Tips for saving money shopping online
Last updated 9/23/2020 at 1:13am
While these last six months have been like no other, many have had to adjust their routines and finances.
And according to a recent survey conducted by TopCashback.com, the USA’s most generous cashback site, 42% of Americans have been spending less money in the past six months.
To keep the savings strong and the momentum going, here are 10 must-know online shopping tips to save big.
1. Comparison shop. Even during popular sale times of the year like Black Friday and Prime Day, it’s always a good idea to compare prices. Before you buy an item in the first place you see it, check to see if the price is lower at another store or if the store is having a sale. Taking that extra few minutes to weigh your options can save you a few extra bucks.
2. Stack on the savings. When you’re shopping online, there are tons of savings opportunities. Be sure to look for discounted items as well as any relevant coupon codes and credit card savings that you can use. Get the most bang for your buck by using cashback credit cards, which can reward you with a percentage back for every purchase, as well as shopping through a cashback site like TopCashback.com, to earn cashback on all qualifying purchases from sites like Macy’s, adidas, Sephora and more.
3. Install money-saving tools. It happens – you make a purchase online, but forgot to input the coupon code. Save money effortlessly by downloading TopCashback.com’s Browser Extension to automatically find active promo codes and apply them to your online order.
4. Join the email list. New to an online store? Sign up for their email list or newsletter to score a discount. Typically, if you’re a first-time shopper at a store, you can likely score a small discount – along the lines of $5/$10 off or around 15% off. You may also receive offers for secret sales, birthday treats, discounts and freebies.
5. Use your computer and phone. Whether you are shopping on your laptop and/or through your cell phone, sometimes the savings can be different. Sales can occur on both the store’s website and app, but other times there are site- and app-exclusives. Keep your eyes peeled for all the saving possibilities.
6. Sign up for the store’s loyalty program. Of course, loyalty programs have their perks but make sure you know all the ways to earn the rewards. Ask yourself, “How many points do I need until the next reward?” or “if I sign into my store’s account online, will I get points?” Keep in mind that whether you open a store email or leave a review on a product, these small questions and tasks can quickly add up to points and therefore, save you more.
7. Shop at home and pick up in-store. If you’re not eligible for free shipping, see if you can order the item you want and pick it up at your local store instead. Not only will you save on shipping costs, but you will also avoid the temptation of buying more to reach the free shipping minimum.
8. Know when to buy. Don’t wait to purchase something until you need it. Instead, plan out your purchases with seasonal sales in mind to avoid paying the sticker price. Seasonal items usually get marked down around the same time every year. Summer items like outdoor furniture, for example, can be bought now during end-of-season sales, even if it means you don't get much use out of them until next year. Come fall, you’ll likely see incredible deals on outdoor tools like lawnmowers and grills, and electronics on Black Friday.
9. Leave your online cart. Before you click ‘checkout’, try to trick your shopping cart to save you some money. Sometimes the longer you wait to purchase something, the better the deal will be. So essentially, load up your shopping cart with all the items on your wish list, and then leave the site without checking out. When we leave a store’s page without making a purchase, it takes note of it. If you wait a few days or so, you may receive a “You forget something in your cart” email from that store featuring an item you browsed along with a customized discount code, too. Keep in mind that you’ll need to be signed up for a store’s email list to likely receive these messages.
10. Utilize all the online tools a retailer offers. Connecting with customer service via online chat, phone or email can be an easy way to get access to exclusive coupons and savings. So rather than dismissing the pop-up live chat service, use it to haggle for a better deal.
Rebecca Gramuglia is a consumer expert at TopCashback.com.