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Sure, shopping online is convenient. But when you know the secret ways to save, it can also be cheaper than shopping in store — no question.
Here are the best ways to make sure you save every time you shop online.
1. Sign up for Paribus and get cash back when there’s a price drop.
Paribus monitors your online purchases and helps make it easy for you to get money back from retailers by alerting you when an item you purchased goes on sale within a certain window, or is delivered late (Amazon).
Most retailers offer a 14-day (give or take) cushion where you can request a price adjustment.
You don’t have time to monitor price drops yourself, and that’s the genius of Paribus. It’s totally free and you don’t even have to think about it until Paribus notifies you of a price adjustment you need to request.
Paribus compensates us when you sign up for Paribus using the links we provided.
2. Stack coupon promo codes with a sale.
If you’ve shopped online with a promo code, you already know how good it feels to watch your shopping cart total decrease with every code you apply.
In fact, stacking a promo code (or four if you’re shopping Kohl’s!) with a sale is the surest way to save big money shopping online.
Best part? You don’t even have to find promo codes yourself because. . .
3. Download the KCL app and we will tell you about the best online coupons and sales.
When you download the KCL app, you aren’t just getting access to the best deals at your grocery store, you’ll also find out about winter clearance deals at Macy’s and Gap 50%-off sales too.
We post loads of deals from retailers like Kohl’s, Target, Gap, Old Navy, Macy’s, JCPenney and more.
You’ll easily save at least 50% by letting our team find the sales and online promo codes for you.
4. Name your own price for electronics and tech through Greentoe.
Did you know retailers aren’t allowed to advertise a sale on a product below a certain price point? But they might be willing to sell a product for lower than the advertised price.
Here’s how Greentoe works: You find a product on their website. For example, I found a stainless steel Bosch dishwasher, selling for $624.10 online.
Make an offer lower than that and Greentoe sends your offer to approved retailers for that item, and the first one to accept your offer makes the sale. The item ships directly to your door.
5. Check out online through Ebates to save at least 2%.
It’s definitely a rookie move to shop online without initiating your purchase through a cash-back shopping portal.
Ebates is a good option if you shop a lot of different retailers. They have the most stores available, and even though your percentage of savings only averages about 2%, it’s better than no savings!
6. Clear your cookies and go incognito to avoid markups on sites you shop.
Have you ever heard the term “dynamic pricing?” In theory it’s the idea that pricing is based on market ebbs and flows. For example, airline prices are based on dynamic pricing and they change frequently.
The sad secret is that retailers also use it on consumers who frequent their websites, assuming someone who buys a lot from them will buy no matter the price. Which means you could be getting punished for being a loyal customer.
But put your pitchforks down because the way to outsmart retailers at this game is to first clear your cookies and next, open an incognito window to do you your shopping.
This should make it so the retailer thinks you’re a first-time buyer and will offer you tantalizing prices.
7. Join Amazon Family to save 20% on diapers and wipes.
If you have a baby and you’re a Prime member, Amazon Family is a no-brainer for saving money shopping online.
Of course, stacking diaper coupons with a sale at a drugstore or at Target is still the way to get the best deal on diapers and wipes, but when there’s not a deal or you just want the convenience of Amazon, this is the way to go.
8. Get up to 10% cash back when you shop through Ibotta.
Ibotta isn’t just for getting $0.25 back on mustard! You can use it like a mobile shopping portal (sorta like Ebates) and get up to 10% cash back on your online purchases.
The money will arrive via PayPal, just like it does when you scan your grocery receipt with Ibotta to redeem individual offers.
9. Use Milled instead of signing up for a bazillion retailer emails.
If you hate a cluttered mailbox as much as I do, I recommend checking Milled instead of signing up for retailer-specific newsletters.
Visit Milled and choose at least 10 retailers to “follow.” Then you’ll get an email from Milled alerting you to sales and coupons for your chosen retailers.
Or if you’re in the act of shopping online, visit Milled first to see if a certain retailer offers a coupon or a deal — you can search by retailer!
10. Set up extra email addresses to collect extra coupons.
Or you can just be krazy and set up extra email addresses to sign up for certain retailers’ email newsletters in order to get extra codes to use.
For example, a couple times a year, Kohl’s sends a “mystery code” via email for 20-40% off your total purchase. If you have more than one email address, you’d get more than one code, resulting in multiple online shopping trips where you save big.
11. Abandon your online cart — sometimes you’ll get a discount!
Your mileage may vary with this one, but it never hurts to try.
Shop up to a week before you need to buy an item. Add the item to your online shopping cart and then let it sit there.
Make sure you’re signed in to the website, so they can find you via email to let you know they’re offering a discount.
Retailers like DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Bass Pro Shops, Office Max and Williams Sonoma are rumored to offer a percentage-off discount the day after you abandon your cart.
12. Use Trim to find and cancel subscriptions you don’t want anymore.
With online shopping comes the inevitable signing up for free 7-Day trials in order to get a freebie or a discount on something.
