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10 Rules for Back-to-School Online Shopping

8. Stick to a few websites to save on shipping

Retailers will offer free shipping assuming you meet a certain threshold of spending.

"Make sure you combine purchases to qualify for cheaper shipping discounts. Most people will buy an item from one site, and their next item from the next site. Batching your orders can help you save on shipping," says online marketing expert and founder/CEO of WebiMax , Kenneth Wisnefski.

9. Chat online with a salesperson

Shopping online means you can't talk in-person to a manager or store associate. Some online retailers, like J. Crew, offer a live chat online with a store representative. Just as you might ask a manager in-store for a discount or to match a price, ask the store rep online for a free shipping code. Sometimes, saving money comes down to simply asking questions, even when there is "no one" to ask.

You can also use live chat for website technical glitches or if you have a question about an item.

"Live chat gives merchants the ability to provide near concierge level service to consumers who want that personal shopper experience when making a purchase online. For consumers, live chat support can help on everything from merchandise selection to payment challenges," says Brian Hoyt, senior writer for The RetailMeNot Insider .

10. You no longer have to wait in line, but need to make tracks

Once you've made your online purchases, how are you going to keep track of when they arrive at your doorstep?

The Slice app on the iPhone and Android version links to your email and takes the data from those e-receipts that pop up in your inbox after making an online purchase and catalogs them conveniently on your smartphone. The app even lets you see when each shipment will arrive, this way you don't have to head to the shipping company's website and enter in multiple tracking numbers.

--By Scott Gamm

Gamm is the founder of the personal finance website HelpSaveMyDollars.com . He has appeared on NBC's TODAY, MSNBC and CNN. Follow Scott on Facebook and Twitter .

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