The short answer to “Is it better to buy online?” is, it depends what you are buying. A few items can be cheaper online, and it is also advantageous to buy online if you are looking for something very specific, like a gift for someone else. In the case where you want something specific, especially something unusual, it can save you hours of time and high cost of gas to look for it online. Here I’m going to split up some items into cheaper and not cheaper categories that I am aware of for online shopping.
Its possible I might add to this list as I learn or think of more things to add.
“gadget” batteries such as toy batteries and odd round batteries. My batteries for my diabetes meter were purchased for $9 for 20 batteries online. A 2 pack of the same batteries at Walmart was over $4.
Postage stamps. These are often cheaper than the post office if you look on ebay and are willing to buy 100 stamps at a time. Be warned, they are more expensive on some other sites as you pay for stamps plus shipping costs. If you don’t live near the post office it might be marginally worth it on these other sites, otherwise not.
Replacement brush heads for electric toothbrushes
Printer ink. This might depend what printer ink you are looking up, but my mom and I both find ink for our printers cheaper online than at Walmart.
Books, dvds, music cds. These things are often cheaper than the stores on sites like amazon and ebay. You might have to buy a “like new” instead of “new” item which means lightly used in order to get them cheap.. I’ve ordered many things in this category before and all have looked and worked great.
Most food items and household items
Yarn (this can sometimes tie with stores if you use free shipping codes. Using free shipping codes, sale prices online or other discounts can make buying online worth it) Also exception hard to find locally yarn. Example “ladder” or ‘Trellis” yarn is sold at ONE store near me for about $8 each. Online I can purchase the same amount of yarn for $3 to $5 and that includes shipping so for this particular item that is worth it.