7 tips to become a smarter shopper (and save $$$!)

December 8, 2013• 11 Comments

I’ll be the first to admit that I love to shop – there’s something therapeutic about the process, and the rewarding feeling I get when I score a deal totally makes my day. But just because I love to shop it doesn’t mean I have to drain my wallet each time, so here are my 7 tips on how you can become a smarter shopper and save a pretty penny while you’re at it :) 

Gossip Girl Blair Waldorf Shopping

Unless you’re loaded like B, then by all means shop away you lucky girl. (image credit: CW)

1. Sign up for a cash back site like Ebates

Who doesn’t love getting cash back when they shop? There are several cash back sites out there but I recommend Ebates because they have the best selection of retailers available – Sephora, Shopbop, Nordstrom, you name it, they probably have it. They also have browser plugins and an iOs/Android app so you know you’re getting your $ back no matter where you shop. I’ve only started using this last month and I’ve already accumulated $40+ in cash back!

 2. Always check for coupons first

My favorite site to use it RetailMeNot, but also try checking the retailer’s Twitter and Facebook pages – a lot of them post promo codes for their fans/followers. Or if you’re a regular shopper at a particular store, subscribe to their newsletter to make sure you never miss out on a sale.

3. Use a comparison shopping site like ShopStyle

Why limit your online shopping to only the few retailers you know? ShopStyle allows you to search across hundreds of retailers, and then refine your search by price, color, and brand. And if you see a product you like, you can add a “Sales Alert” that will notify you when your product goes on sale. Yay for more savings!

4. Use a price drop alert site like Slice or Hukkster

I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of paying full price for anything. That’s why I also use Hukkster to keep track of products I want and be notified when they go on sale. Slice is slightly different in that it notifies you if the price drops for anything you’ve purchased. I recently got $20 in store credit when a watch I bought dropped $20 after my order, all thanks to Slice.

5. Consider signing up for a retailer credit card

I say consider because these cards usually carry ridiculously high interest rates (20%+). Unless you’re on top of paying off your cards in full, you’ll rake up more costs in interest than in any potential savings. But if you’re diligent with your payments, the potential rewards can be great: a 10 – 15% discount on your first purchase, 10% cash back rewards in store credit, and whatever additional rewards for card holders.

6. Embrace social media

Not only are Twitter and Facebook  good places to find promo codes, but they’re also good places to get the retailer’s attention. Yes, you can always email their customer service, but they seem to respond much quicker to tweets and Facebook posts. Usually that’s enough to resolve any issues you may have, but if not, read on.

7. The Better Business Bureau is your best friend

I once had A&F cancel my order and ban my account for no reason and I was furious. Not soon after I submitted a complaint to the BBB, A&F apologized, reopened my account, and gave me a 40% off coupon. Not that I’m a fan of A&F now, but it just shows how BBB can help when you feel that the retailer has wronged you in any way.

Hope you found these tips helpful, and if you have any tips of your own, do share in the comments below :) Happy shopping!

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  1. Agent Q says:

    I never heard of comparison shopping sites. Guess it all makes sense, since it kind of reminds me of airfare shopping. Also, I couldn’t agree more with you on BBB. A great reminder to all who have been wronged. Thanks for these wonderful tips!

  2. Very useful tips! I didn’t know of the existence of several of the websites you mentioned. Always have to do a quick Google of any applicable coupon codes before I checkout if shopping online haha ;)

    1. I used to Google for applicable coupons as well, but I noticed that RetailMeNot would always be the first site in the results, so I just started using that site exclusively :P

  3. Melissa says:

    Thank you for those useful tips Jenny! I myself am subscribed to my favorite stores so whenever they have sale or good deals, I get a mail from them!

    1. I do that for some stores, but sometimes the number of emails I get become too overwhelming, and then I’m tempted to buy everything, haha

  4. Cat says:

    Good tips! I like checking RetailMeNot too. This reminds me that I really should use Ebates more. I signed up for a long time ago, and then pretty much forgot about it =/

    I didn’t know about Slice of Hukkster though. I’ll have to check them out. They look really useful!

    I also follow through Twitter and sign up for email lists. I find it useful to make a Twitter list just for accounts like that. The emails are kind of spammy, but it’s where I get most of my coupons. Some stores also have apps that I’ve found useful for finding coupons.

    That’s good that the BBB helped you out! I’ve heard of other people reporting to them with no luck :(

    1. The twitter idea is great, I can’t believe I didn’t do that sooner!
      BBB can be a hit or miss, and I find it usually works better with well-known companies/brands.

  5. Georgia Kate ( says:

    This post is a godsend. I’m iffy with spending money and I don’t like spending full price for things either, even if I know I will wear them a lot. I read today in the paper about an app called Snap Style or something — you take a photo of an item / outfit, and it finds the clothes for you. Another one (Metail, I think) let you create a little mannequin of yourself which you could use to try on clothes you wanted to order online before you ordered them. And now this post! I hadn’t appreciated how much useful, technology-based stuff was online.

    Take care! xx

    1. Glad you found this post helpful! I’ve never heard of Metail before, but it sounds very promising! As much as I like shopping online, it’s always annoying when I’m unable to try out the clothes first. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed these tips! It’s amazing what kind of money you can save when you do a bit of homework first!

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