I love to shop. Always have. (Shocking, I know.) Actually, I used to love to grab a coffee and leisurely stroll around the mall or my other favorite stores – Target, HomeGoods, etc.
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links, and there is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
I used to – meaning – before kids.
Now it’s quite a luxury if I get a chance to do that. I mainly shop online now in my sweatpants after the kids go to bed. And it’s more fun because you can do research!
Research the price.
Research the product.
Research other stores for cheaper knock-off versions.
I’d love to share with you a few online shopping tips and tricks I use to save money. I hope these help you guys!
One // Use Rakuten (formerly Ebates.)
Use Rakuten, or the former Ebates. In case you haven’t come across Rakutenyet, you definitely need to check it out! I’ve already made so much money back using this app and browser plugin.
If you are using the app, you have to login to it first, then go to your online store. It will also apply any current coupon codes for you. If you are using the browser plugin, all you have to do is click to activate it (it will pop up to remind you).
You receive certain percentages back of whatever you spend. It’s definitely a no brainer.
Two // Know your Stores.
If you are like me, then you generally shop at the same stores over and over again. For me, it’s generally Target, Amazon and Pottery Barn. So, I definitely researched and signed up for all the ways I can save money with each store.
For instance, Target has a cartwheel app and red card for additional savings, Amazon has prime and warehouse deals (great to check out first for discounted products) and Pottery Barn has the Key rewards program.
Every store usually offers something and it might not be super obvious from the homepage. It pays to do a little digging.
Three // Give Them Your Email Address.
Give the stores your email address (and birthdate). I know. We all hate spam and being bombarded with too many emails.
But if you want to save money, getting on a store email list will give you access to coupons, sale alerts and sometimes birthday promotions! (Thanks Anthropologie!)
What do I do to help organize all the email promotions?
I use Unroll.me. This app will organize your inbox and “roll up” all your store promotion emails for you. You can have them send you a daily summary email of all those promotions, or choose a different time frame. I periodically (or before checkout) check my summary emails to retrieve the coupon codes.
My inbox stays nice and clean this way. 🙂
Four // Negotiate.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate. I love the saying – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
I’ve scored additional coupons and free shipping (even a free pair of uggs once – long story) just by taking the time to pick up the phone and call customer service. A lot of stores now have online chat if you don’t feel like calling!
Five // Play the Waiting Game.
Put the item in your cart and leave it there for a day or two. This doesn’t work with a ton of stores, but I’ve received cart reminder emails with coupons (Target) or price drops (Amazon) just by playing the waiting game.
Keep in mind you have to be logged in for this to work.
Six // Shop Off Season.
You can save a lot of money by buying things offseason. For example – I buy Christmas decor in January. Stores are trying to get rid of inventory after the season and prices are cheaper.
I got a crazy good deal on a Balsam Hill Christmas Tree because I bought it in May. Woohoo!
You can find reputable sources online that will tell you the best time to buy things, like Consumer Reports.
Seven // Choose Local Pickup.
Pick up the item yourself to avoid shipping costs. My hubby and I have done this with certain furniture purchases where the shipping costs are astronomical. We buy the item online, utilizing all the coupon codes, and if we can’t get free shipping, we choose the local pick up to avoid the fees.
I realize this doesn’t work with every purchase (there’s no way we could fit a sofa in our car). But we bought a round dining table disassembled from Pottery Barn and saved HUNDREDS in shipping fees by picking it up ourselves. The stores will help you load it in your car and everything!
Eight // Use Discounted Gift Cards.
Raise is a discounted gift card company where you can buy gift cards for less than their full value ( you can also sell gift cards to raise too). I have to tell you I am constantly getting Raise emails with additional coupons and discounted prices for even more savings off!
If I know I want something from a particular store, I go to Raise and see if I can find a discounted gift card for it first. Gift Card Granny is another discounted gift card company and sometimes you can also find discounted coupons on eBay.
Nine // Use Google.
This is a secret ninja trick of mine! A lot of online stores out there all carry the same items, but they might name them something different and they can all be at different prices. How do you sort through it all? Reverse google image search is how.
- Save the image of the item you want to buy.
- Open up Google Images on your Computer.
- Click on the little camera and then select ‘upload an image’.
- Google will bring up all the images online of that item and you can sort through the prices and various stores that way.
Alternatively, use google shopping. If you know the exact name of the item you want to buy, just google it and go to the shopping tab under google.
You can select free shipping and then sort by price!
Ten // Find the Best Rebates and Coupon Codes.
There are a few sites out there that find coupon codes for you! RetailMeNot is a tried and true one. Honey is a somewhat new app, but you can install their browser plugin and they will automatically search for the best coupon codes while you are on the store website. I have noticed that Ratuken and Honey won’t work together so just keep that in mind!
Honey also has it’s own version of cash back, but I haven’t tried it since I’m really happy with Ratuken. But it can be a lifesaver to find those coupon codes sometimes.
Also, it pays to know where to find coupons on certain websites. Amazon is one of them! They have a special page dedicated to coupons, just google ‘Amazon Coupons.’ They also have a rebate page where you check to see if there are rebates available for items you purchased. You need to have your order number handy.
So there you have it. My top ten online shopping tricks. I hope this helps you guys save some keesh!
Happy Shopping! 🙂