22 online shopping hacks that will save you money
Shopping without venturing to a store is ideal but these handy hacks will change the way you shop online.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
You may not realise that shopping online gives you the chance to grab the opportunity on deals, discounts and promotions. They may be slightly harder to find, compared to a massive 50% off sign in a store window. Luckily, we've done all the hard work for you, as we present you with 22 of the best online shopping hacks.
We signed up to newsletters, left items in our carts and stalked social media accounts to help you save at your favourite online stores.
1. Sign up to stores and leave items in your cart overnight
When you put items in your cart and then leave the browser, stores may send you a friendly email in the next few days, reminding you about your pending checkout. Most of the time, it comes with a special discount code to help convince you.
Our favourite stores are Beginning Boutique, Surfstitch and Boohoo but if you want to dive deeper, we have already covered scoring a discount code with no promotions running.
2. Sign up to their newsletter
Signing up means you give the store permission to send you email updates of new stock arrivals, marketing material AND any exclusive discounts. As a new member, signing up provides you with a one-time deal and if their emails start to spam your inbox, you can always unsubscribe in the future.
To be honest, the list goes on and on so here is a list of all the newsletter signup discounts for you to browse through.
3. Unsubscribe to their newsletter
Once you are subscribed to a retailer's newsletter, you get emails almost everyday or every second day. They do this as a form of marketing and it provides a sense of customer loyalty. What happens when you unsubscribe? More than likely, the store will send you an email a day or two later asking you why... and maybe providing you with a sneaky discount code to convince you to come back!
4. Tell them when your birthday is
Happy Birthday! Yes, some retailers are nice enough to send you a birthday discount code or a small gift box.
Here are all the stores to shop at so you can score free gifts or discounts on your birthday.
5. Know when the sale events are
Sale events are a time to shop and there sure is a lot of them that run throughout the year. Here is a calendar of them all to help you know when to shop!
- January: Continuance of Boxing Day sale period
- March: Afterpay Day
- April: Vogue Online Shopping Night
- May: Click Frenzy Mayhem
- June-July: EOFY sales
- August: Afterpay Day
- October: Vogue Online Shopping Night
- November: Click Frenzy, Singles Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday
- December: Boxing Day
6. Book it on a deal day
Airlines can be dedicated to their "happy hour" sales. Look for prices and flights beforehand and jump on them when the hour of sale comes around. We've got a detailed guide on all the airline sale days.
Our favourite is Virgin Australia because they have happy hour at 4pm every. single. Thursday.
7. Look out for promo codes on free shipping
Finding a great deal on a product and then getting an outrageous shipping price is honestly heartbreaking. While some retailers offer free shipping all year round, others charge prices that you can't possibly justify.
What if we told you we have a page on all free shipping promo codes for your favourite stores? You're welcome.
8. Ask for a discount
If there is an online chat window available, use them at your advantage. Most of us ignore them but they can actually assist with size guides, tell you more about the product you wish to purchase or give you a discount code just for chatting to them.
While it's hard to judge which brands will provide you with a discount, the brands with easy chat options are:
9. Use Click & Collect to avoid shipping costs
If you want to avoid shipping costs, using in-store pickup (known as Click & Collect) is a lot more handy than you may think. It may not work for every store but it can save you adding unnecessary items to your cart, in order to be valid for free shipping.
Retailers that offer this option include David Jones, Myer and Platypus Shoes. They both have a number of locations all over Australia, making it easy to find a store that is near you. Purchase your item and pick up at a time that works for you!
10. Browse their social media account
Retailers that utilise their social media accounts are doing something right. It's a great place to for them to maintain their regular following, interact with their customers in a more casual setting and offer sneaky surprises that may not be available to everyone. Brands that love to promote upcoming sales and discount codes are Billini and Hello Molly.
Be sure to follow your favourite brands so you don't miss out on a great deal.
11. Shop during the holidays
The holidays are a time for shopping. Most retailers offer an extended return policy until the end of December, or sometimes even January to accomodate for the gifts that may not be 100% loved. Buying a present for yourself and realised it just didn't work in your wardrobe? Return it with their extended return period, no hassles.
Retailers with an extended return policy are:
- Princess Polly: until the 31st of January
- ASOS: until the 31st of January
- Dissh: free returns until the 31st of December
12. Keep an eye out for an easy return policy
Don't you hate when you buy the dress you've had saved in your cart for weeks, and when it finally comes the zipper doesn't go all the way up?
There is a solution, especially if you are different sizes in different stores. Buy multiple sizes (or colours if you can't decide which best suits you) and return the ones that don't have a spot in your wardrobe. Of course, this only works at stores with a really easy return policy. Our personal favourites are Princess Polly and THE ICONIC.
Or if you are truly dedicated to finding the easiest return policies, read through our full list of the retailers with the best return policies.
13. Buy out-of-season stock
If you are an avid shopper of overseas retailers from the Northern Hemisphere, then check out their sale section for some exclusive finds. While it may be out of season for them, it could work perfectly for the current season in Australia!
