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How to Save Money Shopping Online [Especially in 2020]

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Online shopping is always cheaper than shopping in-store, right?

Well, yes and no. 

The fact is: 

Some things, sometimes, under certain circumstances are going to save you money, while the others will not. 

But of all times, now is the time to buy online!

With that in mind: 

Let’s see how to save money shopping online, starting with a few revealing stats and facts:

  • Abandoning your cart will get you the best discounts.
  • The average household saves $1150 by doing their shopping online.
  • 12% of shoppers will buy online if the store is a mile away. 
  • The best online deals can be found Wednesday to Friday and around holidays.
  • The order in which you enter coupon codes matters.

Does shopping online save you money?

(Washington Post, Medium)

The National Bureau of Economic Research compared the number of transactions made online and those made in brick-and-mortar stores in 2017

And here’s the scoop:

The average household saves $1150 by doing their shopping online. Click To Tweet

This is huge!

You might be surprised to find out that one of the reasons online shopping saves you money is not related to prices themselves. 

Rather, it has to do with our impulses. 

Let’s face it:

It’s a lot easier to keep to your shopping list when you’re browsing the store from the comfort of your living room than it is whey you’re exposed to rows upon rows of delicious chocolate (or anything else delicious, for that matter). 

woman shopping

So, you’re a lot less likely to grab something and throw it in your basket on a whim. And while the prices might be the same, this will save you a significant amount over time.

Let’s not forget the cost of gas and parking you’re saving by not driving to the store. And this time, we aren’t focusing on the convenience or the time-saving aspects. 

Here’s the deal:

If the distance to a physical store is a mile, 12% of shoppers will buy online. But if it’s 50 miles away, the figure jumps to 50%. Click To Tweet

What’s more:

Buying online, it’s much easier to compare and choose better prices between products of the same category in one store, or the same product in different stores. Again, this will save you money for gas, parking, and time.

One of the first things that come to mind when considering how to save money shopping is buying in bulk. 

Not only is it far less hassle online: 

Sometimes, buying in bulk comes with better deals. Make sure you calculate the prices of small compared to the large package to avoid hidden costs. 

Is online shopping cheaper than instore?

(Market Watch, Washington Post)

Sometimes, even if the price is lower than in a brick-and-mortar store, we forget to take into account hidden fees and costs such as delivery and shipping. 

Now:

That’s what makes 88% of online shoppers say free shipping will nudge them into ordering the goods online instead of visiting the store. 

But this is a double-edged sword when it comes to a chance to save money shopping.

Here’s why:

Two things might happen and often are happening: 

For one, you’ll simply add things to the cart to avoid shipping costs. Ultimately you ended up buying something you didn’t need to begin with.

For another, the prices you get when offered free shipping are often constructed so that the shipping is in fact covered. So, unless you’ve compared prices, you might not be saving much at all. 

Ouch!

Should you decide to remove something from your cart, you’ll be followed by emails and promotions that will urge you to come back and finish the process. 

And often, you will. As we all do.

But don’t let that put you off online shopping!

What is the best way to shop online?

(PC Mag, Money Advice Service)

The best way to shop online is, without a doubt, to shop safely. While you focus on prices, deals, coupons, promo codes, and discounts, you should never neglect safety.

Our best advice:

Always research the retailer if you’re not shopping from a well-known and tested online store. Check to see if they’re legitimate and that their website is secure.

When it comes to security:

Don’t buy things from websites that don’t have SSL encryption. 

These websites URLs start with HTTPS and not just HTTP. You’ll also see a locked padlock icon to the left of the URL.

What’s more:

Never give your social security number or your birthday. In fact, the fewer personal details you provide, the better. Click To Tweet

Pay using a credit card or paying services such as PayPal to avoid scams that would use your debit card. Paying with your phone instead of the card is proving to be a safer method even in physical stores.

A few more tips:

Never public WiFi, and always update your virus and malware software. 

A PC Mag survey reports 48% of respondents didn’t use a VPN connection, while only 28% even knew they are supposed to. 

These numbers leave a door open to fraud, especially given the fact that 35% of respondents said they never changed their passwords, while 27% said they did so a couple of times a year.

Finally, get familiar with the return policies of the retailer and the rights you have.

How can I get discount online shopping?

(Lifehack, TechPrevue)

A tool everyone should use when looking for the best deals online is a shopping app. They might differ depending on the purpose, so you might end up using more than one. 

That being said:

Some will help you compare the prices, while others will track discounts and keep you up to speed with the changes in the market.

Not all shopping sites are created equal:

Find the ones that give the best discounts, go through the customer reviews to see the experiences of others, and recognize a site that offers the best deals.

The time you choose to do your shopping might save or cause you to lose money as well. If you pay attention, you might spot which days have better offers or special promo deals. 

