Ahh, online shopping. It may be the best and worst thing that has ever happened to the BAUCE woman. It’s great for avoiding long lines and overcrowded sections at the mall. But online shopping also knows how to make your weekly salary disappear with one click. Websites like Amazon tempt us all, but no matter how cheap their shipping rates may be, your multiple credit card transactions are bound to add up! Here are our tips and tricks to help you snag the best online deals out there without breaking the bank.
1) Pick your shopping day accordingly.
Don’t just choose any lazy day to stay in your PJs and do your online browsing. It turns out that many websites announce their deals on specific days of the week. For all the fashionistas on a budget out there: wait for Friday to roll around, as many clothing websites announce their sales on this day and extend those coupon codes through the weekend. In addition, Tuesdays bring deals on laptops and computers, while Saturdays are great for snagging eBooks.
2) Research where you buy from.
Do your research on the websites you buy from, and try browsing on a website that will give you more for your buck! For example, Birchbox, the beauty-box curator, has an online beauty shop in which you can earn points for each dollar you spend (1 point= $1). Translation: that $20 mascara you desperately need is another $20 you can spend on a new face mask. Another example is the Gilt Groupe’s loyalty program, which gives you early access to sales, special discounts, and 5 points for each $1 spent that could be put towards shipping or other perks.
3) Track your favorite sites.
Stay on top of the sale game with some helpful resources that go beyond your fingertips. Camel Camel Camel stays on top of Amazon’s prices, so you don’t have to! Slick Deals, on the other hand, tracks merchandise from other big-name companies, including IKEA and Gamestop. For clothing, another option is Shop It To Me, which gives you on-sale options based on a specific category or piece of clothing you may be looking for. If you’ve found “the one” item, but is a tad over your budget, Shoptagr tracks individual items and sends you a notification once the item is on sale. ALL genius!
4) Get a coupon app.
The days of manually snipping coupons from catalogs are over, but that doesn’t mean we’re done with “extreme couponing” for good. For the modern age, we have voucher resources like RetailMeNot, Honey, Dealslands and SnipSnap, which both hold thousands of coupons by major retailers such as Target, trendy clothing outlets like Forever 21 and more. Both are websites, but are also available as free mobile apps, depending on your device.
5) Leave your cart.
Okay, we know this sounds bad. We know you really want the floral skirt that the website’s model is totally rocking. But hear us out: once you leave your cart for an hour or two, some retailers try and lure you back in with special deals or promotional codes that are made just for you. Boohoo, Macy’s, and JC Penney are just a few of the sites that do this.
6) Try Google.
Before you click “Place Order” for that perfect LBD, do a Google search on it and see what pops up under the tab “Shopping.” It may seem like Bloomingdale’s has a reasonable price on the item, but the same item may be 50% off on Nordstrom’s summer clearance sale. You never know!
7) Sign up for newsletters.
Get your sale information straight from the horse’s mouth, and sign up for the newsletters of some of your favorite stores. Don’t want to clutter your already-cluttered inbox? Get Unroll.me, an email add-on that helps you get rid of spam and de-clutters your inbox by sending one notification a day summarizing your subscriptions. If not, a subscription to DealNews will do just the trick — it collects the best of the web’s sales for the day and bundles them into one daily newsletter.
8) Contact customer service.
Bought something that went on sale the next day? We feel your pain. However, some companies will refund you the price difference if you contact them within a certain amount of days. Get a customer service phone number or email, and start up the sweet talk!