6. Small Electronics. I picked up a very handy iPhone backup battery charger for about $6 at Amazon awhile back and I love that thing. I haven’t ever found anything similar at the store. Ebay is another good source for small electronics that are may be slightly used but affordable.
  7. Magazines. If you are a big magazine reader like me (though I actually don’t subscribe to many) – online is a great place to sign-up and get deals. One of my favorites – Golf Magazine – is $10 for one-year.

Of course – buying in bulk is oftentimes going to be cheaper than buying individually – and that is where you can get the deepest discounts. Are there any items that you exclusively shop online for now?

Thanks for sharing!Share on Facebook4Tweet about this on Twitter11Share on Google+3Pin on Pinterest0Email this to someone


Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

You might also be interested in:

13 Responses
  1. February 15, 2013

    That’s a great point on the books with Amazon! It is very easy to overlook that and in the end you end up having to pay the shipping. We’ve tried looking for our cat food online as he’s on a special diet due to an allergy he had years ago, but we’ve had no such luck.

  2. February 15, 2013

    I exclusively purchase computer software online now. I won’t go into Best Buy or any other store for it. I also buy all of my music online. Who get’s CD’s anymore?

  3. Christian L. permalink
    February 15, 2013

    I have an old-school shaving kit and I find replacement Merkur razors for about $0.50 a piece when I buy a 30 pack. I can’t find these in stores anyway.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

    • Aaron permalink*
      February 15, 2013

      @John – Ah, yeah, the special pet food can be tougher to find. We feed the rabbit organic :)
      @Grayson – Just audiobooks! :)
      @Christian – That makes sense why you’d have to order those online.

  4. February 15, 2013

    Love, love our prime membership. I always forget about checking online for certain BIG items like TP and pet food, but with free 2-day shipping it is crazy not to. Good reminder, thanks.

  5. February 15, 2013

    I love Amazon too. We buy a lot of “stuff” from them because they often cheaper and the free shipping is nice too! Plus, I can’t overlook the convenience factor. Life is so busy that if I can just click and be done – then I’m a happy camper. Beyond Amazon, before I purchase anything, I do a quick google search for any online coupons, especially for free shipping.

    • Aaron permalink*
      February 16, 2013

      @Kyle – Great isn’t it? Had for about a year now..
      @Shannon – Can’t go wrong with Google either!

  6. February 16, 2013

    Lots of good ideas to save money. I’ve been buying from for years and have never had a problem. I also tend to use Google Shopping to do my initial comparison shopping. Just search for the model number and you can find the best price on anything in seconds.

    • Aaron permalink*
      February 17, 2013

      Thanks Chris – I’ll have to try Google Shopping.

  7. February 22, 2013

    In addition to saving money by buying these items online, it’s often a time saver (and time is also valuable) to shop online.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Link Roundup: 4 Tricks to Save More, Spend Less, and Pay off Debt | Credit Karma Blog
  2. Best of the week - February 16, 2013 | More Money Than Month
  3. Weekly roundup of great personal finance articles from around the web

Comments are closed.