Have you made the sensible decision to avoid the chaos of the shops and do your shopping online this Christmas?

Shopping online has lots of benefits. There are the obvious ones such as saving time, stress and the fight for a parking space. Plus, many websites offer incentives to shop online such as exclusive online savings and free delivery and returns.

Yet, to be a savvy online shopper, there are some simple tricks to apply to your buying to make sure you always get the best deal available.

Follow our guide with simple ways to save money with your online Christmas shopping.

DON’T SHOP WITHOUT A LIST

It’s difficult enough to stick to a Christmas budget with the hundreds of enticing deals flashing before your eyes, but it’s nearly impossible when you don’t have a shopping list. Before you fire up Amazon or your favourite online shopping website, create a shopping list and plan exactly how much you are going to spend on what. Make your shopping list way in advance of the actual shopping day to give yourself time to reconsider items on the list.

BE A COUPON QUEEN

Thrifty online shoppers are expert couponers. They don’t buy anything without first searching the internet for coupons or specials. You don’t have to go to these extremes, but a couple of vouchers (don’t forget free shipping vouchers) cuts back your total spending and gives you room to splurge on big ticket items or special gifts. Besides the retailer website, also check your favourite blogs for coupons or affiliate discounts.

INSTALL COUPON APPS

Speaking of coupons, coupon apps and browser extensions are your best friend if you want to save money on your online Christmas shopping. Here are some to try:

These apps show all the specials in your favourite stores and offer coupon codes for online and in-store shopping. They also apply the right coupons automatically at checkout. Some shops provide exclusive discounts if you use their own shopping apps, so make sure to install those too.

INSTALL CASHBACK APPS

Cashback points may not seem like a big deal if you rarely shop online, but they start to add up the more you buy. This Christmas use cashback apps to earn rewards whenever you spend money. Take a look at:

They offer points (from a few cents to $3) for buying certain things.

SIGN UP FOR STORE EMAILS

Pop-up ads asking you to sign up for emails can be annoying, but they are the secret to getting exclusive store specials before anyone else. Registered shoppers are the first to know about the store’s latest promotions, newest products and other deals. They also get tailored product recommendations. And if you’re a store regular, don’t be shy to contact customer service and ask for a discount even if nothing is on sale at the moment.

USE SHOPPING CART TRICKS

Online retailers dread the abandoned cart and will often entice shoppers to come back and complete their purchase with coupons. The trick is to add your items to the cart, close the window or sign out and wait patiently. You might get a notification that you have items waiting and a discount coupon if you’re lucky. Check your inbox frequently and wait a bit longer if you don’t see anything.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Some store deals are fixed like Black Friday, Boxing Day and pre-Christmas sales, while others are less so. Google is always a good option if you want to discover hidden discounts. Shops will often have daily deals, flash sales or deals at a specific day of each week. Check the store’s app or website frequently to get the best markdowns. Even better, create a calendar marked with sale days so you can schedule your online shopping.

PICK UP YOUR ORDERS

Shipping costs can be unpredictable especially if you live outside urban centres. Sometimes shipping can cost more than the item! If you have time, you can skip shipping costs this Christmas by shopping online and picking up your orders in store. Most retailers now offer curb side or in-store pickup that is fast and contact-free. Schedule multiple pickups in a day to save money and fuel

Belinda Eldridge
Posted by Belinda Eldridge
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