I recently sat down with a friend of mine who is known for her ability to find the best deal she possibly can. Call it frugal, call it savvy, call it whatever you want… but for most of us finding a good deal is pretty central to our shopping habits. If you could find the exact same thing for $10 less, get free shipping, or 20% off I don’t know a single person who wouldn’t jump at that opportunity before they clicked ‘Purchase’.
So, Lauren and I have compiled a list of tips for online shopping to help you maximize your wallet! Also, to all the husbands and budget monitors out there.. I’m sorry AND you’re welcome.
SCAN THE WEB
Most product names are complicated, irrelevantly named as women’s names, or so generic that you will end up with a thousand entries that have nothing to do with the product you’re looking for. The trick is to copy and paste the whole name and throw that into Google. You never know what will pop up, and often can find other sites with it available and for a lower price. I was searching for Sam Edelman pumps one time and found them at 3 different department stores, 1 of which was priced lower. *remember this for a later tip
Yes, this still exists. And at more stores than you realize and it’s way easier than you think. Here’s a list of stores that we know price match if you call or show proof:
Go to Live Chat below your product and you can have the product information ready for the person and the competitive price and store. You may need to provide proof so if you have the website up that’s always great!
FRIENDS & FAMILY
Some of the bigger department stores do Friends & Family sales – most notably though is Bloomingdale’s. Bloomie’s has a F&F just about every month it feels like (don’t hold me to that, it was an exaggeration in case that wasn’t obvious). But seriously, they have this a lot. Just sign up via the Bloomingdale’s site to receive their e-mails and you’ll be notified when it happens. It’s typically 20% off of your entire purchase and often has limited exclusions (i.e. certain designers or items that it won’t apply to) and if you use the Scan The Web and Price Matching tips, you might find yourself knocking a significant chunk off of your purchase.
FREE SHIPPING & RETURNS
Sounds painfully obvious, but did you know that you could buy the same item somewhere with free shipping or just pay for it? Lauren always checks certain sites first for the product to see if she can knock the shipping off. Here’s a list of sites that we know ship for free:
On some sites, you can create a wish list of items that you want to save in your account. There’s at least one site that we know of (Shopbop) that will send you an e-mail alert when that item goes on sale.
Many sites like Bauble Bar will grant you a credit or a discount when you refer people who haven’t shopped there before. You may think that everyone has heard of your favorite online gem, but I can guarantee you that someone you know hasn’t. I had heard of Bauble Bar right when it got started and I still meet people in Chicago who are unfamiliar. It’s my favorite for affordable and cute jewelry and I’m sending people to the site or jewelry suggestions all of the time.
SALES TAX WITHOUT PHYSICAL STORE IN STATE
This one is a bit of a stretch, but if you’re buying something really expensive it’s worth looking into. If you’re purchasing something from a place that doesn’t have a physical store in that state, you won’t have to pay tax on the item.
Take this example: Valerie really wants a Balenciaga city bag. This bag is not cheap… at all ($2,050) but she just got her bonus and wants to treat herself (you go girl). Valerie lives in Chicago where they have the highest sales tax (9.25% whaaat?!). That’s $189, or 37 trips to Starbucks, or 1-2 pairs of shoes. But, the bag she wants is only carried at the Balenciaga store and no department store has that one in stock, so she has to buy it online. Guess what? There is no Balenciaga store in Chicago or in the entire state of Illinois, so when Valerie purchases the bag online she will not have to pay that extra $189.
Is your mind blown? Yea, mine too. Let’s just say I have some friends with expensive taste and accountant husbands. #workaroundthesystemandthebudget
There are a gazillion little sites out there with free shipping and partial discounts available that you can copy and paste from and add when you’re checking out. Sometimes you come up dry and sometimes they don’t work, but occasionally they do and I’ve saved up to $20 just by doing this quick check through googling before.
So there you have it! These are some of the best tips and tricks we’ve come up with after years of online shopping experience and putting our heads together. We hope you learned something new, and also remember to shop local! We love local stores and boutiques and finding a balance of both. Have a great week!
Thanks to Lauren Goddu for helping contribute to this post!