We love helping shoppers save money when they shop online. And to make sure you’re getting the very best possible deal, no matter where you’re shopping, we’re giving away our ultimate list of online shopping hacks – including many you won’t find published anywhere else.
Give these online shopping hacks a try when you are about to add that next item to your shopping cart. You never know where you could save some money, discounts can come from some of the most unexpected places.
1. Use Coupons!
The first and probably most popular way to save money is coupons. Almost all online stores have them, and in most cases, you don’t even have to look for them that hard. Large retailers often offer you a discount coupon when you visit their website, although sometimes they’re conditional, i.e. you need to spend a certain amount in order to apply the coupon.
We always recommend making a quick web search for coupons when you hit the checkout page. You’ll often find a code that has been shared by another shopper, and it’s undoubtedly one of the fastest ways to save.
Sign Up Hacks
2. Abandon Your Shopping Cart
Online stores hate it when you abandon your shopping cart, and they’ll do almost anything to get you to buy whatever you left in your cart. This often includes sending you an exclusive discount code that you won’t get in any other way, which is why abandoning your shopping cart lets you save money online shopping.
The way to do it is to add everything you need to your cart and start the checkout process. Go through with it up until the point where you need to pay. Once you’re there, close the tab – but make sure you’ve entered your contact details or signed up for an account with the store first. Give it some time, and there’s a chance you’ll find an email in your inbox with an exclusive discount if you go back and finish your purchase.
3. Create an Account or Subscribe to Their Newsletter
If it’s your first time shopping at an online store, you will probably be offered a discount code if you sign up as a customer. This is rather easy, just use your email address and set a password to create an account.
Alternatively, some stores won’t even require an account – just enter your email address when they ask you to subscribe to the newsletter, and the first email you’ll get will usually have a discount for your next order.
Many stores are willing to give you a discount in order to get you on their email marketing list, but you can always unsubscribe later to avoid a full inbox.
4. Bonus: Do It Twice
You’ve probably thought of this already, but nothing prevents you from using a different email address to get the same discount again. Just don’t overdo it – some stores will notice you’re shipping to the same address and you might get blocked.
You’ll need to make sure you’ve signed out of your first account if you created one, and you may even need to open the store’s website in Incognito or Private Browsing mode to take advantage of a store’s sign up bonus for the second time.
5. Look for Discounts and Sales on Milled and EmailTuna
Both milled.com and emailtuna.com are excellent websites that allow you to go through all the newsletters a certain store has sent to its members and subscribers, without actually entering your email address and becoming one yourself.
To add to this, it’s not just the most recent newsletter – both websites allow you to go way back, and if you have a bit of patience and a trained eye, you’ll probably be able to spot a discount within those newsletters, one that you can’t find elsewhere.
6. Expect Sales in Advance
While we’re on that note, the fact that Milled and EmailTuna let you go pretty far back in time means that you can somewhat predict when a sale id likely to happen.
For example, you can check a retailer’s winter sale and see when it happened last year – that should be a good indication of when it will happen this year too, and if you aren’t in a rush, you can save some money.
Social Media Shopping Hacks
7. Just Ask!
You would be surprised at how often this one ends up working, but it’s based on the old “If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” Whenever you find an online retailer with live chat support, just ask them whether they have any discount codes available at the moment.
We have also had stores issue us custom coupon codes, simply because we asked. It doesn’t cost you anything, will only take a few seconds, and you might end up saving quite a bit of money.
8. Check Social Media Profiles
If a store has a social media account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok, chances are they’ll use it to post any active sales or discounts.
Checking those profiles is a good way to see whether or not there is an active discount on any of the store’s products. These will probably come up in more recent posts.
9. Shop Around – Check Alternative Marketplaces
When you find a product you like, it’s not always the best idea to buy it right away from the store where you found it. Often you’ll find the same item listed on Amazon or Ebay for a cheaper price. Of course, this does require a bit of time and patience if you do it for every product you like, but in the end, you will probably save a ton of money, so it’s worth it in the long run.