Problem is most of us forget what we’ve signed up for and that’s where Trim comes in.
Sign up for Trim (it’s free) and they’ll locate all your subscriptions and ask you what you’d like to keep and what you’d like to cancel.
Trim can also negotiate some of your bills if you’d like them to!
13. Pay with discounted gift cards and save up to 20% on top of coupons.
Gift Card Granny and Raise buy unwanted gift cards from people and sell them at a discount to you.
So you might pay $22.00 for a $25.00 Gap gift card. As far as Gap is concerned, it’s $25.00.
Savings range from 2-20%.
14. Set a Google Alert to get notified when your item goes on sale.
Google Shopping is an easy way to compare online prices, and you can set a Google Alert for a price you’d be willing to pay on an item.
Enter your item’s exact name, like “iPhone X” followed by a realistic price range so it looks like this — be sure to include quotation marks:
“iPhone X $1…$850”
Make sure to select “As-it-Happens” if you want to score a deal that might go quickly. Once you’ve got it set up, channel all the patience and wait for Google to email you about your deal.
15. Use Pricegrabber to compare prices across different websites.
Enter your item on Pricegrabber and you’ll see a list of retailers selling it, along with price points for each.
Choose the retailer and price you want and buy.
16. Check CamelCamelCamel to be sure you’re shopping Amazon at the right time.
Remember dynamic pricing? Unfortunately Amazon uses it in the same way airlines use it, resulting in prices that are constantly tweaked.
Lucky for you, CamelCamelCamel monitors Amazon pricing changes, exposing dips and spikes so you can figure out roughly what time of year is best to buy your item and what price point to aim for.
This will help you not to overspend when shopping on Amazon, and Lord knows we need all the help we can get.
17. Join store loyalty programs before you make an online purchase.
This is more of a defensive move because accumulation of store loyalty points can be very slow, but when it’s time to cash in that $9.00 at Ulta because you’ve spent enough money there, it’s worth it.
Look for loyalty programs that are free (don’t require you to sign up for a credit card) and earn at least 5% cash back.
Here’s a list to get you started on the best store loyalty programs out there.
18. Check RetailMeNot for cash-back offers with savings up to 25%.
Yes, RetailMeNot has tons of coupon promo codes you can fish for and use online. But also, looking for RetailMeNot promo codes that work can feel like trying to find a minnow in a huge murky pond.
Which is why I use the KCL app to help me find active coupon codes, and I use RetailMeNot for cash-back offers (similar to Ebates and Ibotta).
In fact, you can score the deepest cash-back savings through RetailMeNot — I’m talking up to 25% savings! Bad news is offers aren’t as frequent or plentiful as other shopping portals like Ebates.
Go with whatever cash-back shopping portal offers the best discount!
19. Sign up for store credit cards — only if you’ll save at least 5%.
Credit cards can be a very lucrative way to save if you’re trying to save money in the long run.
And if you treat your credit card like it’s cash and pay off your balance every month, you can score deep savings.
That said, only sign up for store credit cards if they’ll save you at least 5% on every purchase and if it’s a store you frequent.
For example, Amazon offers a 5% cash back credit card that might be worth looking at. Compare that to a 1% cash back credit card at a place like Nordstrom.
20. Never pay for shipping — use free in-store pickup in a pinch.
Another online shopping rookie move is paying for shipping.
Most stores offer a free shipping promo code, or a minimum purchase amount you should try to meet in order to get free shipping. (Hear me out — I’m not telling you to overspend to get free shipping. I’m saying you should plan your purchases so you make one big purchase in order to meet the minimum spend for free shipping.)
If you simply cannot get free shipping, opt for free in-store pickup since most large retailers like Walmart, Kohl’s and Target offer this perk.
21. Find out the best time of year to buy everything and stick to it!
If you want pure online shopping power, you have to know what time of year is best to buy your items.
Merchandise sales are usually based on time of year and are fairly predictable and cyclical. For example, you don’t want to wait in line at 1 a.m. on Black Friday for a killer deal on a TV if you can get the same price shopping online in February, thanks to the Super Bowl and March Madness.
And why bother buying a North Face coat in October when you can get the same one for half price in March? No need to overpay!
22. Opt for your Prime packages to be delivered late and earn a $1.00 digital reward.
It used to be a Prime Pantry credit, but it’s even better now.
Choose to forego 2-Day shipping and you can get a $1.00 Amazon digital reward to use on an Amazon Video rental or a Kindle book or more.
Your package will probably arrive within five days anyway. I always do this when I don’t need something immediately.
23. Always check Groupon before you make a purchase.
Groupon is like the Gen-Xer who swears they were cool before Millennials showed up.
And Groupon might be right because every now and then you can catch a deal that’s worth your time.
It’s certainly worth visiting the site to see if you can find that cat bed for less than Petco wants for it.