As gas prices hover around the $4 mark, and near $5 in some parts of the country, it’s time to put the car in park and turn on the computer.
Point, click, buy: And save!
You won't be using any gas. Better yet, many online stores offer customers discounts and bargains that can’t be found in 'brick and mortar' stores. Plus, there are numerous discount websites informing shoppers of deals and steals. Couponmountain.com, for example, gives potential customers the chance to save 20% off $75 at spent online at JCPenny (JCP).
Here are four easy online alternatives to accomplish things that used to require driving:
Digital photography gives us the ability to develop pictures anywhere, why waste gas to do so? Sites like KodakGallery (EK), ShutterFly and SnapFish allow users to upload their digital photos and order copies for as low as nine cents per photo. Best of all, you can also purchase albums, cards, invitations and even calendars all with the click of a mouse. (Prices vary by option.) Customers can also receive offers for free prints, free shipping and discounted special projects.
Are those birthday 'thank you' notes waiting until you next trip to the post office? Head to Stamps.com and print out the postage amount needed. In addition, users get discounts on postage prices. For example: Priority mail weighing one pound costs $4.75, a nickel less than the retail price. Customers can also print postage directly onto envelopes, and receive up to 8% off the United States Postal Service’s international retail rates. However, Stamps.com does require an active account. This means users must pay $17.99 each month – but for frequent snail mailers, that's a deal compared the amount of time and gas spent driving to the post office.
High gas prices are moving commuter students who use cars out of the classroom. According to the New York Times (NYT), nearly 79% of the nation's 15 million commuting college students are seeking to reduce travel costs by turning to the Internet. Lamar University in Texas saw a 56% increase in enrollment for online courses this upcoming fall semester. By taking classes online some Lamar students will no longer need to make a 40-mile round-trip to attend class. This, according to the university, will save them about $8 for each day they can login for lessons instead of driving.
It may sound a little sketchy, but ordering prescription meds online saves you time and money. Some online pharmacies provide information about drug interaction, others email buyers about recalls or when a cheaper option is available.
However, buyers should look for a site’s seal of approval from Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS). According to the Mayo Clinic, “sites must maintain state licenses and allow inspections by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy.” If you don’t know where to find a site, consumers can turn to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), an independent organization that allows potential buyers to search for online pharmacies in their state. The group provides information on places where each site can legally operate and if the site has ever faced any disciplinary action.