Before you start punching in your credit card digits, here are some helpful tips to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your money.
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#1 Clear your cookies often
We don’t mean the ones in the pantry! Cookies are a way for a site to track your usage, and that can play a part in determining the price that you fork out for an item or service. The more times a site logs you visiting an item, the higher the likelihood of a price increment.
Before you click on the check out button, it helps that you clear your browser history data and cookies, or shop in an incognito window.
Amazon shoppers often rely on a tool like camelcamelcamel.com to research price histories before determining the best time to shop.
#2 Compare the prices first
Make Google your best friend, and check on an item’s price before you puchase it. Often times, an item you see on a site you frequently use is already stocked on competing sites. Sometimes, you get even better discounts or free shipping on other sites, saving you a few dollars on your bill!
#3 Spend time looking for promotion codes
Coupons are key to saving money and nearly ubiquitous on the Internet. The key is to find reliable deals that offer actual savings.
Sites like Coupon Sherpa have thousands of promocodes to popular e-retailers to help you save 10 to over 60% on your order.
Sometimes, e-retailers make it hard to find where the promo code should be applied, so take your time and seek out the little coupon code box before checking out.
#4 Combine your discounts for even bigger savings
Some stores allow you to use more than one coupon code per order, meaning you can receive a discount plus free shipping for retailers including Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret.
Stack these deals wisely to receive the most savings. For example, if you have a code for 20% off and another code for $10 off, apply the 20% off and another code for $10 off, apply the 20% off first so you can reduce your total before applying the $10 code.
#5 Request price adjustments
Some e-retailers offer price adjustments if something you purchaed drops in price within a certain time period.
Amazon, for example, issues price adjustments within seven days of purchase. If tracking prices of everything you purchase online sounds like too much trouble, try looking for a service that does it for you.
#6 Understand the returns and exchange policy
We all know the exasperating feeling you get when you buy a pair of jeans and they don’t fit the way you expect it to. By the time you get the site to pick them up in exchange for a new pair, you’d have spent so much time and effort coordinating it, that you probably wonder if you should just put it on Carousell.
Shopping online is convenient up until you have to return something that didn’t work out. Paying return shipping fees or restocking fees can quickly cancel out the convenience of shopping online.
After all, who wants to pay $8 to $12 for the pleasure of trying on a pair of shoes or blazer that didn’t fit? Researching the retailer’s return policy ahead of time can save a lot of headache
#7 Abandon your cart
Hear us out on this one: but if you’re willing to run the risk, try abandoning your cart for a few days before you go back to shop.
Some retailers are using a multitude of tactics to encourage shoppers to finish their transactions. The most popular strategy is to email users and remind them of their shopping carts, and incentivize them with a discount of 10 to 25% off. If you’re unsure about an online purchase, leave the website and you might just be rewarded with a follow-up coupon a few days later.
#8 Sign up for newsletters
To learn about the latest sales and gain access to exclusive coupons, sign up for e-retailers newsletters. In some cases, stores send new subscribers coupon codes for immediate use.
To avoid cluttering up your personal inbox with promotional messages, create a separate email account specifically for retail newsletters. This gives you more control of when you these messages since constantly seeing new items and sales can drive you to buy even when you weren’t planning to shop!
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#9 Try it in-store first
If the brand has a store in Singapore (say, that gorgeous shoe you’re eyeing for your big day), head to the store and give the items you want a go.
Once you’ve figured out if something looks good on you, take note of the item’s size, colour and (if possible) reference number, so you can head home and make use of all these tips to save you some money and hassle.
You need to commit to not buying it in the store. It’s hard but with some resilience, you’ll see more money saved!
#10 Earn cash back
Saving money while shopping online is great, but you can also earn cashbacks to offset your purchases. Shopping through a cash-back portal while using coupon codes is a great way to score even deeper discounts with very little effort.
Text: Andrea Woroch/The NewSavvy, additional reporting Aaron Kok
A version of this article appeared on The Singapore Women’s Weekly.