Online shopping is more popular than ever. In a post-pandemic world, shoppers are going digital for everything from clothes to groceries to medications. So, how can you make sure you’re shopping smart? Here are our top 4 online shopping tips.
Stay on budget
Perhaps the hardest part of shopping online is how easy it is! It’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s great, because you can easily shop to your heart’s content, but it can be a downside when you go over budget.
Staying on budget in general can be challenging, but you can take practical steps to avoid overspending. Here are some questions to ask yourself before hitting that “Buy Now” button:
- Am I feeling emotional — sad, stressed, angry, etc.? If so, take a second to pause. Leave the item in your cart and revisit it tomorrow when you’re in a clearer state of mind. If you still feel the same way and it fits into your spending habits, then go for it.
- Is this a want or a need? There’s nothing wrong with buying things you want, but it can be helpful to distinguish between the two. That way, you can factor in the “wants” as fun purchases and the “needs” as essential budget lines.
- Will this item bring real value to my life? Sometimes, we buy things just for the sake of buying them. This mindless shopping can lead to overspending. Asking this question can help you decide whether this purchase makes sense right now. For example, if you’re investing in a nice pair of running shoes to make your workouts easier, that has clear value. If you’re buying a pair of fast-fashion heels just because they’re on sale (but you can’t see yourself wearing them anytime soon), that’s not as justifiable.
Other tips for smarter spending include general personal finance advice, like maintaining a budget and maximizing credit card rewards.
Always read the reviews
This one might seem obvious, but it’s important to remember. When it comes to online shopping, reviews are everything. Check out what others are saying, and take the time to read through at least a handful of different ones.
It’s rare for items/vendors to have perfect scores, but you can get a general feel for the quality of their products by reading reviews. In general, if it’s a rating system out of 5, an average review of 3+ stars is a good indicator of quality (4+ stars is even better).
Taking the extra time to do this step can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Don’t forget to search for promo codes
Another step that takes some extra effort but is certainly worth it is to search for promo codes! This can take you as little as seconds (if you get lucky), but it saves you big bucks over time. I never purchase anything without first looking for promo codes.
A simple Google search of [store name] + “promo codes” will work great! You might have to spend a few minutes digging around and testing codes that don’t work, but the money you save will add up over time.
Note: Some retailers, like Sephora, will actually have promo codes advertised on their own websites. This makes the whole process much easier. You simply check their promo page, find the applicable codes, and apply them to your cart. It saves you the headache of searching around online. Keep an eye out and learn which of your favourite retailers offer this!
Use a wish list
Last but not least, keeping a wish list is one of the best things you can do to simplify your online shopping experience. Especially when it comes to big purchases, most of us don’t necessarily buy on a whim. We often like to take our time, do some research, and compare several options before pulling out our credit cards.
But the thing is that keeping multiple wish lists across multiple stores can be a bit confusing. You need to log in to each site, and sometimes you can’t necessarily remember which website you were on for a specific product.
That’s where we come in. WishSlate is a super-handy app that lets you create one wish list with items from any store. The app lets you copy and paste links from any site to build your universal list. It’s clean, simple, and easy to use.
So, our favourite online shopping tip is to give us a try! The app is free to use and will revolutionize the way you shop & gift.