When looking for a bargain, try to avoid the days most people do their weekly shopping. 

Sunday, when everyone is at home thinking this is a good time to stock up for the next week or just relax doing some online shopping, is definitely the wrong choice. 

The best offers and deals happen from Wednesday to Friday.

What is the best way to save money when I shop online?

(Mint, Every Dollar, 1Life)

Coupons are one of the best ways to save money online, coupon statistics confirm.

Additionally, rebate sites will have cashback offers on things you buy from their websites. Some of them will send you daily emails with new offers to help you stay updated on the latest deals available.

Warehouse club sites can also prove to be a great source of savings if you’re ready to buy in bulk.

Next:

Some stores will make special online-only deals offered through newsletters and promotion sheets.

Last but certainly not least:

Loyalty programs are another way of saving money by collecting points.

How do I get promo codes?

(Forbes, TechPervue)

You can find discounts through coupons even if you don’t have the coupon code. You can browse coupons by using the search bar to look for the latest or popular coupons. 

Flicking through the most popular shops can help you find the best offers from your preferred stores. Some coupon sites will have exclusive deals for their members.

For instance:

There are options like Kirkland’s spin to win app where you can get a new coupon every day.

Sometimes, calling customer service will grant you an extension on an expired coupon. 

If you had the code but didn’t use it in time only to realize you now do need the item, calling the company will probably end up with you getting the discount anyway.

What are the best online shopping hacks?

(Forbes, Lifehack)

As we mentioned above, when it comes to how to save money online shopping, we can’t overlook coupons. 

There are sneaky ways to make money by using one simple strategy. 

You can line up your coupons for multiple discounts at once by following the tried and tested strategic approach: 

First, you enter the one offering a bigger percentage discount first. 

Then, you enter the one with the lesser amount. 

Finally, it’s time for the one with the specified amount of money on it. 

If a merchant allows multiple coupons, the order in which you enter the codes will play a part in how much money you save.

Here’s another tip:

Abandoning your shopping cart might be the quickest and easiest way to save money online shopping and get the best discount on an item, even if it wasn’t a part of a special offer beforehand. 

Retailers will often send emails, reminding you to finalize your purchase. And that often comes with an offer that has the initial price reduced. Sometimes, the email will contain coupons and promo codes as well.

This is important:

Be aware of the use of dynamic pricing, the practice of tailoring prices according to the market, region, and the customer based on someones sending patterns and needs.

One of the best shopping tips to save money is setting your browser to incognito mode, deleting cookies, and logging out of your accounts. Doing so might show you a different price reality altogether. 

You can even log out of your social media account and choose a country with a smaller and less developed market, and see what happens.

Cheeky!

how to save money shopping online

How can I get a discount on anything?

(Business Insider, Forbes, 1 Life)

Abandoning your shopping cart hack is the best way to get a discount on anything. If this is your first visit to that particular marketer, you’re virtually guaranteed to get a follow-up email.

Next:

Waiting for the right moment during the season is another way to save money shopping online and get almost anything you need at a lower price. 

Much like the good shopping days during a week we mentioned earlier, there are good shopping weeks, months, and special days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If you have the patience, check for price drop refunds. In case the prices have dropped a couple of days after your purchase, some shops will offer you a refund. Your credit card company might also provide this option.

One way to go around the minimum delivery amount is by buying in bulk, then sharing the products and the cost with extended family or friends.

How can I save money from shopping?

(Consumer Affairs, The Balance, Money Crashers, TechPervue)

Online shops follow the same calendar as the regular ones and the sales, and discounts are quite similar. You can expect holiday promotions and winter sales. 

Early spring sales sometimes come with up to incredible 75% discounts for winter clothes and equipment.

The famous Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend is an excellent time for those purchases you’ve been sitting on for a while. 

black friday offer

When asking yourself how to save money shopping online, making a detailed plan of what you buy in a month can help you save a lot. It also gives you a good insight into what you truly need and where you can cut back on spending.

Paying through card offers and getting points might be your credit card company’s way of rewarding you.

Last but not least:

Once you’ve established yourself as a loyal customer, you can benefit simply by following your preferred companies on social media.

The Bottom Line

Once you’ve been bitten by the bug and started chasing a good deal and going through email offers and coupons and dedicating some time to learn how to save money while shopping, you’re guaranteed to save loads of money.

Who knows? You might even be able to afford a road trip or a vacation in the Carribbean. 

The thing is:

How to save money shopping online is something all need to learn, even if our online purchases are mainly motivated by convenience and time-saving. 

At the end of the day: 

Plenty of large and small businesses are going out of their way to offer consumers vouchers, coupons, and holiday offers.

So, which strategy are you going to try first?

Sources: