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online shopping like a pro!

Even if the FedEx delivery person knows you by name, you might still not know all there is to know about online shopping. So, here’s 10 sneaky ways to save money and pointers that will make you a certified shopping genius.

  1. Don’t pay for shipping or returns, if you can help it. There are plenty of stores that offer free shipping and returns, with no minimum purchase such as Topshop and ASOS.

  2. Have a game plan. Before you purchase online, take the three-outfit challenge. It works like this: You have to think of a trio of ensembles you can create with the item you want to buy - using only items you already have. Chances are, if you can't do it now, you won't find a way to wear it later.

  3. Don’t ever call customer service. Yes some companies' free call numbers have speedy answer times but, plenty of others have wait times that are enough to make you drink before 9am. Instead, use live chat whenever possible. If you must call, look up the retailer on Get Human to skip the phone labyrinth completely. And, if you have a problem your customer-service representative hit the brand up on social media. Most companies snap to attention when you post your question (or bone to pick) for all to see.

  4. Take a closer look. The downside of online shopping is that we can't actually reach out and touch the fabric but the next best thing is the zoom and alternate-view options that most e-tailers have. It’s incredible how close you can get to the item!

  5. Do your research by searching for your item on Polyvore, ShopStyle, or Google Shopping, then sort by price. If a better deal or version of what you’re seeking is out there, these sources will find it in a flash.

  6. Make a filter folder. It's worth signing up for your favorite stores' newsletters to snag those coupon codes and sale alerts. But, if you don't do it right, they'll not only clog your inbox but also lure you into shopping more than you intended. Filter shopping emails into a separate folder then visit your folder once a week to peruse your own, personalised deal feed.

  7. Online shopping is so dangerously easy. Think about those purchases before you click. Go on a shopping spree where you add all of the things you've got your eye on to your cart - anything that catches your fancy. Then, let it sit for a day or two and go back to edit your selections. Try to only purchase the items you actually remember putting in the cart. Chances are that will weed out that crop top you added in a manic moment.

  8. Streamline your obsessions - Lots of sites now let you create wish lists to let you save the items you like and view all your loves in one place. Look for the "save items" link.

  9. There's money in the fine print - Always read the return policy before you buy. That way, you'll know you only have 14 days to decide whether to keep those sailor blue wedges from Topshop. Or that Boohoo only accepts returns for store credit, so go easy with the "try on at home" spree-shopping. Reading the returns policy sounds like the most boring thing on earth, but every so often, they contain some little bonuses. For example, some stores will pay for your returns if they're made in the first 15 days. Good incentive to help you make up your mind quickly.

  10. Try on tricky trends in person first - It's one thing to buy basics online. But, if a trend or silhouette is new to you, it really pays to try it on in a brick-and-mortar store and think it over before you pull the trigger online. Just trying on something similar from another store will give you a sense of whether or not the shape works on you, and it can save you the heartache of returning three different "not quites" by mail.


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