Things that are better to buy online
Cut out the middleman. It’s a sales tactic used for ages to give buyers the confidence they need to pull the trigger on a purchase — all under the guise of getting the best deal possible. For a long time, the promise was sullied by multilevel marketing schemes and a stream of hidden fees found in mail and phone order setups. But thanks to our good friend, the Internet, direct to consumer has never been more transparent. With companies offering everything from high-quality snacks and pet food to mattresses and luggage for less than what can be found in brick and mortars, shopping online proves the real deal. Not only that, but consider the time wasted talking to customer service representatives, waiting in checkout lines, or driving to a store location. The best part: Legacy retailers like JCPenney and Sam’s Club are offering killer prices to match direct-to-consumer’s new wave. Ahead, find nine ways to save time and money by adding to cart, without leaving your couch.
SHOP: Products we love having delivered
The Find: Snacks
Go-Tos: Thrive Market, TokyoTreat, NatureBox, Sam’s Club
Our Pick: Not snacking between meals sounds like a dream, but let’s get real: Whether it’s the 3 p.m. energy slump that seems to hit nearly every workday or a no-time-for-breakfast rush that somehow, still happens in a pandemic, having a quick snack at the ready is a lifesaver. The key: stocking shelves with healthy options that add nutrients — not a sugar rush — to your diet. These pistachios make the grade, along with other vegan, paleo and Japanese options from some of our go-tos above.
SHOP: Wonderful Pistachios No Shells Variety Pack, $13.98, available at Sam’s Club
The Find: Mattresses
Go-Tos: Purple, Casper, Nectar, Tuft & Needle
Our Pick: Old-school wisdom says you should never buy a mattress without laying down on it first. But with innovative tech, painless return policies, and award-winning products, buying a mattress online from a direct-to-consumer brand not only blows that theory out of the water, it makes the process easy. Take the latest model from Purple, which is designed to absorb pressure for a cloud-like sleep, features more than 2,500 airways to regulate sleeping temperature, and is made with upgraded edge support: The mattress delivers free of charge within 10 business days via UPS or FedEx (no waiting for a delivery truck that may or may not show up during a designated time frame).
SHOP: Purple Queen Firm Mattress, $1,149, available at Purple
The Find: Sunglasses
Go-Tos: Zak, Warby Parker, EyeBuyDirect, Izipizi
Our Pick: With hundreds of pages of easily sortable sunglasses options (narrow search by size, shape, rim, material, color, and more), options from big-name brands (like Ray-Ban and Oakley) and the pleasingly affordable house label, finding sunnies for the whole family has never been easier or more affordable. Pick up this playful heart-shaped pair for your resident TikTok teen; a pair made from recycled water bottles for the in-house eco-warrior; and classic wayfarers for dear old Dad — all in one fell swoop.
SHOP: EyeBuyDirect Sun Amore Heart Black Sunglasses, $32, available at EyeBuyDirect
The Find: Luggage
Go-Tos: CalPak, Monos, Away
Our Pick: Chic luggage used to signal that a traveler was rich. But thanks to innovative luggage brands that have popped up in the past few years, it’s now a sign that a traveler is smart and stylish. Case in point: this hard-side luggage set, available in carbon black or a metallic bronze — and for nearly 50% off. Made from the same polycarbonate material that’s used in bullet-proof glass, this luggage set packs plenty of ease-of-travel features (multi-directional spinner wheels, telescoping handle, and plenty of pockets) but is also lightweight — a godsend not just when schlepping between gates but in avoiding excess weight fees for checked bags.
SHOP: Rockland 3-pc. Hardside Luggage Set, $215.99, available at JCPenney
The Find: Pet Food
Go-Tos: The Farmer’s Dog, Chewy, Ollie, Jinx, Petco
Our Pick: The trend toward more discerning diets doesn’t stop with how we stock our fridge. Pet owners who once may have picked up random kibble at the supermarket are now veering toward more power-packed diets for their very best boys and girls. On the checklist: food that’s made in the USA, is grain-free, and free of GMOs. Of course going gourmet for Fido also means a bumped-up budget, which is why finding online deals is crucial. With bulk discounts and special subscription prices, buying online proves providing the best for your pet doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
SHOP: Wellness Complete Health Natural Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food, 15 lbs., $37.69, available at Petco
The Find: Contact Lenses
Go-Tos: 1 800 Contacts
Our Pick: Nobody said navigating the eye care field would be easy, but navigating waivers, IRL pickups, and random sales calls certainly doesn’t make for a 21st-century solution. One way around the rigamarole? Take your lens prescription from your eye care provider straight to the Internet, where discounted lenses and auto-shipping help streamline the process. Speaking of easy, these lenses are a perfect pick for no-brainer wear: They’re made to retain 100% of their moisture for a 16-hour stretch and thanks to the single-use design, cleaning and storing contacts also becomes a thing of the past. Not to mention, get 20% off your first purchase (until 3/31/2021 11:59pm EST).
SHOP: Bausch+Lomb BioTrue ONEDay 90 Pack, $55.99, available at 1 800 Contacts
The Find: Household Goods
Go-Tos: Brandless, Public Goods
Our Pick: Anyone else notice the prices of everyday goods (like toilet paper and household cleaners) tick upward in the past year? Us too — except in one place: direct-to-consumer online stores. By taking out the middleman — and stripping away unnecessary packaging and design, we can score basics like this granite cleaner for far, far less than what we’d pay in the grocery store.
SHOP: Brandless Granite & Stone Cleaner, $4, available at Brandless
The Find: Razors
Go-Tos: Billie, Flamingo, DollarShaveClub
Our Pick: Razors. The need-to-have, not nice-to-have item is a must for most. But spending a single cent more on blades than necessary feels like a waste. The best bet for our money? Skipping flimsy, single-blade disposables that rip up our skin and opting instead for the simple, but sleekly designed versions offered by online brands. This version features a weighted handle, rubber grip, flexible hinge, hydrating strip and five blades, but even when bundled with an extra blade cartridge, body lotion, shave gel and a shower hook, it still costs less than similar models found in brick and mortars.
SHOP: Flamingo Shave Set, $16, available at Flamingo
The Find: Workout gear
Go-Tos: Bala, Cap Barbell
Our Pick: An at-home weight set. Lugging a whole setup home from a brick-and-mortar store is not our idea of an optimized workout. Instead, get all the pieces delivered straight to your home. It's often more affordable to purchase an entire set, rather than individual dumbbells or weighted pieces, which can literally rack up.
SHOP: Dumbbells Weight Sets Adjustable 66LB/30kg Dumbbells Non-slip Gym Home Fitness Exercise Training Dumbbells in Black, Was $300, Now $89.99, available at Walmart
The Find: Travel Booking
Our Pick: Far-flung travel may have taken a back seat in the past year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t treat ourselves to a little (and much-needed) change of scenery. Enter the staycation, in which cool new envions in neighboring counties are just the thing to lift us from stay-at-home cabin fever. Booking.com provides plenty of options that are easily filtered to match your dream escape (Beachfront! Lakeside! Mountainous!). What’s more, the site features a very generous cancelation policy. So whether you’re booking for a quick getaway or have your sights on international travel down the road, you can make reservations and not feel the financial burn — even when life makes other plans for us.
SHOP: Prices vary, available at Booking.com