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Online bargains

By ninemsn staff
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Air date: Monday, May 26, 2008
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abercrombie and fitch

The soaring Australian dollar has been a dream come true for shoppers wanting to purchase clothes, perfumes and electronic goods direct from the U.S.

Our dollar is now worth nearly 96 cents on the American dollar and that's translated into big savings for consumers wanting to buy imported goods.

With the dollar at a 24-year-high, many American products are becoming actually cheaper to buy from online American sites then they are from their Aussie counterparts.

For example, an iPod touch bought from the online Australian Apple store costs nearly $100 more than it does on the American site.

A $110 bottle of perfume from Australian online retailer www.wishlist.com.au costs almost double than buying the bottle from American site www.fragrencenet.com

Increasingly it's becoming financially wise to actually buy more of your luxury products from overseas.

It’s a sentiment Christopher Zinn from consumer magazine Choice agrees with.

"Any purchases - particularly from America if you're looking overseas - are getting substantially cheaper and this is the joy of buying things on the web," he says.

"If you're buying from the U.S. you're pretty much matching dollar for dollar."

Another example of the savings can be found in expensive running shoes.

You can buy a pair of Nike cross-trainers online for $64.99 USD, a fraction of the $200 they'll cost you in Australia.

Even when you add in the shipping costs, you'll still get huge savings if you buy online from the U.S.

Another advantage of the high Aussie dollar is that it now makes it more possible to purchase from stores that are not even represented in Australia.

Fashion savvy consumers can buy clothes from American retailers like Abercrombie and Fitch, J Crew and American Eagle for half the price it may have cost a few years ago.

You can also potentially save even more if you're smart about the way you go about purchasing products.

"It's probably better to buy in bulk. So go with a friend, or go in with a few friends, put in and buy together so you share the cost of postage," Shop 'till you Drop editor Kerrie McCallum said.

"The postage cost is added onto the total and that's what can really get you in the end."

Buyer beware though. If you are purchasing a lot of goods from one store you could be whacked with a hefty customs bill.

Generally speaking, most goods except tobacco and alcohol are duty and tax free if their value is less than $1,000, but other products may have import charges.

It's best to go to the Customs website at www.customs.gov.au for tips and guidelines when purchasing online.

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