Welcome to 2020, where I evaluate whether or not I need something today or can order it off Amazon and wait 2 days for it to be delivered. Yes, online shopping has officially taken over even the most non-tech savvy individual with a whopping 90% of people saying they bought something online in the last year.
Online shopping is ubiquitous with convenience, ease, and saving time. I can sit on my couch in the comfort of my own home and order a box of paper towels to my door, without even touching my wallet. What’s not to love about that?
Of course, that’s not all that online shopping is good for.
Buying your next batch of bulk goods online can also save you money, and we’ve got some tips and tricks to help you pinch even more pennies in your life.
Here are our top 10 ways to save money online shopping…so you can afford to buy more things online of course!
1. Subscribe to newsletters
I check my email at least once an hour, usually more because I’m a millennial. Every time I open up my inbox, I have at least one new newsletter from a company trying to sell me something.
Sometimes I roll my eyes, sometimes I get excited, and sometimes I waver over the delete button without even giving it the time of day. Despite the hesitation, I always open the newsletter no matter what. Why? Because 8 times out of 10, there’s an exclusive online shopping offer inside, waiting just for me.
While the cluttered inbox can be annoying, it pays to join company newsletters. You’re often the first (and sometimes the only!) one to hear about any deals, discounts, or flash sales that are happening with the company.
Not only that, you’ll often receive a discount or bonus just for signing up for the newsletter! I’ll take the 10% off my entire purchase, thank you very much.
The best part is, there’s always the unsubscribe button if you feel like your needs just aren’t being met.
Fun fact, Moola has a super cool newsletter written by yours truly that you can sign up for. We also send out exclusive deals and discounts on things you’re actually interested in.
And we don’t spam you.
2. Follow your favorite brands on social media
Instagram is kind of like email these days – my feed definitely resembles my gmail at times.
I love company social media accounts for a few different reasons. One, they make me feel more personally connected to the brand. Two, they keep me up to date on new store openings, fun events, and the latest products. And 3, they help me save money.
Similar to newsletters, companies often use social media to give their followers access to exclusive deals and promotions. Not only that, but you’ll also be the first to hear about them, an important factor when deals are available in limited quantities.
See? It pays to be on Instagram all the time.
Plus, you can enter giveaways and contests on social media. This gives you the opportunity to get some of your favorite products for free. I know it feels like you’re never going to win but…someone has to right?
Here at Moola, we use all of our social media accounts to promote the latest flash deals because it’s an easy way to quickly reach out to the people that care most about our company.
Feel free to follow our instagram if you want to stay up to date on the latest offerings.
3. Sign up for rewards programs
I don’t have a bunch of plastic cards on my key ring anymore, but I am a member of countless online rewards programs. Get 20% off and earn points just for signing up for a free program? Sounds good to me.
Rewards programs are exactly what they sound like – programs that companies create to reward you for brand loyalty (buying things from them regularly). There are all different kinds of rewards programs out there, some better than others.
My favorite are the ones where you collect points that are then redeemable for cash. It’s a mindless cash back system that’s absolutely free.
You can usually find information on rewards programs on the company website, perhaps in the footer or as a pop-up on the page. You can create an account and sign up online, then use your account to buy things, reaping in the points along the way.
Sometimes, you get additional discounts for signing up too, just like with the newsletter.
15% off my first purchase if I join the rewards program? Sign me up!
Oh and you can store all those rewards cards in Moola too…
4. Buy with gift cards when online shopping
Gift cards make for the ultimate money saving tool because you get more for less.
Let me explain.
When you buy gift cards from places like Moola, you get deals and bonuses on the gift cards you buy. With a tap your $100 becomes $110 and you now have more money to spend on the things you want to buy.
The bigger the value, the more of a bonus or discount you get. Like this $500 Lululemon gift card that you can get for $400. That’s enough for a free pair of Lulus without having to make any sacrifices.
Buy gift cards on your phone and use them online by typing in the card information. Moola lets you copy and paste gift card numbers from the app, so no extra typing!
All buying and spending of gift cards can be done with a warm cup of tea in your hands and Netflix streaming on the television.
You can browse our website and look at what we have in stock to see if anything fits your fancy. I promise, it’s the easiest $20 you’ll ever come by.
5. Use the Honey extension
A few years ago, I discovered the life hack of googling company promo codes before making any purchases online. I was always taken to some questionable websites, full of codes that people claimed saved them tons of money.
You had about a 50/50 shot of one of them working.
