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Online shopping is often cheaper than going to the store in-person. Yet if you’re buying products just because they’re available online, you’re missing out on a lot savings. We’ve put together a list of 19 practical hacks to help you save a couple of hundred on your next shopping trip.
1. Use the Honey Web Plugin
The Honey web plugin is a Google Chrome extension. When installed, it will automatically apply any coupon codes currently active in the store upon checkout. Instead of having to hunt through various coupon codes and discount platforms, this extension does it for you.
Honey uses an online database to source its discount codes such as Groupon or TopCashback. The best part about it is its Amazon detection process. Amazon regularly has multiple sellers offering the same item.
Instead of having to check through multiple sellers for the same product, Honey will do it for you automatically and get you the best price.
2. Use Cash Back Portals
Online shopping portals are online websites that give you cash back each time you shop at one of their partnered retailers. Each time you click on one of their links to a store of your choosing, they earn a commission on whatever you purchase.
Instead of keeping all of this affiliate money to themselves, they give it back to you in the form of cash back. More than likely the store of your choosing is going to be listed on one of these portals since they’re usually partnered with over a thousand, different online retailers.
Here’s a quick example of how this works with one of our favorite online shopping portals.
- Register for a free TopCashback portal account. You also get a free $10 bonus just for signing-up as a new user.
- Using their search system, type in the store of your choosing. As you can see, all purchases at WalMart (with a few exceptions) will earn you 4% cash back. Keep in mind that these rates may change at any time.
- Click on the “Get Cashback” button to be redirected to the Walmart website. TopCashback will automatically keep track of what you purchase along with the total purchase price.
- Wait up to 10 days to receive cash back in your account, yet usually this only takes up to 48 hours.
- Once you reach a minimum of $10 in your portal account, you can cash out to PayPal or for gift cards. If you’re looking for another portal to compare cash back rates, we also highly recommend using BeFrugal. They also give you a $10 sign-up bonus.
Still confused about how portals work? It can be quite difficult to wrap your head around. If this is the case, we suggest checking out our full portal guide.
3. Shopami App
Regular couponers will have an email inbox filled with different promotion codes and discounts. Yet keeping these organized can be a hassle. The Shopami app will help you to keep all your discount codes organized through synchronizing directly with your email inbox.
You can organize them by brand and get the app to send you notifications when codes are about to expire. Whenever you shop at one of your favorite stores, you can look at all the valid codes for that store at a glance. If you’re subscribed to a range of stores, this will definitely help you keep track of it all.
4. Amazon Lightning Deals
Amazon Lightning Deals is an initiative launched by Amazon to provide major discounts on certain products and certain categories. They’re available on the main Amazon website and on their sub-division websites such as Amazon Warehouse.
What you must remember is that the number of people who can claim these deals are limited. If too many people claim the deals, you might end up joining their waiting list.
Once you join the waiting list you’ll have to rely on another customer dropping out of the deal. Otherwise the deal only ends when all the codes have been used or when it expires. Amazon Lightning Deals may only last for a few hours at a time and are more regular during the holiday season.
If you’re interested in other ways to save on specifically on Amazon, we suggest checking out 40 practical Amazon hacks and tricks to save you money.
Paribus is a company that has existed for less than two years. It’s a startup that’s disrupting the industry of making savings on purchases. By using a simple rebate system, they help you find cheaper prices at different stores on purchases that you’ve already made.
For example, let’s say you make a purchase at Walmart for $50 only to find out that there’s a better price at Target for only $45. Paribus will find out this difference for you, and they’ll automatically contact Walmart in order to get the difference for you with their price matching program.
Of course, this doesn’t come without a cost. They do take a small commission on any savings that they find for you, but without them you wouldn’t have these savings in the first place. Feel free to check out our full Paribus guide.
6. Google Shopping
The Google Shopping feature of the search engine looks through the search results for online products. Simply rank the price from ‘low to high’ and you’ll get the most affordable price. Google Shopping is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of company guarantees regarding price matching.
You can even use this in offline stores. Type in your preferred product on Google Shopping and find your product. Compare the lowest price and if it’s lower you can claim money back using the store’s price matching guarantee.
Some shoppers have even gone through this process while standing in a store and gained discounts because of it. This is especially useful for big ticket items.
7. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
There are multiple gift card vendors across the web that sell gift cards to popular retailers at an extreme discount. The most popular ones are Cardpool and Raise. For example, right now on Raise you can find Toys R’ Us gift cards for 8% off.
Use this in conjunction with the portals mentioned above to increase your savings even further. While you can buy both physical and digital gift cards, we highly recommend the digital ones. This is because you avoid the risk of getting the card stolen, and it arrives as soon as 24 hours to your inbox.
8. Put Items In Your Shopping Cart And Wait
In the retail industry, shopping cart abandonment rates are significant. One of the ways stores attempt to cut down on the number of abandoned carts is by sending out messages to users that their order is still waiting for them. It’s hoped that they simply forgot and the reminder will encourage them to complete the order.
