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9 Hacks for Savvy Online Shopping

by Nina Smith

If you have never been a fan of online shopping, you’ll have no choice but to become familiar with it fast. It’s only going to grow bigger in the future, and those who don’t understand how to shop online will have a lot of trouble coping with the new reality. Some shoppers may make mistakes that could compromise their security. Others might not know how to buy personal items like clothes online. However, there are some simple tips that everyone can use to shop safely and efficiently online. Here are some hacks for savvy online shopping.

1. Don’t Use a Regular Credit Card

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We would advise that you take all the steps necessary to protect your identity and financial information. The first one would be to not use your regular credit card. While you might think that it’s impossible to buy things online without one, think again. Services like PayPal allow you to make payments using funds from your bank account. You could make transfers directly from your account to your PayPal account.

Another alternative is to use a prepaid card. We’re not talking about gift cards here, even though they can also be a good option. Prepaid cards operate like regular credit cards in many ways, with the only difference being that you will need to deposit your own funds instead of having a credit balance. What this means is that you can only lose what’s on the card. If you get one of these with your current bank, you can transfer funds electronically from your bank account to your prepaid card. Put just enough for your desired purchase(s) and you won’t have to worry about thieves siphoning your credit card.

A third option is to have a credit card specifically for online purchases. Keep your credit limit low, so even if it’s compromised, the hackers can’t run up a huge bill without hitting a low spending ceiling. Make sure this credit card doesn’t share a password with any other cards in your wallet.

2. Know Your Measurements

When it comes to clothes shopping, don’t rely on the sizing instructions on a website. Instead, make sure that you have your measurements taken by an actual tailor. You’ll then have them on hand whenever you’re shopping online and reduce the chance that you get something that doesn’t fit.

You have to make sure, however, that you always check the size chart. You cannot rely on size when shopping online as there will be big differences between brands and items. You also have differences between countries. For instance, an XL in China is very different from one in the US, which is why it’s important that you get your hands on the size chart before you make a purchase.

3. Unlock the Power of Coupons

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One of the biggest benefits of shopping online is the sheer number of deals there are out there. Retailers are fighting for your attention, and one of the best ways to do so is to outcompete each other with all sorts of deals and coupons. So, we suggest that you find a few reliable coupon sites and look for new deals. Also, look for apps that will find and apply coupons for you instantly. You could save impressive amounts of money doing this, and it only takes a few minutes.

Join sites where people share coupon codes and deals. There are some great forums for penny-pinchers, and if you become an active member, you will be the first to hear about time-sensitive deals.

4. Use Reviews

Another very important thing to remember when buying anything online is to look at reviews first. Sites like Upgraded Reviews will review both websites and products. You need to take advantage of services like these if you want to know how a retailer treats clients or some of the limitations of a product you were thinking of buying. This will allow you to avoid getting a nasty surprise and know exactly what to expect from a product, service, or retailer.

5. Be Active on Social Media

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Follow your favorite brands on social media. This is where they’ll post about sales and other deals. Many retailers plug their promotions on social media first, and some also post discount codes for the first lucky few.

6. Sign Up for Loyalty Schemes

Retailers want your email address so they can add it to their marketing database. To sweeten the deal, they usually offer discount codes if you sign up. Take advantage of a money-off discount code on your first order and be the first to hear about flash sales. Being a member of a club has its perks, even if you do have to put up with extra emails hitting your inbox.

7. Subscribe for Repeat Purchases

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Subscriptions are an excellent way to save money on repeat purchases. Amazon has a subscription service for many products, but it’s not the only retailer to do this. If there are products you buy regularly, such as pet food, groceries, or medication, look for a retailer that offers a discounted subscription service. Not only will you save money, but you also don’t have to worry about forgetting to order vital goods!

8. Use Discount Plugins

There are some handy plugins that automatically search for discounts for anything you care to order. Honey is one, but there are others. Always check the notification for relevant codes before you go through the online checkout.

9. Shop Direct

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Buying from a third-party site like eBay or Amazon is often convenient, but it’s always sensible to check the price on the retailer’s own site. Often, retailers offer more competitive prices if you buy from them directly because they don’t have to pay commission to the third-party site for your business.

Finally, try shopping on a Monday – price data shows that retailers typically charge less on a Monday compared to other days of the week.

If you want to get the most out of your online shopping experience, follow these few tips. These will ensure that you get exactly what you were searching for, and for a good price.