Likewise, don’t believe that Amazon is always giving you the best price. You’ll often find items on sale at a lower price directly from a brand’s own online store.
10. Use A Price Alert Tool
There are a couple of nifty tools that will let you know if a product goes below a certain price. This is very useful because very often we see a product and think to ourselves, “If this was 30% cheaper, I’d buy it.” Well, with these tools, if that 30% discount arrives, you’ll get a notification or email.
Two good options to check out are the Amazon Assistant extension for Google Chrome, as well as CamelCamelCamel. Both tools will let you know if your product of choice has reached a certain price point, and you can buy it at a discount.
11. Compare Prices with Google Shopping
While Google Shopping isn’t the first tool of choice for many, it is still a great way to get the same product from various other stores or marketplaces. Google shopping compares products from thousands of stores, including many you probably wouldn’t think to check yourself.
To make things even better, you’ll see the prices pretty much instantly, so you don’t have to waste time visiting several other sites – everything is there, in one place, neatly organized. All you need to do is find the store that ships to your location and has the lowest price.
12. Use a Store’s Price Match Guarantee
Plenty of stores offer this, but not many shoppers take advantage of it. How it works is, if you can show a retailer that you can get a product cheaper elsewhere, they’ll match the cheaper price in order for you to buy it from them – and often with an additional discount! This way, they make a sale, and you get a cheaper price, so it’s a win-win situation for both.
Amazon Shopping Hacks
13. Shop the Outlet Page
Amazon’s outlet page has a lot of overstock and discounted products for you to choose from, all organized in categories. Here, you’ll find heavily discounted items that are usually new but come at cheaper prices. You can truly find anything here, including clothing, electronics, home supplies, and car accessories.
14. Shop the Coupons Page
Similar to the outlet page, the coupons page has certain items that come with a pre-applied coupon. All you have to do is find the item you like, click “Clip Coupon”, and then add the item to your cart when you’re shopping. The coupon discount will be automatically applied when you check out.
Save Money On Shipping
15. Collect Items In-Store or from a Pickup Point
If you have a bit of time, why not collect your items from the store, even though you’ve ordered them online? By being your own delivery driver you’ll save on shipping costs.
Many stores also offer discounted shipping when you drive the last mile of the delivery your self. Check for discounted “Pickup Point” shipping at the checkout, and as well as saving some money you’ll often get your purchases faster than if you’d had them delivered all the way to your front door.
16. Check the Free Shipping Thresholds
Many online retailers will offer free shipping, or free express shipping if you spend a certain amount of money. Of course, the amount varies by retailer, and there are a few other factors to consider, such as your location or the products’ weight and size.
However, it’s worth checking out the shipping details page for the retailer you’re buying from, as that should give you an idea of how much you should spend. To add to this, some retailers have a “Spend X amount more to get free shipping”, so you have your math done for you and you know how much more to spend.
17. Don’t Always Fall for Free Shipping
Free shipping is a nice thing, but it’s not always free, per se. Often you’ll find that a store that advertises free shipping marks up prices for their products in order to make up for the shipping fee. This way, you’re paying the same amount, if not more, but you’ll think that you’ve gotten free shipping and saved money.
Instead, if the shipping is the deciding factor between you purchasing your items from one store or another, go through the checkout to the shipping page and check the total price at both stores. This way, you’ll know if you’re really getting free shipping, or if you’re paying more than you should be.
Credit Card Savings Hacks
18. Use a Store Credit Card
Some online retailers offer their own, branded credit cards. In some cases it’s a card you can use only at their store, in others, it’s a regular credit card that gets you rewards and discounts when you use it at a specific store. In any case, if you shop with certain retailers often, it’s worth considering.
19. Use Cashback on Your Credit Card
You’ll need to check with your credit card company, but some will give you cashback on your purchases. Whether it’s from a specific retailer or when online shopping in general, it’s good to have an idea of how much you could save.
