How to Save Money While Shopping Online

Discover how to save money while shopping online with our comprehensive guide! This blog post covers a range of strategies to help you get the best deals, avoid overspending, and make the most of your online shopping experience. Learn how to plan your purchases, use coupons and promo codes, take advantage of sales and discounts, compare prices effectively, and utilize cashback programs. Additionally, find out how to shop with discount gift cards, avoid impulse purchases, consider refurbished items, and ensure secure transactions. Whether you're a seasoned online shopper or new to the digital marketplace, these tips will help you maximize your savings and shop smarter.


5/22/202411 min read

How to save money while shopping online
How to save money while shopping online


The digital age has made shopping more accessible than ever, with countless products available at the click of a button. However, the convenience of online shopping can sometimes lead to overspending and financial strain. By adopting smart shopping habits and utilizing various tools and strategies, you can significantly reduce your online shopping expenses without compromising on quality or convenience.

Plan Your Purchases

Proper planning is essential to saving money while shopping online. By preparing in advance, you can make more informed decisions and avoid unnecessary expenditures.

Create a Shopping List

One of the most effective ways to save money is to plan your purchases. Before you start shopping, create a detailed list of the items you need. This will help you stay focused and avoid unnecessary impulse buys. Having a list also allows you to prioritize your spending and allocate your budget more effectively. When creating your shopping list, categorize items by urgency and necessity. This ensures you address your most pressing needs first and avoid getting sidetracked by less important purchases.

Set a Budget

Setting a budget is crucial for controlling your spending. Determine how much you can afford to spend on each item or category and stick to it. This will prevent you from overspending and help you make more informed purchasing decisions. Many online shopping platforms offer tools to help you track your spending, so take advantage of these features. To make budgeting easier, consider using apps or software specifically designed for personal finance management. These tools can help you monitor your expenditures and stay within your financial limits.

Use Coupons and Promo Codes

Coupons and promo codes are a great way to reduce your spending on online purchases. With a little effort, you can find substantial discounts on many of the items you plan to buy.

Where to Find Coupons

There are numerous websites and apps dedicated to providing the latest coupons and discount codes. Some popular options include:

  • RetailMeNot: Offers a wide variety of coupons and deals for numerous retailers.

  • Honey: A browser extension that automatically finds and applies the best coupon codes at checkout.

  • CouponCabin: Provides coupons for both online and in-store shopping.

  • Groupon: Offers deals on local experiences and products.

  • Slickdeals: A community-driven site where users share the latest deals and coupons.

These platforms offer a wide range of coupons for various retailers, ensuring you can find discounts for almost any online store. Additionally, many brands and retailers offer exclusive discounts through their social media pages, so it’s worth following your favorite stores on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

How to Apply Coupons

Applying coupons is usually straightforward. During the checkout process, look for a field labeled "Promo Code" or "Coupon Code." Enter the code and click "Apply" to see the discount reflected in your total. Some browser extensions, like Honey, can automatically apply the best available coupons for you. Make sure to double-check that the discount has been applied correctly before completing your purchase. Some sites also offer multiple stacking coupons, so experiment with different combinations to maximize your savings.

Take Advantage of Sales and Discounts

Sales and discounts provide excellent opportunities to save money on a variety of products. Being aware of when and where these sales occur can help you plan your purchases accordingly.

Seasonal Sales

Seasonal sales are an excellent opportunity to save money on a wide range of products. Key sales events to watch for include:

  • Black Friday: The day after Thanksgiving, known for massive discounts across many retailers.

  • Cyber Monday: The Monday following Black Friday, focusing on online deals.

  • Amazon Prime Day: A two-day event exclusive to Amazon Prime members, featuring deals on thousands of products.

  • Back-to-School Sales: Occur in late summer, offering discounts on school supplies, electronics, and clothing.

  • Holiday Sales: Many retailers offer significant discounts leading up to major holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter.

Planning your purchases around these sales can result in significant savings. Mark these dates on your calendar and start preparing in advance by identifying the items you need and setting aside funds.

Clearance Sales

Many online retailers have clearance sections where they offer products at heavily discounted prices to make room for new inventory. Regularly checking these sections can help you find great deals on items you need. Clearance sales often include end-of-season products, discontinued items, and overstocked goods. By being flexible and patient, you can score substantial discounts on high-quality items.

Compare Prices

Price comparison is essential for ensuring you get the best deal on your purchases. By taking a few extra steps, you can often find the same product at a lower price.

Price Comparison Websites

Price comparison websites can help you ensure you're getting the best deal. These sites aggregate prices from various retailers, allowing you to compare them side by side. Some popular price comparison websites include:

  • Google Shopping: Aggregates prices from multiple retailers and provides detailed product information.

  • PriceGrabber: Offers price comparisons for a wide range of products and categories.

  • Shopzilla: Allows you to compare prices and read product reviews.

  • CamelCamelCamel (Amazon specific): Tracks price history and provides alerts for price drops on Amazon.

Using these tools, you can quickly identify the best price available and avoid overpaying for an item. Additionally, some websites offer price matching guarantees, where they will match a lower price found on a competitor’s site.

