Online shopping lets you browse from the comfort of your couch and have your goodies delivered to your doorstep without so much as lifting a finger (other than to click your mouse, of course). But those enticing deals can add up and end up working against your budget, so here’s your guide to budget-savvy online shopping.
Shopping on digital platforms comes with a host of benefits, so it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular. These are just a few of many benefits that come with shopping online:
- It offers more convenience from the safety of your home.
- It provides a wider range of items to choose from and compare.
- It makes sending gifts to loved ones easier.
- There are no queues to stand in.
- Click and collect – make your purchases online and pick them up at the nearest pick-up point in your own time.
Make sure it’s legit
You’ll be amazed at the number of fly-by-night online stores that pop up and disappear with consumers’ money, so don't fall victim to these scammers. There are things to look out for to spot a fake online store, so before punching in your banking details, follow these steps:
- Screen the URL – fake website addresses are usually off by a character or two, so make sure it’s the exact url.
- Click on the padlock – in the address box. The drop-down menu will show you the security information of the website. Some fake sites have been able to replicate the padlock icon, so don’t stop here.
- Use a website checker – sites like Google Transparency Report are there to check the legitimacy of websites.
- Trust your browser – having antivirus software and an updated browser allows for it to warn you when you’ve entered an unsafe site and block you from going any further.
- Look for a trust stamp – it assures you that the site you are trying to buy from will protect your transaction. Scammers always find a way to cheat the system even with trust stamps, so always go the extra mile to ensure it’s a safe site.
- Read the reviews – read about other customer experiences to inform your final decision. Reviews can be found at the bottom of the viewed product. Alternatively, searching on Google, YouTube and other social platforms to see what people are saying is very helpful.
Hold on a second
Once you’ve added all the items you were looking for to your cart, hold off on checking those items out. Wait a day or two if you can, there might be a random sale or discount around the corner.
Oh… The pain of buying an item at a certain price on one site, only to find you could have bought it at a more affordable price at a different online store. Look for the item on other online stores that offer similar products and compare prices before committing. You may just find another bargain.
The 24-hour rule
When you’re having a night of insomnia or you’re just bored, it can be tempting to go online “window shopping'' and end up buying things unbudgeted for. Although the marked-down price on that gadget is a good reason, this unplanned purchase can throw you completely off budget. This is where the 24-hour rule comes in. Leave those items in your cart for a full 24 hours before going through with the purchase. This will give you time to rationalise the purchase and work out whether it makes sense to go ahead with it.
Sign up for newsletters
Keeping up to date with what is happening on your favourite shopping sites allows you to receive news on the latest deals and specials. Make sure to sign up to online-store newsletters so you have regular updates on new developments.
Here’s to scoring good deals and buys.