Online shopping can be your best friend and worst enemy. It lets you find things that aren't ordinarily available to you, and whether you're at work, in class, or just holed up in your room, no one needs to know you're shopping and not doing something more productive on your laptop. That being said, it's an easy way to drop a lot of cash with the click of a button, and you won't feel like you're spending what you are without physical price tags and the process of waiting in line at the cash register. Follow my tips and tricks to save money shopping online!
Learn what kind of sales your favorite stores have.
Certain websites like Nastygal and Urban Outfitters are constantly having online sales, and a good portion of their merchandise will inevitably go on sale. Try to keep an eye on your favorite items to see if they move to the sale section before snatching them up. You'll feel so much better knowing you saved the money. If you aren't looking for one specific item but generally browsing or looking for an easily-found garment, like any semi-formal dress or a bodycon skirt that you know they stock many of, go straight to the sale section to look there first instead of falling in love with a full-price dress immediately.
Keep things in your shopping basket overnight.
It might be tempting to hit "checkout" right away to know those gorgeous mules are on their way to you already, but the shopping cart is a feature meant to be used expertly. Forcing yourself to leave things sitting in a cart online at least overnight will ensure that come morning, you definitely want those shoes, even with a clear head and fresh outlook. I find that often I leave things in a shopping cart for so long I forget about them, which ultimately means I couldn't have been that crazy about them if they were so easily forgetable. If you leave your shopping cart sitting rather than jumping on a purchase, you'll end up buying fewer things, and you'll know that you really and truly wanted the things you went back to buy.
Find online discounts and promotional codes.
If you get email alerts from your favorite websites, which can be annoying but also informative, keep your eye out for promotional codes and temporary sales, which they'll always notify you of. If you have one or two shopping sites that are your go-tos, it may be worth it to be on their email list just to stay in the know of discounts. Otherwise, sites like Retail Me Not gather promo codes and temporary sales for you, so all you have to do is type in the name of the site you're shopping on, and it gives you the discount to plug in.
Be aware of student discounts, and how to use them online.
More stores than you think, from J. Crew to Topshop, provide student discounts that genuinely make a difference when you shop, especially on larger purchases or a full-out spending spree. They also vary on policies for using your discount online, but if you're a student, it's worth it to investigate. If you can't use the discount online, think about if there's any way you can get to the store in person, or if it's worth spending the extra 10 or 15 percent.
Read up on details about an item, as well as the store's return policy.
First of all, check any online shop's return policy. Some places have great policies that make it easy to return or exchange something if it's not what you wanted or the wrong size. Others give you a tiny window to return it, and if you know you'll likely miss the deadline, be careful. Because you can't see the garment in person, read up on its details to make sure the fabric is good quality (or maybe not if it's super cheap), and read up on dimensions... That long legged model might make the dress look shorter than it is. In general, keep in mind that color might not be the same in person, and certain things will never look the same on you as the model, so keep an open mind and don't sweat the details. That's what the return policy is for!
Use EBay like a true expert.
EBay is a great source for designer and discount shopping at a manageable price, but it also has its own set of rules that must be followed with caution. It's worth it to decide what you want before you think about buying anything, and you can't exactly wait overnight like you otherwise should. So read up on the ins and outs of EBay before you start; it's sometimes worth it to hit the "buy now" rather than going through a bidding war, so go on the site knowing exactly what you want and what you're ready to pay for it. Be smart about sellers you're buying from and check their ratings, especially if it's a spendier item.