Browser Extensions

Browser extensions like Honey and Rakuten can automatically compare prices and apply coupons at checkout, making it easier to save money without extensive manual research. These extensions often provide cashback rewards and price-tracking features, adding another layer of savings to your online shopping experience. By using these tools, you can streamline the process of finding the best deals and discounts available.

Sign Up for Newsletters and Loyalty Programs

Retailers often offer exclusive deals and promotions to customers who subscribe to their newsletters or join their loyalty programs. Taking advantage of these opportunities can lead to significant savings.

Benefits of Newsletters

Many online retailers offer discounts and special offers to customers who sign up for their newsletters. While it may seem like additional clutter in your inbox, these emails can provide valuable savings opportunities. Consider creating a separate email account for newsletters to keep your primary inbox organized. Newsletter subscribers often receive early access to sales, exclusive discount codes, and updates on upcoming promotions. This can give you a competitive edge when shopping for popular items that may sell out quickly.

Loyalty Programs and Rewards

Loyalty programs reward repeat customers with points, discounts, and exclusive offers. Signing up for these programs can provide significant savings over time. Some popular loyalty programs include:

  • Amazon Prime: Offers free shipping, access to Prime Video, and exclusive deals for a yearly fee.

  • Target Circle: Provides personalized offers, early access to sales, and birthday discounts.

  • Best Buy Rewards: Earn points on purchases that can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases.

  • Starbucks Rewards: Earn stars for every purchase, which can be redeemed for free drinks and food items.

These programs often come with additional perks, such as free shipping, birthday discounts, and early access to sales. Regularly participating in loyalty programs can lead to substantial long-term savings.

Utilize Cashback and Rebate Programs

Cashback and rebate programs allow you to earn money back on your purchases, providing an additional layer of savings. Understanding how these programs work and using them effectively can significantly reduce your overall spending.

How Cashback Works

Cashback programs give you a percentage of your purchase amount back as cash or rewards. This can add up to significant savings over time. To use cashback programs, sign up with a cashback website, click through their link before shopping, and earn cashback on eligible purchases. Some credit cards also offer cashback rewards, allowing you to earn money back on everyday purchases.

Popular Cashback Websites

  • Rakuten (formerly Ebates): Offers cashback for shopping at thousands of retailers, with regular double cashback promotions.

  • Swagbucks: Earns cashback on purchases, as well as rewards for completing surveys, watching videos, and more.

  • TopCashback: Provides higher cashback rates than many competitors, with no minimum payout threshold.

  • BeFrugal: Offers competitive cashback rates and a guarantee to match higher rates found elsewhere.

  • Ibotta: Focuses on grocery and retail purchases, offering cashback for submitting receipts and using their app.

These platforms offer cashback for a wide range of retailers, helping you save on almost any purchase. Additionally, some cashback sites offer sign-up bonuses and referral rewards, further increasing your potential savings.

Shop with Discount Gift Cards

Discount gift cards can be purchased for less than their face value, providing instant savings. By using these cards for your online purchases, you can effectively reduce your overall spending.

Where to Buy Discount Gift Cards

Reliable sources for discount gift cards include:

  • Raise: Offers a wide variety of discounted gift cards for popular retailers.

  • CardCash: Buys and sells discounted gift cards, with a money-back guarantee.

  • Gift Card Granny: Aggregates listings from multiple gift card sellers to provide the best deals.

  • Cardpool: Sells discounted gift cards and offers a buyback program for unwanted cards.

These platforms allow you to purchase gift cards at a discount, providing immediate savings on your purchases. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of each gift card to ensure it is valid for the items you plan to buy.

How to Use Them

Using discount gift cards is simple. Purchase the card, use it at checkout, and enjoy the savings. Combining gift cards with sales and coupons can maximize your savings. For example, if you buy a $100 gift card for $80 and then use a 20% off coupon, you can achieve substantial savings on your purchase.

Avoid Impulse Purchases

Impulsive purchases can quickly derail your budget and lead to unnecessary spending. Implementing strategies to avoid these temptations can help you stay on track and save money.

The 24-Hour Rule

Impulsive purchases can quickly derail your budget. To combat this, implement the 24-hour rule: wait 24 hours before making a non-essential purchase. This cooling-off period allows you to assess whether you truly need the item. If you still want the item after 24 hours, you can proceed with the purchase, knowing it was a considered decision rather than an impulse buy.

Unsubscribe from Tempting Emails

Retailers often send promotional emails to entice you to make impulse purchases. Unsubscribe from these emails to reduce temptation and stay focused on your shopping list. By minimizing exposure to constant promotions and limited-time offers, you can make more deliberate and budget-conscious purchasing decisions.

Consider Refurbished and Used Items

Refurbished and used items can offer significant savings compared to new products. These items are often just as functional and reliable, making them a smart choice for budget-conscious shoppers.

