With tens of thousands of people still out of work and the economy still limping toward a recovery, wise spending remains important. And with huge parts of life still happening on your screen, for many, this means saving on online shopping.
Here are some tips for saving money when shopping online.
Wait on every purchase
Online retailers purposely make it quick and easy to buy the stuff in your cart. Outsmart them by waiting between choosing your purchases and actually purchasing them. This trick serves a dual purpose: First, you may find you don’t really need or even want the item after a few days. Second, the retailer will often email a coupon for you to use for the “forgotten items” in your cart.
Outsmart dynamic pricing
Dynamic pricing is one of the most powerful tools merchants use to get online shoppers to spend more. It involves using sophisticated algorithms and tracking to show shoppers prices based on their location, browsing history and spending patterns. Retailers learn each shopper’s price point and show them products in that range.
Fortunately, you can outsmart dynamic pricing by following these tips, especially when shopping for items with a wide price range, like airline tickets.
- Clear your browsing history and cookies or shop with your browser in incognito or private mode.
- Log out of your email and social media accounts.
- Choose localized websites of international brands instead of being redirected to the U.S. site.
Time your purchases right
Believe it or not, there’s a method to the madness of online pricing. Learning how to crack the code can help you unlock substantial savings.
Sunday’s your day to score cheap airfare, with Mondays being the most expensive day to book your tickets, according to Airlines Reporting Corporation.
Bookworms are best off shopping for new titles on Saturdays, as this is when Amazon and Barnes & Noble launch most book sales.
Shopping for a new laptop or desktop computer? Major retailers, like Dell and Hewlett-Packard, distribute coupons each Tuesday.
For most other purchases, it’s best to wait until the end of the week for the best deals. According to Rather Be Shopping, most stores roll out discounts and special deals on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
You may already be in the habit of never completing a purchase without doing a quick search for coupons, but even when you have those coupons on hand, there’s a technique that will guarantee the best savings.
Always use a promo code before a discount coupon. A promo code will take a specified percentage off your entire purchase while a discount code will take off a dollar amount. For example, say you have a 15% off promo code and a $5-off coupon to use on a $100 purchase. First use the promo code to shave $15 off your purchase. Next, apply the discount to bring your total down to just $80. If you’d do it the other way, you’d save less money.
Ask for price-drop refunds
Discovering that an item you purchased yesterday has just dropped in price can be incredibly frustrating; however, some companies take the edge off by offering to refund the price difference within a specific timeframe. Amazon, for example, gives a grace period of seven days from the delivery date to claim discount refunds. You can use camelcamelcamel.com to monitor price changes on the retail giant’s website.
Use multiple emails for discounts
Many online retailers offer one-time promo codes for new customers, but you can be a new customer more than once. All you need is a different email address.
Don’t shop alone
Take advantage of the many apps, websites and browser extensions that can help you save money every time you shop online. Here are just a few you may want to try:
- PriceGrabber – Use this app to compare prices on millions of products to find the best deal.
- Rakuten – Shop your favorite retailers through this site for instant kickback cash.
- Ibotta – Shoot a photo of your receipt for rebates that will go right back into your pocket.
- Retailmenot.com – Check this site for discounts and coupons you may have missed.
Online shopping just got cheap again!
Your Turn: How do you save money when shopping online? Share your best tips with us in the comments.