I suggest you interview your friends and family to get their opinions.
I think most people who shop online do so because of the convenience or selection, not to save money. Jiskha saves students money because it's free and they don't have to pay a private tutor.
I don't see any way that people lose money in the actual community.
Well this one example I used was: If people want to keep in touch with friends or family who live across the world, then online they can chat with them online and email them. In the actual world you would have to call them or fly to where ever they are to visit, but the phone bill costs over a hundred dollars and airplane rides aren't getting cheaper. My point here is that you save a lot of money online even if you don't know it.
You're right about keeping in touch with other people in the world by online communications. I wonder how many people keep in touch with other people around the world who they would otherwise phone.
One of my granddaughters lived in France for a year and a half. Her parents kept in touch by Skype. If it weren't for the internet, they probably would have used snail mail plus an occasional phone call.
My teacher thought it was a good point too. I just need to find some good evidence to support my claim.
Dear Anon - If you want evidence to support your claim, may I suggest you pick an airline and use it fictitiously in your essay. By this I mean, write something like "Your friend Miranda moves to LA, California. You live in Houston, TX. You were very close and enjoyed talking to her, and you want to keep your friendship intact, but airline prices make it hard to arrange a visit."
Then you can pick an airport from one of those states, such as LAX or Bush Intnl and research plane fares. Lets say it costs 525 to fly one way from Bush to LAX. Of course, you have to fly back to Bush sometime. That's another 525. If you plan to visit more than once a year, you have to multiply a roundtrip cost by the numebr of visits. And prices differ according to what days and seasons you are traveling too, but it is still expensive. And what about car rentals and spending money for when you're over visiting? That has to be factored in to.
This way, by laying out a mock-plan and budgeting actual prices, you not only support your statement that online communities save money, but you prove it clearly as well. Because after all, using Skype and FaceBook and instant-messaging is a lot less expensive...even if you count the money you pay for internet service!