Benefits of Buying Refurbished

Refurbished items are often significantly cheaper than new ones and can be just as reliable. Many refurbished products come with warranties and have been tested to ensure they meet quality standards. This can be a great way to save money on electronics, appliances, and more. Additionally, buying refurbished products helps reduce waste and promote sustainability by giving products a second life.

Trusted Sources for Refurbished Goods

  • Amazon Renewed: Offers certified refurbished products with warranties and a satisfaction guarantee.

  • Apple Certified Refurbished: Sells refurbished Apple products that have undergone rigorous testing and include a one-year warranty.

  • Best Buy Outlet: Provides refurbished and open-box items with significant discounts and warranties.

  • Gazelle: Specializes in refurbished smartphones, tablets, and other electronics, with a 30-day return policy.

These sources offer high-quality refurbished items with warranties and return policies, ensuring you can shop with confidence. Always verify the return policy and warranty terms before making a purchase to ensure you are protected in case of any issues.

Utilize Free Shipping Offers

Shipping costs can add up quickly, especially for frequent online shoppers. Taking advantage of free shipping offers can help you save money on your orders.

Minimum Purchase Requirements

Many retailers offer free shipping on orders that meet a minimum purchase amount. Plan your purchases to meet these thresholds and avoid paying for shipping. Combining multiple items into one order can help you reach the required amount. Additionally, some stores offer free shipping promotions during certain times of the year, so keep an eye out for these opportunities.

Membership Programs

Programs like Amazon Prime offer free shipping on a wide range of products. While these memberships have an annual fee, the savings on shipping can quickly outweigh the cost if you shop frequently. Other retailers, such as Walmart and Target, also offer free shipping options through their membership programs. Evaluate your shopping habits to determine if a membership program would be cost-effective for you.

Monitor Price Drops

Monitoring price drops can help you purchase items at their lowest possible price. Using tools and strategies to track price changes can lead to significant savings.

Price Tracking Tools

Price-tracking tools and apps can notify you when the price of an item drops. This allows you to buy at the lowest possible price. Some popular price tracking tools include:

  • CamelCamelCamel: Tracks price history and provides alerts for price drops on Amazon.

  • Honey: Monitors prices and provides price history data for various retailers.

  • Keepa: Offers detailed price tracking and alerts for Amazon products.

These tools can help you make informed purchasing decisions and avoid paying more than necessary. Setting up price alerts for items on your wishlist ensures you are notified as soon as a price drop occurs.

Refund Policies

Some retailers offer price adjustment policies, where they refund the difference if the price drops shortly after your purchase. Familiarize yourself with these policies and take advantage of them when applicable. Keep track of your purchase dates and monitor price changes so you can request a refund within the eligible period. This can be an easy way to save money without having to return and repurchase items.

Read Reviews and Ratings

Reviews and ratings provide valuable insights into the quality and performance of products. By taking the time to read reviews, you can avoid low-quality items and make more informed purchasing decisions.

Importance of Reviews

Reading reviews and ratings can help you avoid low-quality products and make informed purchasing decisions. Look for products with high ratings and positive feedback to ensure you're getting the best value for your money. Pay attention to detailed reviews that mention both pros and cons, as these provide a more balanced perspective.

How to Identify Fake Reviews

Fake reviews can skew your perception of a product. Look for detailed, balanced reviews that mention both pros and cons. Use tools like Fakespot to analyze the authenticity of reviews. Be wary of products with a large number of generic or overly positive reviews, as these may be fake. Trust reviews that provide specific details about the product's performance and usability.

Check Return Policies

Understanding return policies is crucial for making safe online purchases. Knowing you can return or exchange an item if it doesn't meet your expectations provides peace of mind and can save you money.

Understanding Return Policies

Before making a purchase, review the retailer's return policy. Ensure you can return or exchange the item if it doesn't meet your expectations. This can save you money in the long run by avoiding getting stuck with unwanted items. Check for details such as the return window, restocking fees, and whether the retailer offers free return shipping.

Avoiding Return Shipping Fees

Some retailers offer free return shipping, while others may charge a fee. Look for retailers with lenient return policies to avoid additional costs. If a retailer does not offer free returns, consider purchasing a small item first to test the return process before committing to a larger purchase. This can help you gauge the retailer's customer service and return procedures without risking a significant amount of money.

Secure Your Online Shopping

Ensuring the security of your online shopping experience is essential for protecting your personal and financial information. By taking a few precautions, you can shop safely and avoid potential risks.

Use Secure Payment Methods

Use secure payment methods, such as credit cards or payment services like PayPal, to protect your financial information. Avoid using debit cards, which offer less fraud protection. Credit cards and payment services often provide additional security features, such as fraud alerts and dispute resolution, giving you an extra layer of protection.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

When shopping online, avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, which can be less secure. Use a secure, private network to protect your personal and financial information. Public Wi-Fi networks are more vulnerable to hacking and data breaches, so it's best to complete your online shopping transactions from a trusted and secure connection.


Saving money while shopping online is all about being strategic and taking advantage of the tools and resources available. By planning your purchases, using coupons and discounts, and being mindful of your spending habits, you can enjoy the convenience of online shopping without breaking the bank. Implement these tips and start saving today!