They say the high street is suffering a slow death. Consumers tend to get the blame, but the reality is we are all just working hard and trying to be savvy with our money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s sad when a high street institution that has been part of our lives goes into administration.
For example, I remember popping into the BHS store at the Trafford Centre, Manchester on its closing down day in 2016 and even the product stands were for sale! It was great to see people getting a bargain, but also a bit unsettling to think that the most stable of companies aren’t really as stable as we think they are.
The way we shop has evolved and nowadays shopping online is the way to go. I’m as guilty as the next person! I prefer to get online and find what I need than to get in the car and go from shop to shop to find it. It’s a better use of my time and allows me to get exactly what I want without distraction.
I’m not an online shopping queen, because I tend to be savvy with all my purchases, but I am an online shopping princess. Which is why I want to share with you my do’s and don’ts of shopping online to make sure that you not only get the best value for money but also save time and not get sucked in.
I do this all the time! I didn’t start doing this for any purpose other than either not having enough time to finish my shopping or to allow myself to think about whether I really do want to buy those items. Then magically I started seeing emails in my inbox reminding me that I had a shopping cart I needed to sort out. Not only was it just a nudge from the retailers but more often than not the email includes a coupon code to persuade me to wrap up my purchase. From a percentage off to free shipping, a discount offered to you is still a big win for them!
Cash Back and Discount Sites
There are so many sites offering discount codes and cashback sites for many of the big retailers and you should use them! From an old favourite like Swagbucks to new kids in town like Honey the options to making extra cash with your usual purchases are endless.
My absolute favourite right now, however, is the boom25 cashback website. I love using it and I’m not the only one! A brief look at its Trustpilot page will tell you that it has a 93% ‘excellent’ rating, which to my knowledge is pretty unparalleled!
Join the List
Another thing that retailers, especially the major ones want is to get you to join their mailing list. It’s a great way to keep the lines of communication open and the perk for you is that you’ll be rewarded in the form of discounts as well as being one of the first to know all about exclusive sales and promotions.
Avoid being bombarded by creating an email address exclusively for anything having to do with your personal finance – that being receiving online bills or even shopping discounts. I have been doing this for years now and it works perfectly for me as it’s an account I check daily and it helps me not only keep on top of my budget but also keep on top of my potential purchases.
Now, I haven’t tried this one to shop online yet, but I do this whenever I am searching for flights – go incognito! Whenever you visit a website cookies are left on your browser. Those cookies then track when you visited and a bit about your shopping habits. Which in turn let the retailer know that you have been on the site multiple times and have searched for an item. Apparently, by knowing that you are interested in an item, they can sneakily mark it up! I don’t know how true this is, but if you shop incognito you can avoid that if that is the case.
Independent retailer websites like Sello can also be very useful. It’s so convenient to have one website that then houses all the promotions and discount codes for independent retailers. Shop with Shopify merchants and never pay full price when you don’t have to.
So there you have it! My top 5 tips to make the most of online shopping. If you have any other tips to add to the list I would love for you to share them in the comments below.