Last year, every Christmas present that I bought was bought online. I did pretty well, coming in under budget for all of the things that I set out to buy. Here are a few little tips and hints I’ve picked up on getting the best out of online shopping
Before I buy most things now I check reviews, whether on the website or on blog reviews. Recently I looked at buying a Fireman Sam toy for Alex for his birthday, which looked fabulous – until I read all the reviews about it being rubbish quality. I want to hear reviews from ‘real people’ about the quality and value for money, so always do my research first.
Check for Free Installation
Depending on what you’re purchasing online, such as home appliances or furniture, you can sometimes get free installation services included with your purchase. Great companies like Bbright offer this. Free installation services instantly take away the stress of having to move a big piece of appliance yourself and go through the trouble of setting it up.
Purchase through PayPal
Having been a victim of online debit card fraud, I get a bit wary of using my card online now. Where I can, I now use PayPal. I know some places still don’t accept it, but the majority of big stores do now. You don’t have to give your credit or debit card details, and they offer a buyer protection service, which is especially useful if you use eBay. To also keep me safe I make sure that whoever I am purchasing from has a customer service phone number and address listed, in case there are problems. Only having an email address sometimes makes alarm bells ring in my head!
Don’t just go to the first place and click buy. Have a mooch around. There are some online comparison websites, which I have to admit I don’t use as much as I should. I always make sure I check at the very minimum three different places before I make a purchase.
If you live near the store, can you get it delivered there for free? If you’re buying off eBay, check where the seller is. We recently bought a new car stereo, was about to order it and pay £10 courier fees to discover he was literally two minutes drive away. A quick email and we were able to collect, saving us a tenner!
Don’t forget coupons and vouchers
This goes for ‘real life’ shopping as well. Make sure your Clubcard is linked to your Tesco account, your Advantage card to your Boots account etc. Look out for emails offering money off – I usually save them all into a separate folder in my inbox. I saved 20% on a big shop I did online at ELC recently, from using a discount code from my emails.
Take advantage of huge seasonal deals
Businesses cleverly leverage the busiest and most popular shopping times of the year to offer the best deals and bump up their sales. You should too! I usually set aside my huge purchases, like furniture and electronics, until a major sale event to score big discounts. Check out Target’s Black Friday offers to get the best savings. Some discounts are exclusive to their online storefront and are worth adding to your cart.
Use cashback sites
I’m very new to this – my dad recently introduced me to Quidco and I’m already seeing the pennies mount up! There are many cashback sites out there – Money Saving Expert has a handy guide to them, but you can get around 4 – 8% cashback on purchases.
What are your tips for getting out the best out of online shopping?
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