I love online shopping. Now, that doesn’t mean I like shopping per se. But the internet has made shopping a whole lot easier. It means I can sit at home in my pajamas and comparison shop a dozen sites in a half an hour while sipping a cup of tea.
That beats the exhaustion that comes from driving around to a bunch of different stores all day to compare prices and pick up stuff all over town.
It also means there are more ways to save money shopping besides clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper. So, how can you save money shopping online?
Plan ahead for large purchases
If you are going to buy something expensive, chances are there is a time of year it tends to go on sale. Watch the calendar and plan ahead to get the best deals on things like appliances, mattresses, and cell phones.
A related trick for Amazon is to track prices using a site such as CamelCamelCamel.
Abandon your cart
It might seem rude, and in real life it is. But online where a physical cart isn’t in anyone’s way, this strategy can work with some retailers.
The idea is that you put what you are interested in purchasing in your virtual cart. Then, staying logged in, you just go about your business on other browser tabs for a couple of days.
You might just find a coupon in your email after a day or two as the merchant tries to entice you to finish the transaction. Not all merchants do this, but for those that do, this tactic might pay off.
Stock up on sale
This is obvious, but if something is on sale that you regularly buy, then stock up! This is best for household goods and non-perishable groceries, though I have used this tactic when buying ahead in sizes for kids clothes.
Note: only do this if you have space and budget to do so.
Use coupon codes
Before checking out, look for coupon or promo codes online. Some good online shopping sites even list their available codes right on their site and you just need to type it in at checkout to reap the savings.
Sign up for email
Often, retailers will send special discount codes to their email list. So, yes, there is a reason to sign up for that email list.
To avoid being inundated by these emails in your personal account, you may want to set up an email just for these types of lists. Don’t want the emails any more? They should have an unsubscribe link inside or try using unroll.me.
Use social media
Brands are becoming savvier with social media and will sometimes offer special promos to those that “like” or follow their profiles.
Sometimes, this is the only way I’ve found out about a sale!
Use rebate sites
What else do I do before checking out? I look at rebate sites such as Ebates (see my review), Swagbucks, and IBotta to see if it’s possible to get cash back on the purchases. Using these can mean anywhere from an additional 0.5% to upwards of 40% rebate on your purchase.
Definitely worth checking out.
Note: These aren’t stackable, so check to see which has the best offer.
Use a cash back card
Want more cash back? If you pay off your credit card in full each month, then it pays to use a card that features cash back rebates on purchases. The best part is there are no additional steps to take and it happens automatically.
Use a discounted gift card
Let’s say you are ready to buy a pair of shoes from DSW. Before you do so, you might be able to find a discounted gift card to pay for some or all of your purchase.
Compare prices in the Google Shopping tab
Have you ever noticed the Google Shopping tab? You’ll find it under the search box at the top of the page.
Do a quick search in Google for whatever you are buying, then go to the Shopping tab in the results. Here you can quickly see who has the lowest price.
Consider delivery charges
You’ve put in the time shopping so you want to actually get your items. Will you pay the delivery fee, or are there ways you can save on that as well?
Spend to get free delivery
If you are just under the threshold that will get you free delivery and you know you will use or need something else from the site in the near future, then why not add it to the cart and get the free shipping?
Use store pickup
Some stores only offer free shipping after you spend a certain amount. So, if you get free shipping with $100 purchase, but you only need $39 of stuff, you’ll either pay for shipping or end up filling your cart with stuff you don’t need just to get that “free” shipping.
With some stores, there is another solution. Places like JCPenney, Target and more offer a ship-to-store option where they will ship your order for free to a local store and you pick it up there.
Pay for membership
Some sites, like Amazon, offer free delivery for most items if you have a membership. In this scenario, you need to look at how often you shop there and other services offered with membership. For us, Amazon is worth it. For you, maybe a membership for a grocery delivery service is worthwhile.
Check for free delivery code
Just as you do when looking for coupon codes, do a search for free delivery coupon codes. Sometimes all you have to do is check!
See how much you can save
It is fun to see how much you can save! For example, the last time I bought a purse I found it on sale, plus used a coupon code, plus used a discounted gift card, and went through a rebate site. Boom! Savings! It doesn’t always happen that way, but when it does, it’s awesome.