Before Spring can officially call it, many of us are still stuck at home.
At home on our phones.
At home, on our phones, eying great online deals.
But before you venture out on your next online shopping spree, consider these 15 money-saving shopping hacks.
1. Start your online shopping Wednesday for the best deals and the largest selections.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are the most popular days for retailers to roll out sales and discount codes.
2. Ask for discounts directly.
The next time you see one of those little dialogue boxes asking if you would like to chat with someone at the company, don't just close it. Say hello and ask if they have any promo codes they can share with you. Often, they have access to deals that you might not find otherwise.
3. When shopping on Amazon.com, use the Amazon filler item finder to reach that all-important $35 minimum needed for free shipping if you don't have Amazon Prime.
Type in the amount needed to reach the minimum for free shipping. The filler finder will produce a list of items at or just slightly above that amount for you to choose from.
4. Use size filters to spare yourself the pain of seeing an item you love only to realize that it is not available in your size.
Great if you need something right away for a specific event and can't wait for the store to restock.
5. Stick to sites that offer free shipping both ways and buy extras.
You can buy the same piece in multiple sizes to ensure that you get an optimal fit. Yes, you will have to return the stuff you don't want to keep, but often you can return items bought online directly to the store. Often, that can be more convenient than dealing with shipping. Just make sure you read those return policies carefully before making your purchases.
6. If you're diligent about paying off your credit card bill each month, it's better to use a credit card over a debit card when shopping online.
It takes a lot less time to refund a credit card than a debit card.
The DECU Platinum Visa offers a versatile rewards program you’ll completely love. If there’s not one already in your wallet, you’re missing out.
7. Play hard to get.
If you are not sure about an item, put it in your cart and leave the site without completing the purchase. Sometimes brands will reach out to you with a special discount. Just make sure you have an account set up with them before you close out. If you start your checkout as a "guest" instead of registering, then they won't know who you are or how to get in touch with you. Also, make sure you click the "OK to contact me about sales and special offers" option when you register.
8. Sign up for rewards and insider programs wherever you shop.
The benefits vary from brand to brand and site to site, but can range from special members-only discounts to advance previews and special sales.
9. Follow your favorite brands on social media for access to special discounts not advertised elsewhere.
Often brands will roll out special deals exclusively through Twitter or Instagram.
10. Promote brands through social media to get discounts and then delete the evidence.
If a brand offers you free shipping or 10 percent off to like them on Facebook, you'd be crazy not to do it. Once you have the discount code, you can go back into your social account and delete the marketing from your feed without invalidating the discount.
11. Set alarms on your phone to remind yourself about upcoming sales.
This is particularly useful when you are shopping on flash sale sites where time and quantities are so limited.
12. Use the wait-list function when items you like are not available in your size.
If enough people express interest in a particular item, brands will often reorder it. They may even give you a heads-up when it becomes available, so you don't miss out again.
13. Shop through rewards sites like Ebates to earn points and get cash back on purchases you were planning to make anyway.
Sephora and Neiman Marcus offer 8 percent cash back on purchases made through Ebates. That's a lot.
14. Read community reviews of specific products for details.
Some sites, like Mod Cloth and Free People, allow users to review their products online and upload photos of themselves wearing the garments. All you have to do is click on the item you are interested in and scroll down.
15. Only buy final-sale items from brands you know and trust to deliver high-quality clothing in consistent sizes.
If you still end up not really liking it, you can always try reselling it on eBay or The Real Real. Just make sure you leave the tags on as people tend to pay more for secondhand items that are NWT (New With Tags).
Online shopping is awesome. It’s convenient, it’s easy, and you have access to anything your heart desires. But as we always say at DECU, online safety is the name of the game. Be aware of your surroundings; be smart about the information you share.