20. Check Credit Card Offers
Similar to cashback, some credit card companies will offer you discounts at certain retailers. Of course, this is at your credit card company’s discretion, but these are usually hefty discounts that are limited to that company’s customers. It’s definitely worth checking whether or not your credit card company offers anything like this, and using it if it does.
21. Use Credit Card Insurances and Warranties
This is not technically a money-saving method, but some credit card providers will offer you bonuses on purchases. For example, you could get free (or discounted) insurance on electronics you pay for with your credit card. If something happens to them, you’ll be saving quite a bit in repairs. This also sometimes applies to things like extended warranties on products, phone screen insurance, and travel insurance when you buy plane tickets using your credit card.
22. Use a Credit Card’s Price Drop Protection
A price drop protection is something a lot of retailers started offering recently, but something we also see credit card companies offering too. It’s essentially a price guarantee, and it works similarly to price matching. However, instead of comparing the price with a different retailer, you should be keeping an eye on the price of the product on the retailer’s website.
What the credit card companies do is give you a time limit, whether it’s a week, or a month, or another period of time, where if the price of the product drops, you will be refunded the difference. If you buy an item for $100 and it gets discounted to $70 within a day or two, you’ll get the difference refunded. This might not happen too often, but when it does, you won’t regret buying the item sooner.
Other Online Shopping Hacks
23. Check for Refurbished or Used Items
Refurbished or used can sometimes mean the item was just taken out of the box or bag, and then returned. Often they’re essentially brand new, but come at a heavy discount.
Of course, not every refurbished or used product will be in this kind of condition, so you should search on websites like eBay, Amazon and Google Shopping for items that are in a condition that works for you.
24. Join a Rewards Program
Online retailers that have a rewards program usually make it worth joining. Sure, you might not be saving money by getting a typical discount upfront, but you are getting something back, and you can use the rewards to save money on future purchases or get exclusive discounts that aren’t available to anyone else.
25. Join a Referral Program
A referral program with online retailers works just like any other referral program – whenever someone makes a purchase using your referral link, you get something in return. Some retailers give you store-wide discounts, while others give you a gift card or something else you can use to your benefit. In any case, it doesn’t cost you anything to try, and you could potentially be saving money.
26. Subscribe and Save
If you have products you buy repeatedly, things like food for your pets, cleaning products, or personal care items, you can often get them with solid discounts if you subscribe. Of course, you should pick a retailer that supports a subscription, and if you come across one, it’s easy to do the math. Check how much of a certain product you buy per month, and see whether a subscription is cheaper for the same amount. If it is, go for it, it’ll definitely be a noticeable difference especially in the long run.
If you aren’t tied to a specific retailer, you could search for “Subscribe and save” products on Amazon – you’ll come across some interesting options, some of which might work perfectly for you.
27. Check Out Cashback Sites
Aside from your credit card company, there are dedicated websites that have a cashback service. In most cases, there aren’t any significant differences, but if you use such a website for a while, they add up and you’ll get quite a bit in return.
There are a lot of options, but arguably the most popular ones are Rakuten and Swagbucks. You can register on both, and make use of all the benefits you gain by using that account when you’re shopping online.
28. Check Out Savings Communities
Most likely, you’re not the first person that wants to get a particular product at a discounted price. And more often than not, there is someone better than you at finding that discount. The best savings solution is often to let someone else put in the work for you – stand on the shoulders of giants.
This is why online communities like Ozbargain and Slickdeals are created – they’re communities full of people that know how to get the absolute best deals on a product. They know how to combine coupons, discounts, cashback offers and various other deals to make the most of it, and you’ll very likely find something that will save you more money than you initially thought.
29. Look Out for Military, Veteran or Student Discounts
The last one of my online shopping hacks concerns military and student discounts. If you’re in one of these groups, whether you’re a veteran or a student, many retailers offer discounts that apply only to you. They require some kind of proof that you are a member of one of those groups, but once you provide it, you’re looking at discounts that are unavailable to anyone else.