It was always worth trying though, even if it did take me a few extra minutes to check all of the codes, because of the money I could potentially save online shopping.
Now, Honey does all that work for you. Here’s the ins and outs of their Google Chrome extension:
- It runs in the background oh whatever shopping site you’re on: Once you install it, it sits happily on your computer and is only activated when it detects a deal for you. You basically just set it and forget it. Smart little thing, I know.
- It scans its database for coupons and promo codes: Once it sees your making a purchase, it goes through it’s magical database and looks for all the promo codes that may be viable. More often than not, there’s at least a few possible promo codes.
- It automatically applies the best promo code to your purchase: Ready to buy? Just click the green Honey button and watch it do it’s thing. It will start running through all the promo codes it has to find you the one that’s going to save you the most money. Sometimes none of them work. Sometimes you get 50% off. It’s kind of like playing the lottery, you just never know what’s going to happen.
- Its absolutely free: Yep, no payments required on your part. Just some good old-fashioned money saving magic.
Installing the Honey chrome extension was one of the best online shopping decisions I’ve ever made.
It has simultaneously saved and encouraged me to spend a lot of money online shopping.
6. Put an item in your cart…and wait
When online shopping for supplements, I put 1 bottle of Vegan Omega 3s into my cart and got cold feet. I abandoned my cart (farewell) and went about my internet business.
The next day, I received an email in my inbox telling me that I still had items in my cart. To help me make my decision however, here was a coupon for 15% off. Well it worked, because I went and bought that bottle of Omega 3s immediately. I won because I saved on an essential product. They won because they got a purchase.
I’ve used this method with other companies thereafter with varying degrees of success. I would say you have about a 50/50 chance of getting a discount email in your inbox after abandoning your cart. Sometimes it takes a couple days, so be patient. And make sure you get far enough to enter your email address.
That’s how they know how to find you when shopping online.
7. Buy used things on Amazon
Bet you didn’t even know they sold used things on Amazon, right?
The Amazon Warehouse is pretty cool because it sells gently used, like new products, at a fraction of the price. Most of the products in the warehouse have been returned to Amazon unused but have been taken out of their original packaging. To sell it, Amazon slashes the price and offers it up to those of us who may not care whether or not someone else has sat in that papasan chair.
Not only is this great for your wallet, but it’s also great for the environment. It cuts down on the amount of unnecessary waste being produced and encourages a circular economy, even when online shopping.
8. Use cash back sites
Cash back sites always sound too good to be true to me. You just offer me cash back on my purchases and send me a check every 3 months?
Yes, that’s exactly what they do.
Cash back sites offer anywhere from 1 to a whopping 8% cash back on purchases. The cool thing is that it’s places you would be buying things from anyways, like Amazon and Shoppers Drug Mart.
Just go on to their website, make an account, and start shopping! Depending on how big of purchases you’re making, you’ll only collect a few dollars at a time. Give it a few months however, and you’ll have a nice little check coming in the mail for you.
Not bad considering you don’t have to do anything.
9. Browse incognito
This one might get a little techy, but bear with me.
When you visit a website, your web browser collects little messages called cookies. These cookies track your website activity, so sites can gather information about your online behaviour. This is super valuable to companies because it let’s them know what you’re paying attention to and therefore, what they should be paying attention to.
Avoid any of this questionable behaviour by browsing in incognito or private mode on your computer. This prevents cookies form being collected and can keep websites from collecting data and low key raiding the price on you.
Not sure how to do it? It’s different on every computer, but a quick google search of how to browse in incognito will tell you all you need to know.
10. Use a VPN to change your location
As much as I love Canada, there are things I really miss about living in America.
Number one being their sweet sales.
Get in on those exclusive south-of-the-border online shopping deals by using a Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPNS allow you to hide your country location so you can access things you wouldn’t normally be able to access. This includes American websites with exclusive American deals.
Then, have the package shipped to Canada as you otherwise would. Even with shipping, you usually save enough to make it worth it. You can also go in with friends on an order and split the cost of shipping, helping you save even more.
VPNs are relatively inexpensive (say a few bucks a month) and have a host of other security related benefits, besides just saving you money.
But…the saving money thing is pretty cool too.
Yes, you can save money while online shopping
Between buying gift cards on Moola, using incognito windows, and installing the Honey Google Chrome extension, you can be a regular tech savvy, money saving, online shopper.
Ready to get started?
See what Moola can do for you (and your wallet).
You’ll need to download Moola first though