Welcome to my second Money-Saving Monday! Today, I’m going to give you some tips for shopping Online.
I’ll admit, before children, I didn’t do very much shopping Online. I liked to browse the shopping malls, discount stores, and of course, Target. It’s always been something I’ve liked to do, and the best part is finding a great deal. I rarely, if ever, buy anything at full price, and my favorite shopping partner is my Mom. She’s taught me all her best secrets when it comes to shopping at actual stores.
Even when my oldest was born, shopping was still a pretty major activity. We actually had a party trick right when he learned to talk. He would see a symbol, like the Bullseye, and say, “Target,” or see a star and say, “Macy’s” In fact, during his preschool Mother’s Day celebration, when the teacher read his card about what his favorite thing to do with his mommy, he said, “We like to go to stores a lot.” OK. Maybe, I took him shopping a little too much.
Anyways, once the twins were born, we had their hospital stay, then a year or so of isolation, so I learned the secrets to shopping Online. Here are some of my favorite tips for when you just want to shop from the comfort of your own home.
Ebates The first thing I do before I do any shopping Online, is go to the Ebates website. What is Ebates? It’s a free site that has a bunch of coupon codes, free shipping codes, and other discounts for almost any Online store you can imagine. It’s simple to use. First, you look up the store you want to shop. They are listed alphabetically, by category, or you can spell it out in a search. Once you find the store, you will see the percentage of cash you get back from shopping and a list of valid coupon/discount codes. You click “shop now,” and it will take you to the store’s website. When you first sign up and make a purchase, you get a $10 gift card. Bonus! Basically, it’s getting cash back on purchases you would make anyways. I look at it like an extra discount. Since I signed up, I’ve gotten close to $400 cash back. They will send you a check once a quarter or you can opt for an Online gift card to one of their partners. To sign up, just click HERE. This is my referral link, so I will get a $5 bonus if you sign up.
Email Sign-ups Another important thing to do when shopping Online, is to sign up for your favorite store’s mailing lists. You usually get a first time subscriber discount, and they email you coupon codes, give you advance notice of sales, and tell you about their latest products. If you don’t want to clog up your personal email with a ton of store emails, make another account just for your Online shopping. Right now, I get emails from the Gap, Target, Gymboree, The Children’s Place….and I could go on and on. I rarely pay for shipping, they often send codes that can be used both Online and In store with your smart phone, and I’m always the first to know when the sales are going on. It’s like being an insider!
Shipping I hate to pay shipping charges. It seems to take the fun out of shopping Online for me. I know the shipping charges are worth every penny when I think about dragging my three boys out to the mall with me, but I still don’t like it. So, what do I do? Well, it depends on the store. I have a few store-branded credit cards (The Gap and Target,) and because of that, I don’t ever have to pay for shipping. For any other store, I wait patiently. Unless it’s something I must have right away (which is rare because I plan ahead when it comes to shopping,) I wait until I get a notification of a free shipping day in my email. That’s why it’s so important to subscribe to your favorite stores! Also, a lot of stores give you free shipping when you purchase a certain amount. I don’t purchase a ton of extra stuff just to get free shipping, but if it comes down to a couple of dollars, I’d rather buy a little something extra than just pay for the shipping.
Know the Rules Before you make any purchase Online, make sure to read the store’s return policy. As I mentioned before, I rarely pay for shipping, so I certainly don’t want to pay to return an item. I always make sure the items are returnable at the physical store or that return shipping is free.
Compare Prices In the Online shopping world, there a ton of those “Deal a Day” sites. Groupon, Zulily, and Gilt are just a few that I subscribe to. In order to make sure it really is a good “deal,” I always compare it with different sites. I either Google the item or just check to see what the same item is selling for on Amazon. That way I know if I’m getting something at a discount or not. It really helps control impulse purchases when you take a minute to shop around.
I hope these tips help you save a little money when shopping Online. Do you have any tips for me? I’d love to hear them!