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Shopping online during lockdown? 6 ways to be savvy


If you've turned to retail therapy to make it through the latest restrictions, I don't blame you. In fact, I've got a few tips to help you get more for your money.

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No matter how strict lockdowns get we'll always have one thing to put a smile on our faces – family. I'm kidding, it's online shopping.

Now, although online shopping can lift our moods at the click of a mouse, there is one big drawback. It quickly gets expensive.

Thankfully, there are a few ways to shop smarter which could save you money or earn you rewards, on top of the lovely stuff you're already buying.

Shop through a cashback site

If you've never heard of cashback sites, I'm about to be your new best friend. Simply put, cashback sites give you cash back when you buy stuff. Here's how it works:

Cashback sites earn a commission when a visitor clicks through to a store from their site. Usually, they'll earn a percentage of however much the person ends up spending.

But here's the best bit, cashback sites then share that commission with you. You literally get money back into your account just for shopping online.

The amount of cashback you get varies depending on which store you're shopping with but major cashback site Cashrewards says the average annual return is $335 per customer. But, if you're an avid online shopper, you might be able to get even more back.

A Finder survey of over 3,000 Australians revealed that, on average, we're spending a total of $230 a week on online shopping – and that doesn't take groceries into account.

Over the course of a year, that's $11,960. And you could be claiming cash back on lots of those purchases.

Remember, cashback sites aren't just for occasional purchases. Since they work across so many retailers, you can use them for everyday shopping too. For context, Cashrewards has over 1,700 retailers, including fashion, liquor and beauty stores, through to energy providers, insurance companies and meal subscription services. You can even install a browser extension that will alert you when there's potential cashback, so you never forget.

💡 Did you know? Cashrewards has over 1,700 retailers including Apple, Rebel Sports, The Iconic, Adore Beauty, ASOS, Farfetch, and Uber Eats.
A mum and her young daughter celebrate

Pay with a rewards card

Rewards cards let you collect points on purchases, which can be later redeemed for various items or rewards, depending on the program.

For example, you might be able to redeem points for a new gadget, swap them for frequent flyer points, or even have them credited back into your account. You can even stack your savings by shopping through a cashback site and getting your rewards points on top.

Be wary though, some rewards cards will come with an annual fee so you have to take that into account. You'll also be charged interest on any purchases you make if you don't pay them off within the set deadline.

It's also worth checking what benefits are attached to your existing credit or debit cards. For example, eligible ANZ debt and credit cardholders can gain exclusive access to Cashrewards Max, a premium membership to Cashrewards which provides access to higher cashback rates and extra benefits. Nice.

A young woman smiles broadly as she pays for something online using her phone.

Sign up to newsletters

I get it, nobody wants to have an inbox full of newsletters, but they're a great way to score big discounts. Most companies will give subscribers a heads up if there's going to be a sale and they sporadically drop discount codes in there too.

My tip is to create a separate email aside from your main email address, which is just for newsletters from different brands. That way, you can keep an eye on anything interesting that pops up, without it clogging up your core communications.

A man looks at his phone with a big smile on his face.

Install a discount browser extension

Speaking of browser extensions, if you don't have a browser extension installed which automatically scans for discounts, here's your sign to do it. Whenever you visit a site, the extension automatically scans the Internet for discount codes and coupons, then applies them to your shopping cart.

There are plenty of options out there. If you're a frequent online shopper, you can easily save hundreds of dollars a year. Plus, it means no more searching for codes and spending ages typing them in just to find out they've expired.

A woman and her cat look at a laptop.

Track your spending

I was shocked when our data revealed that Aussies are spending an average of $230 a week on online shopping. But think about it – do you track how much you spend online? Or are you guilty of spontaneous purchases that you completely forget about until the parcel arrives on your doorstep? No judgement here.

If you do fall into that latter category, it's time to start tracking your spending. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised. More likely you'll be horrified and suddenly have the motivation to reel things in.

A couple tracks their spending at home.


As a comparison site, we're always going to push this message at any opportunity we get. But that's because we really believe it. Compare before you buy.

If you're spending a decent amount of money on anything, make sure you compare similar products, features, prices and reviews. Then compare different sellers to see which one has the best deal.

Disclaimer: *Cashrewards Max is offered by Cashrewards and not ANZ. The Cashrewards account is not an ANZ account. ANZ business debit cards and ANZ business credit cards are ineligible for membership to Cashrewards Max. T&Cs apply.
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