Overseas retailers with a great sale section include:
14. Shop Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Instead of shopping on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you may want to change your plans. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are the most popular days for brands to roll out discount codes. This doesn't just apply to fashion items, but also to deals on flights.
15. Shop incognito
Whenever you visit a new site, it is common for them to ask you to either accept or manage cookies. When scouring the web for the best deal, it is best to use your incognito browser. If you can't locate that option, turn off your cookies and clear your browsing history.
If a website can see you have already been looking at certain products, prices are likely to be increased. This works especially well when browsing for anything related to travel- whether it be flights, hotels or any kind of accomodation.
16. Buy more than you need... and return it later.
This online shopping hack only works for those stores with free returns (thankyou, ASOS!)
If you still need items in your cart to be valid for free shipping, consider bulking the cart and then simply sending it back when it arrives.
17. Sign up for reward programs
Most retailers love to have their loyal customers. Reward programs are a great system to simply reward those customers that spend at the stores. If you find yourself always spending a little too much at your favourite store, it would be a good idea to look into their rewards program.
18. For the love of Afterpay
Your shopping addiction not matching up with your weekly pay-slip? We have all been there, our favourite dress is on sale at THE ICONIC but your pay hasn't come in for the week. Rest assured, there is a way to make it happen. If you haven't heard about Afterpay, you must have been sleeping under a rock. It has truly changed the way Aussies shop with the modern-day lay-by being the favoured choice of payment. Why? You can pay when you want in four instalments, interest-free with no up-front payment.
Not sure which stores offer Afterpay? Here is a list of our favourite retailers that accept Afterpay.
19. Take your opinion to social media
Social media platforms are very important to businesses. When you run a Google search, Google reviews are always there to be seen. And voicing your opinion on a bad product or bad customer service experience almost always means the business will care about what you're saying.
It's not right to say negative things on social media about anything and everything in hopes to receive compensation. It's only fair that if you have had a bad experience with a brand, be vocal about it because most retailers like feedback and desire to grow to be even better! In some cases, brands will reach out to you and offer you a reward for what happened to you.
20. Google Search your options
See something you love by your favourite label? Chances are that it may be available on another site that stocks the brand. This is very common for beauty items or for shoes, so it's good to always google "where to buy (your product name)" to see what other places stock it. If another online store is promoting a deal or saving, then take advantage and save money.
Online stores that stock a variety of brands include:
21. Filter by your size
Nowadays, online retailers stock hundreds or even thousands of items. Sure, they all look great but scrolling through everything can be a bit of a nightmare. And the worst part? You finally find something and your size is sold out. The horror!
If you are looking for something in specific, we recommending filtering the options to your size. This will save you time and make sure that you see only the items that will actually fit you.
22. Look for the promotion codes
Personally, we do a pretty good job on rounding up the best discounts and savings on your favourite retailers. Stay up-to-date across our deals page to be the first to know when a saving comes out.
- THE ICONIC x Finder: Huge 30% off sale + 5 things to shop right now
- Rowi Singh x Mountain and Moon: How this iconic jewellery collection came to life
- PSA: Skinny jeans are officially out, so here are 20+ other jeans under $100
- David Jones sale: 30% off designer brands + top 5 picks
- THE OUTNET sale: Which designer brands gets 80% off?
More guides on Finder
Australian-owned Internet providers
Many Internet providers in Australia are Aussie-owned but you might be surprised at which ones don’t make the list.
Today’s ASX top stocks: 8Vi Holdings (8VI ↑23.6%), Avita Medical (AVH ↑12.6%)
The 10 biggest movers on the ASX for Wednesday 16 June 2021.
Introducing the Finder app
The Finder app is a powerful savings tool that tracks your money and finds you new ways to save. Download today.
Amazon Prime Day 2021 Australia: Early deals on now
Amazon Prime Day 2021 officially starts on June 21 - or does it? Here's a stack of early-bird deals you can get right now.
Amazon Prime Day top beauty buys: 40% off FOREO, GHD, L’Oreal
From makeup to skincare to haircare, these are the hot beauty offers we're expecting to see this Prime Day.
Paul Gallen vs Justis Huni: Fight time and how to watch live online
Undefeated heavyweight Justis Huni and former NRL star Paul Gallen will square off in what's being called Termination Day.
eBay kitchen EOFY sale: 75% off with these discount codes
Score up to 75% off cookwares and kitchen appliances when you add these 'hidden' discount codes during the eBay EFOY sale.
Why did the Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) share price drop?
Shares in the beverage maker had lifted nearly 15% since February.
Amazon Prime Day: Top hacks for Australians in the 2021 sales
From when to shop to how to split the cost of your purchase, we’ve got you covered this Prime Day.
How to invest in the Charger Metals IPO
Everything we know about the Charger Metals IPO, plus information on how to buy in.
Ask an Expert