There's usually a love-hate relationship involved when it comes to online shopping, and even more so when it comes to saving money while shopping online. It's great not having to share racks with fast-draw, busy-handed shoppers that snap up our favorite pieces, but frustrating to order what we expect to be a maxi dress and end up receiving basically a dish cloth instead. We love not having to put a bra on to buy our starter-kit of a fall wardrobe, but we hate knowing that we've had to pay the price of a meal to get it shipped to our apartment. It's a complicated array of feelings to be sure, but even with its drawbacks, a good cruise through our favorite bookmarked stores can be a wonderful thing. But how much better would it be if online shopping could cost us less money instead of more?
Just like we're sales-conscious in stores, we're equally as wallet-strapping online — or at least that's the goal. To make sure you get the best deals and pull every trick you can before hitting "order," here are five clever tips on how to save money while shopping online and trim down that shopping cart balance.
1. See If You Can Find It Cheaper
Whether you're thinking of buying a camera for your next trip or another midi dress, do some price comparison before committing to the purchase. You'll be surprised how much money you can save by just opening another tab. All you have to do is Google the product name and see if you can buy the same item for cheaper at a different store. According to tech writer Seth Porges in an article for Forbes, "Just because you found a product for what seems like a great deal on one site doesn’t mean it isn’t going for significantly less somewhere else."
This would also work if you're just looking for a certain type of style and not a specific item. For example, say you were looking for a black sweater, and you found one at J Crew. Before biting the bullet, pull up Google Shopping and see what other stores are selling similar items. It might not be the exact same piece, but if it's similar enough it might be worth going with the cheaper alternative.
2. Abandon Your Cart
If you're not in a rush to buy a certain item, leave it in your shopping cart and give yourself a couple of days. This is great for two reasons: It'll give you some time to think about whether the purchase is actually worth it or just an impulse buy, and chances are the store in question will email you a coupon code to convince you to close the sale. According to Elna Prokopets, a writer who focuses on living life on a budget, in an article for Lifehack, "Most retailers hate unclosed deals and will try to retain you. Stores that send coupons or offer a better price on the next day include Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, JCPenney, and much more."
One thing to keep in mind though is that you need to have an account at the website and be logged in when you leave your shopping cart. The wait of two days is worth the 20 percent off.
3. Subscribe To Their Newsletter
When entering an online store you usually get prompted to join their newsletter in the first five seconds. The exchange for your email is usually sweetened with a coupon code, ranging typically between 10 to 20 percent off. If you think it's likely that you might purchase something, you have nothing to lose by signing up! They'll continue to send you coupon codes or sale alerts throughout the month, so you can save bookmark those and have them ready for the next time you're in a treat-yourself mood.
If you don't want emails cluttering your inbox, then try installing apps like Honey, which appear at checkout and automatically apply the best coupon code for you. Or go even simpler and do a quick search like "[Shop Name] Coupon 2015" to see if any promo codes pop up. It'll take you about three minutes and it can save you a tidy amount of cash.
4. Sign Up For Price Drop Alert Emails
If you're willing to let some time pass before snapping up an item, sign up for price drop email alerts to see if you can save yourself some cash. Shop It To Me, Trackif, and Price Pinx are great examples of sites and apps that will do the job for you and let you know immediately when prices drop.
5. Be Aware of Dynamic Pricing
Depending where you shop, the price you see might not be the price other customers see. This is especially true for sites where they keep track of where you're buying from and at what time. According to financial writer Erika Morphy in an article for Forbes,"In simple terms, dynamic pricing refers to the setting of prices for a good or service based on the demand for said good or service at the moment and the availability of supply," Morphy said. "It sounds like Econ 101 and essentially it is, with the added complexity of pricing becoming a moving target, changing almost in real-time depending on what is happening in the market at that moment."
How can you battle this? Try to hide. Wipe out your cookies, log out of all social media accounts on your computer, and go into incognito mode to try to hide your location. This will help wipe your history and help bring the price down, especially if you live in a major city.
Whether you want a whole new wardrobe or just a new pair of statement shoes, it never hurts to save a little money here and there.Try out one of these tips and you may enjoy online shopping even more next time you browse.
Images: Google Shopping; BCBG; Pexels (4)