Getting those necessities online.

What if you could make fewer trips to the store? Would you save time? Gas? Money?

Many of us tend to run right out to the store when we need stuff. These things we need are the necessities in life. (Sounds much better when a bear sings it.) We make lists so the trip isn’t wasted on a single item or two, but how often will you add non-necessities to the list to make it worth the drive? Or how often do you end up with more than was on the list? Hmmm…more time, gas and money. Ouch.

The current economy has us searching for alternatives. Retail merchants are realizing that if shoppers are going to keep spending less, stores need them to come in more frequently. So they’re offering a greater range of necessities. Convenient yes, but also tempting. Even online choices are increasing in this segment and here’s where an alternative just might have some advantages.

It doesn’t seem the norm, but shopping for paper towels, soap, vitamins and coffee in your bathrobe might be rather convenient. Imagine answering that doorbell for deliverables that would have taken an hours worth of time, through traffic, waiting in line and pushing the wobbly cart back out to the car in the rain.

It sounds easy, and it can be, but you’ll need to have some discipline. Develop some habits like making lists and shopping at one online store. If you’re smart, you’ll look for added coupons, discounts (often better than in-store) and additional rewards like Cash Back (from FatWallet and other deal sites). Don’t forget to look for free shipping. That’s where planning ahead really kicks in because the shipping costs go down when you’re not in a time crunch.

Heck, even if you break even, there’s something really gratifying about getting your necessities without using the extra muscles. Obviously there’s always going to be a moment or two where even the most dedicated online habits fall short (toothpaste would be one thing I couldn’t wait for). The options are there for you to take advantage of. I’ll go for the warm and cozy route whenever possible for my necessities.

Here is a great link to visit and review some consumer necessities deals, list ideas and a pretty sweet Drugstore.com gift certificate giveaway.

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