You can benefit from this by waiting for a discount. When you want to make an online purchase, fill up your cart and leave the website. If you’ve given the retailer your email address, you’ll receive a reminder a few days later about your purchase, if not sooner. Many retailers will also throw in a one-time discount to get you to complete the order.
These special deals can quickly add up.
9. Start Talking to Customer Service Reps
It’s common for stores to provide a live chat feature in the bottom-right of the website. This window will pop up with a standard default message asking you whether you need any help. Most shoppers will ignore this and dismiss the box. Next time this happens be prepared to say yes.
This will launch the live chat feature and you’ll be speaking to a human. A little-known secret is to ask them about special discounts and promotions. They may tell you about existing promotions, but it’s common for you to receive discounts specifically for your purchase.
If you say you’re a new customer shopping with them for the first time, this also increases the chances of receiving an offer that will save you a ton of cash on something you were already planning to purchase.
10. Deal Squad from RetailMeNot
The Deal Squad platform from RetailMeNot is a brand-new beta service. They claim that on average you can save 20% on common products in categories like clothing, electronics, and toys. It’s a different way to source deals through using sourcing technology and human agents.
It works through using the community. Ordinary users of Deal Squad submit offers they come across and is partly driven by the community and partly driven by the in-house team. Using Deal Squad will enable you to find the best deals wherever they happen to be online.
11. Shop On The Right Day
Online retailers will typically release most of their offers on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Most short-term offers throughout the middle of the week because this is when sales start to flag. Many regular shoppers will naturally shop when they have time on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Shopping on the right day can give you access to the short-term deals that give you even greater sales. Make sure you shop on down days and you’ll find bigger savings on big ticket items and even things like flights.
12. Be Aware Of The Way You Combine Promotional Codes
Most stores will allow you to combine multiple discount codes together at the checkout. If they don’t specify dollar amounts, (as most don’t) you need to apply them strategically.
For example, let’s say you have a 10% discount and a 5% discount. You should always apply the 10% discount first and the 5% discount second. If you’re buying a product worth $100 and you apply the 5% discount first the 10% discount will only be applied to the remaining $95, not the $100.
13. Keep Your Big Purchases To The Sales
This is the simplest strategy you can employ. Online Black Friday sales will give you incredible discounts, but those only count as savings if you were going to buy the items in the first place.
Avoid the temptation to shop whenever you please and limit your big online shopping sprees to the big sales.
14. Subscribe to Amazon For Repeated Purchases
The Amazon Subscribe and Save program is a method to help people make regular purchases faster and give you discounts for repeated purchases. When you subscribe to a particular product and agree to purchase it once every so often (typically once every couple of months), you get a 5% discount.
You can increase this amount to 15% on these items when you have 5 or more items in Subscribe and Save. If you want
15. Follow Your Favorite Brands on Social Media
Brands often put up special deals on their social media pages. Regular online shoppers should follow their favorite stores on social media, as it’s common for them to post exclusive giveaways and discount codes just to their social media followers.
It’s also worth following them on multiple channels. Sometimes a brand will post exclusive promotional codes on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
16. Shop Strategically to Avoid Shipping Fees
Stores like Amazon have practically eliminated shipping fees on products if they stock the product in their warehouse. Most other stores still charge a shipping fee, which can add a large amount to your final bill. One way to get around this is to order a minimum amount.
You shouldn’t buy things just to avoid the shipping fees, but you should try to shop in bulk. Buying multiple items at the same time can eliminate any shipping fees you would have paid. Try to shop with the long-term view in mind.
17. Join A Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs come with big benefits. They can come in several methods, such as discount codes and promotional codes. Sometimes you may be entitled to free shipping or access to exclusive products. Joining loyalty programs will reward you with points with every purchase you make.
Implement the above strategies with a loyalty program and can you amplify the savings you make many times over in the long-term. All major loyalty programs are completely free to join and you can get started earning points immediately.
18. Wait Before You Buy
Promotional codes and discounts aren’t always there when you want them. There’s no point using discount codes on products you were never going to buy in the first place. On major products, you will regularly see discount codes. Sometimes it helps to wait a few weeks to see if prices go down.
19. Work Around the Dynamic Pricing System
Did you know that if you shop online you’ll get different prices depending on where you are in the world? One day you might spot a flight with 40% off. The next day it’s only 10% off. That’s how dynamic pricing works. It uses your personal profile to find your price point and then squeeze as much out of you as possible.
Dynamic pricing is easy to get around, though. Clear out your browser’s cache and delete your cookies. Logout of your various email and social media accounts when searching. If you’re clever enough, you might want to even change your IP using a VPN such as ExpressVPN.
The way to avoid dynamic pricing is to browse anonymously. That stops merchants from using dynamic pricing against you.
The trick to making the most of online promotional codes is to implement the above strategies together. Planning your shopping trips in advance will ensure you can maximize your savings. If you have any tips or tricks for saving on your next online purchase, we’d love to hear about them down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!