The season of Christmas shopping is upon us. Malls are starting their holiday hours, stores are training their seasonal employees, and shoppers are frantically hunting for the best gifts for their loved ones. Sometimes the idea of online shopping from the comfort of my bed is just more appealing than joining the masses of holiday shoppers. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you scroll through the web in search of the perfect deal.
1. Search the web for coupons before you check out.
Sites like RetailMeNot and Groupon often have promo codes and offers listed on their sites. If you don’t want to have to sift through the codes listed online, download an app like Honey, which searches the web automatically and applies discounts to your cart.
2. Sign up for the email list.
Some stores give a 10-20% discount just for signing up to receive emails. You can always unsubscribe right after!
3. Don’t purchase using public wi-fi.
Not only can the sketchy stranger next to you look over your shoulder to read your credit card number, but using a public network makes you more vulnerable to phishers looking to steal your credit card information.
4. Look into a free trial.
If you’re shopping on Amazon, for example, you might be eligible for a free Amazon Prime trial that includes 30 days of free shipping. Just be wary that the website will likely continue to bill you unless you cancel your subscription before the trial ends.
5. Check the measurements before purchasing.
This could save you the frustration of having to send back something that doesn’t fit. Just because you’re a size medium at one store, doesn’t mean you’ll be the same size at another. For example, I always check the bust measurements on dresses to avoid buying something too tight!
6. Read the reviews.
Other customers’ feedback has a lot of clout when it comes to my online shopping experiences. If many of the reviews say the material feels cheap or the color is off, you might want to steer clear of buying the garment.
7. Use credit cards or websites that offer rewards for money spent.
Sites like Swagbucks partner with big name brands to provide cash-back incentives. Similarly, some credit card companies enable you to earn cash-back bonuses on a percentage of purchases.
Being a savvy online shopper is a valuable skill. I’m not saying you should add it to your resume or anything, but knowing the right tricks can save you a lot of money, time, and energy in the long run.