I’d like everyone to meet Wendy, one of Chictopia’s editorial interns! She’s a new addition and will be contributing to CoedUgly. Read-up on her tips for online bargain shopping and say hello! xo, Kristine
I’m Wendy (aka Speedbump ) and I’m here to introduce you to the cheapskate’s way to shop the web. With all the temptations of the internet and the rising cost of shipping, online shopping can get super expensive. However, it’s still possible to find great deals, and the following strategies have helped me to keep my credit card in check.
Whether you Google, eBay, or Shopstyle, chances are that the dress/shoes/bag/whatever you’re looking for can be found elsewhere for less. Make sure you check other retailers so that you can be sure you’re getting the best price. Don’t forget to add in shipping and tax into your calculations, though!
This applies to vintage too! Even though sellers often proclaim that vintage=one-of-a-kind, there are doppelgangers out there, and likely for a lower price than those fancy e-boutiques! (Don’t make the same mistake as I did and pay waaaaay too much for a damaged beaded collar when I could have had the exact same thing in mint condition for less! :-( ) Try searching eBay or Etsy for the item’s brand and/or keywords that would be associated with it. You might just get lucky and score it way cheaper!
Look for Coupon Codes!
More and more online stores have spaces in their checkout processes for coupon codes. I personally try to never shop online without using them. Do yourself a favor and look up whether there are coupon codes that are currently available. It will totally be worth the 2 minutes it takes. Some great websites for this are RetailMeNot, TheSaleRack.net, and don’t forget our very own Chictopia Hot Deals!
Take Advantage of Free Shipping
I personally hate paying for shipping; as silly as it sounds, it’s not something I can actually wear, so I don’t want to fork over my cash for it. Because of that, I always look out for free shipping deals. Some websites offer free shipping on all orders, while others name a price threshold that must be exceeded. If there is free return shipping also, so much the better! It can save you tons of money if you shop online as often as I do.
If there is an amount you have to exceed before free shipping can be yours, don’t fret. If there is a retail location nearby, you can most likely return things without paying a return shipping cost. I often add a few items that I am on the fence about and then return anything I don’t like in the order afterwards.
Shop Out of State
In the US, companies that are not located in your home state do not charge sales tax, making your order about 6-11% less than the price you might otherwise have paid.
Since tax charged is based on the shipping address, you could also consider sending it to a friend or family member who lives in a state not covered by the company and have them ship it over to you afterward. Sure, shipping may be a bit higher, but it could be well worth it depending on the order.
Many websites will match the price of the item if you find it for less elsewhere by refunding you the difference. There is usually a time limit (generally within 14 days, from my experience), but it is a way to stave off the worst kind of buyer’s remorse, which I call the “coulda-had-it-for-less woes.” This ensures that you pretty much get the lowest possible price, if only for a while.
If there is something you absolutely adore, but the price is a bit high, it’s worth keeping track of its price by visiting it often or just keeping it in one of your browser tabs for daily refreshing. That way, when it goes on sale, you will know immediately and have a better shot at snagging it before the sad “out of stock” text appears (don’t we all know the disappointment of discovering that…?). I monitor pieces from Anthropologie constantly, and have definitely scored some of my coveted pieces on sale before they sold out.
Those are all the tips I have, but feel free to comment here with your own shopping strategies. Now what are you waiting for? Go shop before I beat you to it!