Top tips to save when shopping online in a lockdown

William Arsn

Buying second-hand goods on Amazon, eBay or Gumtree could save you money during lockdown. (Christian Wiediger/Unsplash)
Buying second-hand goods on Amazon, eBay or Gumtree could save you money during lockdown. (Christian Wiediger/Unsplash)

From abandoning your basket to timing your spree right, a few insider hacks could save you up to £300 a year shopping online.

We all love getting a good deal, especially in lockdown when cashflow is uncertain.

With that in mind, personal finance experts Ocean Finance has compiled 23 insider tips that could help you save up to £300 every year.

Top 10 money-saving tips

1. Save your shopping for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

Retailers tend to offer discounts on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, so if you wait until the middle of the week, you could potentially save a lot of money on the items you are looking for.

2. Check store tags to see what is going to be put on sale

For those who like to look in-store before making a purchase online, you could gain trade secrets from checking the tags of products — particularly clothing.

In preparation for sales, letters and numbers are often scribbled on tags. If you do see these scribbles, you might want to hold off before buying and check back in a week or so to see if that item has made its way to the sale.

Of course this can only be done once the lockdown is more relaxed and all shops are allowed to open.

READ MORE: Unused household items that could earn you up to £4,000

3. Buy Christmas presents in July

Time your shopping with the seasons to get the best deals. For instance, look at buying coats for the coming winter in March.

For those thinking of summer, start shopping for your outfits in early winter, and take advantage of the clearance offers.

4. Abandon your online basket and keep an eye on it

If you put something in your basket, start the checkout process, and then abandon it before it’s time to pay, there’s a chance brands will try to lure you back with discount codes. Generally, the higher value the item, the bigger the discount. While this isn’t guaranteed, it’s certainly worth a try. 

5. Use a cashback site to save up to £300 each year

Although you probably won’t get the money back right away, you can get money back on what you buy — usually a percentage of the purchase— by using cashback sites.

If you consistently use them, the pounds can soon add up, with Top Cashback suggesting you can save up to £300 per year.

6. Make sure the delivery fee is refunded if you return an item within 14 days

Retailers are sitting on £4.6bn in unreturned delivery fees due to customers not realising they are entitled to that money back.

If you return an item within 14 days, you should get a refund for the price of the goods and the standard postage costs paid for home delivery. If the initial delivery cost is not applied to the refund, make sure to ask for it.

7. Say it’s your birthday

Lots of stores offer freebies, coupons or discounts for your birthday, so cash in on them. To be eligible, most retailers require you to be signed up to their loyalty programme and/or newsletter, so get yourself enrolled for lots of extra birthday goodies.

 READ MORE: COVID-19 — six million Brits to ditch in-store for online shopping

8. Haggle for discount codes with live chats

Next time that little online chat pop-up appears on your screen, instead of shutting it down, ask the agent if they have any promo codes that they would be willing to share with you. It might not always work, but it’ll be worth it even if it does a handful of times.

The same goes for if you have a discount code that no longer works. They might just send the new ones via the chat.

9. Use tools to get Amazon free delivery

Did you know that there is a tool to scour Amazon to help you get free delivery? If you need to get over the £20 threshold for free delivery, the Super Saver Delivery Tool will find the cheapest item to add to your basket to get you there.

Some items it will top up your basket with include paprika seasoning mix, costing £0.50, to Dove beauty cream wash at £1.

10. Buy second-hand

At this current time, more people are looking to sell than ever before. In April 2020, Google searches related to selling on Amazon — which sells a wide range of pre-owned items for the savvier shopper — more than doubled from the previous year.

By checking Amazon, eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for second-handgoods, you might just get lucky and bag a bargain.

More money-saving tips

  • Avoid branded items to save a third of your weekly food shop

  • Use your coupons in the right order

  • Set up Google Alerts to track when prices drop

  • Sign up to newsletters

  • Use Groupon for up to 70{5667a53774e7bc9e4190cccc01624aae270829869c681dac1da167613dca7d05} in savings

  • Use Google Shopping

  • Hunt for deals

  • Pick up in-store for free

  • Stock up during sales

  • Join loyalty programmes

  • Clear your cookies and go incognito in your browser

  • Follow your favourite brands on social media

  • Head to online outlet stores

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