The Art of Online Shopping: Diligence, Service Life & The Three R’s

by on June 13, 2014

A frugal lifestyle isn’t just about trying to cut corners to save a few dollars. It’s a complete rewiring of your mindset when it comes to consumerism.

The big things to strive for when adopting a frugal lifestyle include:

  • Using diligence to research with the companies you buy from
  • Understanding the lifetime value of a product
  • Having a forward thinking mindset that creates sustainable living

For example …

There are those you could consider “cheap” like the individuals you see on the popular shop TLC show Cheapskates just to save a few pennies or you could be the type that seeks products (at a discount), from a reputable company, that will last longer than a year, and leaves a small footprint on our Earth.

So what does all of this have to do with finding great, valuable deals during your online shopping?

Everything …

When you get out of the mindset that being frugal is just about saving a bit of money here and there you’ll get down to the real value of your new lifestyle … longevity.

And that’s why I opened this article with those three bullet points.

Now let’s take a look into how each of them can help with your online shopping (and frugal lifestyle).

1. The Process of Diligence

A smart shopper is the one that takes the time to do their research (their due diligence). They are out there scouring the Web checking various sites and comparing the prices. They’re looking at reviews. They’re asking around to hear what real owners have to say about the product.

But you can go deeper …

If you want to just cut to the chase and figure out if you’re really going to receive a value then look at the customer service. If a company provides exceptional customer service you can then rest assured they’re willing to bring you the best deals.

Note: This is why companies like are doing so well. It was Stormy Simon that defined the customer service experience for the company that helped them grow and have the ability to offer up the big discounts.

Find the companies that provide incredible service and you’ll get the support so you won’t ever feel buyer’s remorse.

2. The Life Expectancy of a Product

And now the reason you want to choose a company with a good reputation and great customer service is that products have different life expectancies (referred to as ‘service life’).

Sites like actually have a great table to show this.

A few examples:

  • Incandescent bulbs have 1,000-2,000+ hours versus LED’s, which have 30,000-50,000+ hours.
  • Double-Pane windows have 8-10 years versus Vinyl/Fiberglass with 20-40 years.

So then when you know how long a product should last you can make better judgments about what you should shop for online. You’re starting with higher-value products, and then you’re shopping around and doing your diligence, and ultimately saving in the long-run (the whole point of frugality).

3. The Value of the Three R’s

When that item you bought finally bites the dust you should always remember the three R’s … reduce, reuse, and recycle. You already took care of the first by doing your diligence and getting the most from the item by looking at its life expectancy. Now it’s time to tackle the next two.

For example, you could reuse in ways like:

And then if you can’t find a use for the item move on to the recycle phase … in this case ask yourself whether it’s still in good enough condition that you could donate it to a local charity or an individual.


I believe these three items are what sets apart those that come across as cheap and those that are the real bargain hunters. If you turn these three items into a regular habit then all other aspects (and rewards) of the frugal lifestyle will fall into place.

Over to you … what ways do YOU find the best deals online?

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