Online shopping provides you with the ease of shopping from your own home at any time of the day from multiple stores. Companies make it easy to buy from them, but it is also easy to get carried away and overspend when shopping online. Impulsive online purchases often lead to overspending and debt. In fact, 58% of compulsive shoppers are in debt. Excessive debt will reduce your credit score and may even lead to legal problems if you can’t make your payments. The savvy online shopper will save money by shopping online rather than making too many impulse purchases.
How online shopping impacts your financial health
When you shop online, it is tempting to make purchases that you don’t need. The marketing is directly targeted to you based on your keyword searches. Companies identify what you need based on the keywords you use. Their marketers make the purchase sound like it is necessary to solve your problems. Once you make a purchase, you are often marketed a related product or a corresponding item known as an upsell. You may end up buying more than you planned because the upsell sounded like such a great deal.
Even when you make the decision to leave a website without making a purchase, you aren’t necessarily in the clear. The companies are now engaging in retargeting. They tap into your desire for the product and try to identify the reason that you may have left the website without making a purchase. The company will create an offer that you can’t refuse and often consumers get caught up in making another online purchase.
Tips for saving while shopping online
Some shoppers protect their financial health by staying within their spending limit and only making purchases that they need and can afford. The following are tips that can save you money while shopping online.
The advertisement that is being shown to you on social media sounds great, but it is possible that there is a better deal out there. Do a quick Google search using the product name and discover if you will be paying the lowest price or if there is a better product out there.
Use promo codes
A promo code is a code that often will get you a discount at online stores. Promo codes are easy to find by simply searching for the company or product name + promo code. They often save you a percentage of the purchase price usually from 10% to 40%.
Check shipping costs
Shipping costs can be quite high depending on where the product is being shipped and the weight of the product. Some companies encourage you to spend more by offering free shipping. Before making a purchase find out how much you will be paying in shipping. Sometimes you may save money by ordering a slightly more expensive product from another company because they have free shipping.
There are points programs that help you earn cash back. MyPoints is a website that allows you to earn points that can be redeemed for cash back. Members may earn up to 40% back from participating retailers. The points can be exchanged for gift cards or transferred to your PayPal account.
You can get cash back from your favorite retailers when you sign up for cashback programs through Rakuten. First, you must sign up through Rakuten and then watch for pop-up alerts that let you know when the store is offering cashback. After your purchase, your cashback will be added to your account. Rakuten pays customers on a quarterly basis through check or PayPal.
Combine cashback programs with Ibotta
Ibotta is an app that rewards you when you make purchases online and in grocery stores. They offer a variety of savings from 10 cents on grocery items all the way to $15 off gift card purchases. The savings come from over 300 retail partners, so there is probably a brand that you like.
Monitor your spending
Use an app to track your spending. Thinkflow allows users to analyze their spending patterns and provides them with alerts and tips to maintain good spending habits. The app has tools that allow you to visualize your finances and see what you are spending your money on.
Shopping online is a convenience that is here to stay, but it doesn’t have to ruin your finances. When you approach online shopping with a strategy and a spending plan, you may find that it saves you money by avoiding the impulse purchases that you have in brick-and-mortar retail stores.