Buying from the US to save money

There are big savings to be made in buying online from the US. Alex Wilson investigates just how much you can save and how easy it can be.
Image: © goodluz -

Consumers (you and me) are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to getting a good deal. We have seen the rise of the ‘comparative shopper’ or 'retailers nightmare' you might say, where people spend a large amount of time comparing product details, specs and inevitably prices, often in retail stores we have no intention of purchasing from.

Online stores have significantly lower overheads than their bricks and mortar cousins, translating to better prices for the consumer. As a result, ecommerce and online sales have flourished.

The catch 22 of this cycle is that people are buying from overseas, in turn diminishing retail sales and in turn employment opportunities for Australians.

This however does not register highly on many people’s shopping agenda, instead we are focused on saving money and buying the things we want, at far cheaper prices.

So just how much money can you save by purchasing online?

Here are five things that I would love to purchase, but can't afford to buy in Australia. You will be able to see the significant savings made by simply ordering online (from the likes of or other distributors).

Number 1: Canon Powershot S100 Digital Camera

Canon Powershot S100 Digital Camera

This camera is high performance, compact and sleek. However it enjoys significantly lower prices internationally than here in Australia. Once you know this is the camera you want, why wouldn’t you simply order online and have it arrive 7 days later?

  • Australian retail price: $480
  • Online price from US: $349 (+ $33 shipping)
How much money could you save? $98 + depending on where you buy.

Number 2: iRobot Rooma 780 – Robot Vacuum cleaner

iRobot Rooma 780 – Robot Vacuum cleaner

Ok this is amazing. A robot vacuum cleaner that is capable of vacuuming your entire house while you are out. Hard at work, while you are at work (I should be in marketing!).

  • Australian retail price: $799
  • Online price from US: $609 (+ $44 shipping)

How much money could you save? $146 or more. You would think that a product manufactured closer to Australia (Asia) would cost less for us than our US counter parts – incorrect.

Number 3: Apple iPad – Black, Wi-Fi only with 16GB storage

Apple iPad – Black, Wi-Fi only with 16GB storage

The infamous iPad which I somehow want but have no idea why. It’s like a much larger version of my iPhone really.

  • Australian retail price: $539
  • Online price from US: $418 (+ $52 shipping)
How much money could you save? Not much really, around $69 or so depending on where you buy from. However the savings are even larger when looking at Apple desktop PCs and laptops

Number 4: Levis 501 Original Fit Jeans


These are the world’s best-selling jeans. Often a staple in any wardrobe, the prices we pay in Australia can be nearly as much as three times more than that of the US.

  • Australian retail price: $115 on special
  • Online price from US: $40 (+$19 shipping)

How much money could you save? $56 per pair. In fact, you could just about buy two pairs for less than the cost of one. Considering how many pairs of jeans the average Aussie would own, this is a huge saving.

Number 5: Five best-selling books, delivered to my door

Five best-selling books – delivered to my door

Book bundle includes:

  • EL James - Fifty shades of grey (awkward, please don’t tell anyone)
  • Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games (not for me, it’s for my niece…)
  • Anna Funder – All that I am
  • James Patterson - Zoo
  • Antony Beevor - The Second World War

These five books are ones I have been meaning to read at some point. The convenience of having these books arrive on your door is invaluable.

  • Australian retail price: $131.83
  • Online price from US: $67 (+ $30 shipping)

How much could you save? On this lot of five, you are looking at a saving of around $34. This is basically 25% off and includes the cost of delivery to your front door within 14 days.

So what is the total amount you would have saved by purchasing online?

With these five items (9 including the individual books), you are looking at a total saving of $403 for the entire basket. This includes delivery to your door.

That amount of money would form a great kick start to your savings plan or war chest as we like to call it, or check out our comprehensive online shopping guide Shop online, like a professional.

Lets talk What else could you buy online and save a fortune doing so? Comment below or on Facebook.

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Prices are in Australian dollars, were generally rounded to the nearest dollar and were accurate as of 07/09/2012. Prices were also sourced and compared from a solid sample of online vendors.

Savings Guide Logo Alex Wilson is the founder and editor of Savings Guide, Australia’s number one saving money website. For regular money saving tips, visit Savings Guide or follow Savings Guide on Facebook.