Over the years, I have become a very seasoned online shopper. While that might make you think $$$, I can honestly say that I have saved THOUSANDS of dollars by shopping online vs. in stores. How? See my top 5 best ways to save by shopping online below:
I have an account for every online store that I browse on a semi-regular basis. The main reason is so that I can save my shopping carts then WALK AWAY. Yep, I almost never buy items the same day that I browse (shopping during limited time sales is the only exception to this rule). There are two reasons for this strategy:
1) Sometimes “sleeping on it” gives me the time I need to contemplate whether or not I actually want the items left in my cart – if I am still thinking those items the next day, then I know it’s right. ‘Cause let’s be real, we’ve ALL put ugly things in our online carts without thinking it through. Don’t be the girl who actually buys them.
2) It allows me to keep things “on hold” in my cart until a sale hits. I figure if the item(s) are still available in my cart during the next sale AND I’m still into the item(s) by that time, then I know that the purchase was truly meant to be!
This is how you find out about said sales above. If you always maintain saved shopping carts at your favorite online stores, cash out on those pieces once you get an email alert about an online sale. That’s one strategy. But what’s the best way to utilize this trick without getting overwhelmed with emails every day?
I solve this problem by creating a gmail filter for each shop I subscribe to. This way, emails from Shop A bypass my actual inbox and go straight to their designated folder. So when I get the itch to update my cart on Shop A’s site, it’s easy to look in that designated folder the next day for any special sales or email offers. Lots of stores let you stack discount codes so it’s convenient to have them all saved in one folder that you can easily peruse.
I would say 75% of the time I do this, I find the EXACT same item on another website for less money. Granted, sometimes those cheaper websites are scam sites – but I’m not talking about those. I’m talking about the Amazons and Walmarts of the world. This trick will take you a minute (max) and can save SO much money.
I especially like using this trick for big ticket items like furniture / home decor. For example, this architect art lamp on One Kings Lane for $299? Buy it through Houzz for $239, Lighting New York for $200, or ATG Stores for $179.
I forget where I picked up this trick but it’s genius. To do this successfully, you must first read and complete #1 and #2 on this list. Second, fill up a shopping cart. Third, complete all of the necessary steps to check out (credit card information and all) THEN STOP before actually completing your purchase. Usually you will be taken to a page to confirm that all personal information is correct before actually processing your order – get to that page then CLOSE OUT.
Why? Because I would estimate that 9 times out of 10 you will get an email the next day from that shop with some sort of special offer. This happens because they want your business and since you went to the trouble of ALMOST checking out, you obviously wanted to buy those items but something else distracted you before you could complete your purchase. Online stores will consider you to as ready to “convert” aka “make a purchase.”
Seriously, try this trick right now at a large brand’s website (Pottery Barn, Urban Outfitters, Crate & Barrel, Nordstrom…) and I’ll be darned if you don’t receive a special offer within a week.
Another step that only takes a minute but can save you tons of cash. Sites like Retail Me Not compile coupons for this exact purpose but honestly, googling the store name and “coupon code” will pull up options for you just as easily. You will probably have to test a few before finding a working code, but this is my fool-proof way to almost always get out of paying shipping fees (and then some!).
What other tips do you have? Tweet me (@keeping_change) or share in the comments below!