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In-store shopping vs. online shopping: What saves more money?

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Editor’s note: Each week, 1 of Bankrate’s personal finance reporters is reporting on a new way to save and chronicling the savings journey. This week, I investigated whether buying online would save me money. See what happened.

Lissa McGrath, an avid eBay and Amazon user, co-wrote “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to eBay” and paid for almost her entire 2001 wedding reception using eBay.

“With eBay, I could just search exactly what I wanted and have it delivered to my in-laws, ready for the wedding,” she says. “I purchased all the decorations, silk flowers, center pieces, the reception book, disposable cameras for all the tables — 2001, remember, no camera phones — and gifts for the wedding party.”

Tiffany Aliche, founder of, says to use vendors with a great track record.

“Online shopping is great because you can get things that fit your style, body type and save you money,” Aliche says. “And you don’t have to go all the way to the store.”

I believe in trying on an outfit before buying it, which is why I’ve never bought clothes online. I like being 100% sure I like what I’m buying.

“If you like a certain designer,” Aliche says, “you go to designer stores and get familiar with the styles and brands there.”

See if I fell for the siren call of online shopping.