11 Tricks for Saving Money While Shopping Online
More people than ever are shopping online, but many of them are missing out on easy savings opportunities like free shipping, digital coupons, and price-drop refunds. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re not leaving money on the table.
1. SEARCH FOR COUPONS
Finding coupons doesn’t have to be a tedious, site-by-site search. Websites like RetailMeNot, CouponCraze and others compile thousands of coupons that are searchable by retailer.
2. USE PRICE-COMPARISON TECHNOLOGY
Even if you only do a small amount of online shopping, you should use a browser add-on like PriceBlink or Honey. These apps will automatically scan the web while you shop and offer comparison pricing on any item you’re viewing. When you’re not shopping, the apps stay hidden.
3. SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTERS
Seems obvious, but this is something a lot of shoppers avoid for fear of cluttering up their inboxes. Thankfully, email apps like Unroll.me can streamline all of your subscriptions into one daily digest. You can also create an email address solely for retail newsletters, then search within that account whenever you’re buying from a particular merchant. Companies will often send you a discount (we’ve seen up to 30 percent off) just for signing up.
4. PICK THE RIGHT DAY
Prices change throughout the week, meaning some days are better than others to buy certain goods. Tuesday afternoon is the best time of the week to buy airfare, for instance, since that’s when the airlines roll out their weekly fares. Thursday is reportedly a killer day for deals at retailers like Macy’s, PetSmart, and American Eagle. For those partial to Gap, shopping on a Tuesday could net you up to 40 percent off your online order.
5. “LIKE” YOUR TOP RETAILERS
Companies like Gap, Target, and Banana Republic often post special discounts on their Facebook pages. So make sure to give them a “like” and follow along with daily and weekly specials.
6. DON’T CHECK OUT RIGHT AWAY
A little patience can go a long way when shopping online. If you’re not in a rush to buy something (and it’s not in danger of selling out), try putting it in your cart, then walking away. You can track items over time to see if they go on sale. If you’re a registered user and stay logged into the site, you might even get a coupon to entice you to buy.
7. CHAT WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE
Customer service reps are often able to dole out special discounts and promo codes. They won’t just give these to you, though. You’ll need to play the inquisitive customer—and be nice, of course. In some instances, reps are even able to renew expired coupons.
8. LOOK FOR PRICE-DROP REFUNDS
Have you ever bought something online only to find out the price dropped the very next day? Well, some merchants will issue a price-drop refund if you contact them within a few days. Tracking apps like Camelcamelcamel will help you keep an eye on prices after buying.
9. STEER AROUND DYNAMIC PRICING
Here’s a dirty little secret of online retailing: Companies will often upsell you based on your past purchases, location, browser history and other factors—airlines and discount travel services are big perpetrators of this. To get around this data mining, clear your browser history, log out of your email and social media accounts, and switch to “incognito” mode on your browser before you shop.
10. USE COUPONS STRATEGICALLY
Some companies will let you “stack” multiple coupons for a single purchase. To save the maximum amount, make sure to use percent-off coupons before using dollars-off coupons. Use that 20 percent-off coupon, for instance, before you input the $10-off coupon so you’re taking a percentage off the full price.
11. COMPARE IN-STORE VS. ONLINE PRICES
Even with all the promo codes and digital coupons out there, online shopping isn’t always the cheapest option. If you’ve got retailers in your area, check in-store prices using apps like ShopAdvisor, or by calling up the store. You might find discounts available only on shelves—and it never hurts to get out every once in a while, right?