I’ll be real with you: Online shopping is one of my favourite pastimes. I always find myself mindlessly scrolling through shopping apps, and it seems I’m constantly waiting on another delivery.
How do I validate this habit of mine? Well, I make sure to spend my money wisely. I just about cringe when I find out my friends haven’t been taking advantage of all the discounts just floating around the web. Even though it isn’t my own money that’s gone to waste, I feel frustrated knowing they could’ve saved on extra costs with the help of a few online shopping tips.
Given that most of us are always looking forward to the next X/X sale, I’ve decided to share some of the most useful hacks that can help you get more bang for your buck!
Also read: A Shopaholic’s Confession: The Emotional Stages of Online Shopping
Online shopping tips that can save you a ton of money
1. Delete your shopping apps
If you have the willpower, that is. There are times when a sale rolls around, and I feel compelled to buy something just for the sake of buying something. I think to myself, “The discounts are so great, how could I not?” News flash: You save more money by not spending at all. Something to keep in mind when you don’t actually want or need to buy anything!
But if you’re actually looking to buy something, check out the rest of my online shopping tips!
2. Make sure you have the extra money
So, you’re giving in to the temptation, huh? Well, then here’s one of many online shopping tips you can’t miss out on: Make sure you have the money for what you’re going to buy. When saying yes to monthly sales, it’s best to have all your bills and other important matters out of the way already. If you’ve got a good amount of money left over, only then can you #TreatYoSelf!
3. Evaluate whether what you plan to buy is a want or a need
Just because there’s a sale, doesn’t mean you have to buy everything you’ve prepared in your cart or your wish list. I’m sure there are some items that you don’t need right at this very moment; and there are some you don’t actually need at all.
I know that the pull of online sales and other magic words like “free shipping” can be really strong — but so are you. Put your foot down. There are some things you have to say no to! Wag marupok! After all, these sales happen pretty much every month.
4. Always claim your discount, cashback, and free shipping vouchers
While there are times that special vouchers are automatically added to your account, others require you to claim them yourself. Some are released at specific times in limited quantities — so make sure to set your alarms!
Additional tip: Some apps make it easy for you to “earn” vouchers and discounts. All you need to do is play their in-app games. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of these!
5. Observe the best days for making purchases
If you’re not shopping during an X/X sale, then you’ll want to take note of the best days to shop at a particular online store or app. More often than not, there are patterns in the way they release free shipping, cashback, and discount vouchers.
For example, one particular shopping app releases cashback vouchers every Tuesday, special e-wallet vouchers every Thursday, and free shipping vouchers whenever the clock strikes 12. Keeping these online shopping tips in mind will certainly help you spend your money more wisely!
6. Be on the lookout for the best possible prices
In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of online stores sell the very same products. My tip: Check out the “Similar Products” or “Products You Might Like” tabs! After a bit of exploring, you’re sure to find the exact same item you’re looking for — only at a much more reasonable price.
7. Always use rebate apps
This is one of the online shopping tips I share with fellow shopaholics. When it comes to shopping on sites or apps like Shopee, Zalora, or Lazada, ShopBack is my best friend. Sure, there are some purchases that will only get you ₱0.01 in cashback; but if you’re a frequent online shopper, then all these will add up to a valuable number! Now more than ever, you should know: Every peso counts.
Plus, getting cashback is like earning a little money back every time you shop. It’s like a gift to yourself, from yourself. Isn’t that neat?
Also read: 12 #Adulting Apps Every Pinoy Millennial Should Have
8. Subscribe to your fave stores’ newsletters
I know, I know — a lot of e-newsletters tend to be such a nuisance, and seem to just take up space inside your inbox. But there are stores that release special discounts for members, and even allow subscribers first dibs to their sale items. They also announce when their sales will be, giving you some time to mentally (and financially!) prepare for your next purchase.
9. Turn your notifications on
Just like e-newsletters, notifications from my shopping apps tend to irritate me. But when they allow me to stay up to date on things like flash sales? The annoying notifications are worth it! Case in point: One particular shopping app released a 30% off voucher code, which was valid for just two hours! I mean, can you imagine missing out on a steal like that?
10. Choose a trusted brand, or at the very least, a trusted store
When it comes to more ~serious~ purchases (read: health-related items, gadgets, and other expensive buys), make sure to choose a brand you, your family, or your friends actually trust. If the brand doesn’t have its own stand-alone store, then at least make it a point to select a reputable one!
For example, I used to buy my contact lenses at the mall; but since the pandemic started, I’ve chosen to buy them online. I’ve been warned that there are sites that sell fake contact lenses out there — so, I make sure to buy mine from a trustworthy online store. My takeaway: When it comes to expensive or health-related purchases, it’s better to be smart rather than thrifty. The same applies when shopping for gadgets, too.
Also read: How I Bought a Secondhand Laptop in Manila as a Tech Noob
11. Read customer reviews or ask for actual photos
We always feel cheated when our purchases arrive and they fail to meet our expectations. Before finalising any purchase, don’t skip the reviews section! This way, you’ll know if what you’re buying will actually be worth your money. If there are no reviews, then feel free to message the seller and ask for actual photos! (And if all else fails, then choose a store that allows refunds and returns.)
12. Load your e-wallets before sale day
You know how online banking gets glitchy on payday? It’s pretty much the same on X/X sale days. When 12am strikes, e-wallets and banking apps start crashing because of the large number of online shoppers withdrawing money from their accounts. This can really be a disadvantage when the item you want is only being sold in limited quantities and discounts only apply for cashless payments. (Sounds like a nightmare, if you ask me.)
To avoid any unnecessary suffering, prepare your shopping funds early. Be ready way ahead of time — the same way you would for a flight!
Also read: 8 Mobile Banking Apps Every Pinoy Should Have
Arm yourself with these shopping tips, and I guarantee you’ll save yourself a ton of money during the next X/X sale. And you know what that means, right? Extra funds for *drumroll* even more shopping! (Of course, saving would be a great option, too.) Make your purchases wisely, fellow shopaholics!