Even before we were stuck in the house for 2 months straight, I was an online shopper. I used to love strolling through the aisles and looking at things at the mall, but you couldn’t pay me to go to the mall these days! I much prefer shopping from the comfort of my couch. Over time I’ve learned some tricks to get the best deal and avoid the pitfalls that marketers set for you to fall into. If you’re looking for ways to save money while shopping online, this post is for you!
JOIN THE REWARDS PROGRAMS
We are all familiar with the endless rewards programs that are out there. Almost every company has one these days and incentivizes you to sign up so you can save money. I know the emails are annoying, but sign up for them! I set up email filters to automatically move these things from my inbox into a designated folder. That way I can search for them when I need them but I don’t see them every day encouraging me to shop. You may never think you’ll use the points, but it takes less than a minute to signup.
SEARCH FOR PROMO CODES
One great habit to adopt everytime you shop online is to search for promo codes. Whether you’re shopping for clothes, household items, or even food on apps like Uber Eats, you can find a promo code to save you a few dollars. First I start by simply searching Google and then I will check the companies social media pages or even sign up for their email lists to get their promo codes. Since I won’t be purchasing the items for a day or two, I have time to sign up for emails and wait to get the promo codes in my inbox before purchasing. If you can’t find one, hop into their customer support chat box and ask for one! The worst thing they can say is “no”!
ABANDON YOUR CART
Another great strategy you can use with online shopping is abandoning your cart. Add all of the things you are considering purchasing into your cart and then close the tab and leave it. A lot of companies will follow up with you the next day via email to remind you about the items in your cart. Many times these emails will include a coupon code incentivizing you to complete your purchase. Doing this will ensure you get the best deal possible and aren’t missing out on any coupons!
WAIT 48 HOURS BEFORE PURCHASING
Getting you to impulse buy something is the marketing person’s dream. They want to scare you into action with limited time only sales, and inventory warnings. Don’t fall for it! Making purchase decisions in a high-pressure environment is not a good idea. Nine times out of ten, you will regret making that purchase once it arrives.
Because I know marketers aren’t going to change their ways, I have taught myself to expect their tactics and come with a plan. My rule is that I never buy anything the first time I see it! I will leave it in my cart, as I mentioned above, or add it to a list to consider over the next couple of days. Waiting a few days before purchasing gives me clarity of mind and helps me to weigh the pros and cons of each purchase. If I’m not longer super excited about it, I will move it to my lists.
SAVE YOUR IDEAS TO A LIST
I think many of us tend to purchase things because we just heard about them and we don’t want to forget. Purchasing becomes the only option when you don’t have a system for storing those purchase ideas for later. Instead of making the purchase, I like to save all of the items I am considering purchasing to a list.
I have over 10 Amazon shopping list for everything from kitchen items, beauty, household, our future children, fashion, books, etc. Anything and everything I’ve seen and want to consider purchasing in the future is saved to this list. If it’s not on Amazon, I save it to a notes list on my phone. This way I remove the pressure to buy things when I see them and every time I hear a blogger recommend something, I can save it safely for later. Plus, these lists come in very handy for my birthday and Christmas when everyone wants to know what to get me as a gift.
DON’T BUY UNLESS YOU LOVE IT
If there is even a small thing I don’t like about an item or wish was different, I don’t buy it. I will search for weeks for different options until I find something that is exactly what I’m looking for. I use the 100% rule
If you are thinking, “there is no way you can 100% like everything you buy, that would take far too long to shop”, that’s the point!
For example, I am looking for some storage drawers to organize my makeup and skincare in. I searched Amazon and Pinterest and ended up with most of the same results. Stackable, acrylic drawers with these weird-looking knobs on them. I don’t 100% love the look of the knobs, so I have been searching for over a week for other options and finally stumbled on something I do like. Now, I’m not sure what layout I want, and it will probably take me several more weeks to measure all of that out to ensure my products will fit before I actually make the purchase.
The last and final step is then checking my budget to see if I have the money for the purchase. If it’s not currently in the budget, I’ll have to wait a few more months until I have the cash on hand for the purchase.
RETURN, RETURN, RETURN!
Even if it’s been several months, I put all of our receipts from purchases on a clipboard. This way I can return anything that isn’t what I expected, even if its months later. You have to learn to value the hard work it took to earn your money and be willing to make a return trip even if it’s only for $5. I have done this with a couch we purchased online as well as recliners, clothing, food items, amazon purchases, etc. Especially with furniture, I make sure there is a good return policy before ordering. Our couch wasn’t as comfortable as I was hoping for so we shipped that back after 30 days. We did the same with two recliners we purchased from Target that were starting to bow in the legs and come apart after 3 months, so we took those back too!
I’ll even return things without the receipt, if it’s just sitting and I’m not going to use it. For example, a pair of shoes I thought I liked but never ended up wearing. I couldn’t find the receipt so unfortunately only got back about 1/3 of the original purchase price, but to me, that money in my pocket was better than the shoes laying around the house unused.
There you have it! Those are the habits I have built to save money while shopping online. They help ensure I’m never impulse buying and I’m getting the best deal. Online shopping can be a whole that sucks up your money, but it doesn’t have to be. If you can put some healthy disciplines in place, your shopping habits will start to serve you and fall in line with your budget.
Thanks so much for reading this post! 🙂
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