The Art of Online Shopping: How to get the Best Deals and Steals Online

With everybody being stuck in their homes and retail shops closed, online shopping has become one of my favorite pastimes.  However, adding anything and everything you want to your cart can get really expensive pretty quickly.  Trust me, you're not the only one using a little retail therapy to help with the quarantine blues.  But before you mindlessly spend your stimulus check on clothes, look over these quick tips that will save you some coin.  



1. Sign Up or Join the Rewards Program

Making an account with a retailer usually comes with some pretty sweet perks.  At minimum you will get a discount code or free shipping for your first purchase.  If you are a frequent customer, you may even be able to earn point on purchases.  Even though they may not seem like much, these points add up to big rewards such as $10 to $15 off, birthday bonuses, and even free items!  If you are turned off by the idea of what seems like hundreds of emails per week, you can always opt out of emails online or on the app.  You could even create a whole separate email for online shopping if you wish.  However, don't be mad at me when you miss that seasonal clearance sale at your fave store!





2. Love it? Come Back Later

If you find a piece that you absolutely adore but don't really need at the moment, save it to your wish list and come back in a week or two.  Within the next few weeks it is bound to go on sale or end up in the clearance section.  Stop back frequently to check for price drops and snatch it up when the price goes down!  





3. Know How to Navigate the Clearance Section

A lot of times the clearance section is a massive dump of merchandise that didn't sell.  Trying to pick out trendy and in-style fashions out of pages of rejects is not only time consuming, but also really boring.  Make sure you select “New Arrivals” under the “Sort By” tab.  Most online stores offer this option.  This will bring you to the most recently added pieces that probably haven't gone out of style just yet.  However, new arrivals can sell out fast so be sure to stop by often.  You can also check under the “Bestsellers” option.  This is less common under the “Sort By” tab is really beneficial.  This will show what pieces seem to going fast, meaning chances are it will show you trendy picks.  





4. Look for Gift Card Deals

Around holidays especially, stores will oftentimes have gift card sales.  For example if you spend X amount of money on gift cards, you will get a giftcard for X amount free.  While this is a great way to shop for friends and family, it's also an awesome way to get free store credit!  It’s basically like a “spend $100 get $25 off” kind of deal.  I’ll let you decide if you want to gift those gift cards or splurge on yourself!





5. Always Read the Reviews

This may seem like a waste of time but trust me, it’s totally not!  Reading the reviews on styles you don't usually wear from stores you don't usually shop at is so important.  The last thing you want to happen is to get your new jeans in the mail, just to find out that reviews said to size up.  Now you have to spend even more time sending them back and trading them in.  Every store is different and has its own size guide, so tried and tested customer feedback is always helpful to take a peek at.  Plus, reviews will also give you insight to the quality of the product and possibly how fast it will ship. 






6. Use Filters to Find Exactly What You Want

On giant clothing store sites such as Forever 21, Old Navy, and Macy’s, it is super easy to get caught in the aimless scroll.  The aimless scroll is a nickname I like to use for spending hours looking through 23 pages of women's clothing and not really knowing why.  It's ok hun, we’ve all been there.  To avoid this, use the “Filter By” option at the top of the page.  Similar to “Sort By”, most online shops have this feature.  Type in your size, colors you might like, your price range - literally everything.  This will weed out all the pieces you most likely aren't interested in, leaving you with suggestions that you won't just aimlessly scroll by. 



7. Check Across Multiple Sites

Places like Urban Outfitters, Pacsun, and Nordstrom carry larger brands in order to fill their shelves.  If you're looking for a new pair of Nikes or some Champion workout clothes, check department-style stores first!  It is common that the store may be having a sale that brand isn't.  For example, I got a fresh pair of Nike Air Force Ones (retail $90) on UO for just $72.  AF1s rarely go on sale but Urban Outfitters had a discount code for shoes that day.  Codes don't always work on big-name brands but it never hurts to try!  Also, ALWAYS check Amazon.  Everything seems to be cheaper without sacrificing authenticity, and it always ships faster!  Seriously. Check Amazon.




8. Find Boutiques via the Instagram Explore Page

This is one of my favorite ways to find new trends and deals, all while supporting small businesses!  Remember that shopping local and small boutiques is critical during this time.  This Instagram explore page houses all sorts of styles.  By liking and saving posts, you can compare prices and quality.  





9. Stock Up on Opposite Season Essentials

Clothing stores tend to have major sales whenever the seasons change.  This is because they are trying to make room for new in-season merchandise by getting rid of last seasons left overs.  This is the perfect time to grab that extremely discounted coat you wanted all last year! Now you may be thinking, why would I buy a winter coat in April? Well for starters, it always good to treat yourself.  But also, when it comes around to be fall next year and you really need a coat, they are going to be crazy expensive and you'll probably end up spending three times as much then vs. if you bought it on sale.  Be careful to only buy stuff you know you'll wear and that you have room for in your closet.  Things like swim suits, jeans, heavy coats, and athletic shorts are all great end-of-the-season clearance buys. 

So, there you have it! 9 ways to easily save money while online shopping.  We remind you to support small and local shops and spoil yourself every now and then. (Especially during this time).

Stay safe and go get those deals! 

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