Last year, every Christmas (sorry, I know it’s only August!) 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 to 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.
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 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 five different places before I make a purchase. I then go to the cheapest websites or online deal finder and look at other factors, such as delivery times and costs and return policies.
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.
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?