Everybody knows that shopping online in Singapore is so much more convenient than going out to the shops, and the same things are often much cheaper online too. Since online merchants have much lower overheads as compared to brick and mortar shops, these cost savings can be passed on to customers. This is great news for us, but did you know that you could save even more with just a few simple tricks? Let’s examine the ways:
Always Sign Up for Newsletters
Those pop-ups that prompt you to enter your email address as soon as you open up a site might be annoying, but they’re not without reason. Many sites often send a unique discount code for each new signup and subsequently inform you of any sales or promotions that they are running.
While all these promotional emails might clog up your mailbox after a while, you can always just unsubscribe to the websites you don’t frequent as much. But if you’re as kiasu as me, you wouldn’t want to miss out on any deals that might come along, so the only thing to do is just bear with it.
It doesn’t always pay to be loyal to only one retailer. The price of an item can vary wildly between websites, so the first step to making any purchase online is always to google it first. You can then compare prices and shipping rates across websites to find the best deal. Googling “(website) coupon code” will also bring up a list of sites detailing the coupon codes for the website you are looking to buy from. While many of these coupon codes may be out-dated and just do not work, it is still an important step as there is always a chance you might find something. All this work may be a little tedious if you have a lot of things to buy, but the satisfaction of knowing how much you’ve saved makes it all worthwhile.
Charge Through A Credit Card, Not PayPal
I used to charge almost all my online purchases through PayPal since it was just easier to type a password rather than all my credit card details. When I realised that PayPal’s conversion rate is always higher than the bank’s conversion rate, it was devastating, but from then onwards I stopped using PayPal’s conversion rate. If you do a lot of shopping online on foreign websites, this is definitely something to watch out for and can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Some websites may also charge a transaction fee when you use PayPal to pay for orders under a certain amount, so that’s another reason not to pay through the service.
Ebates is a programme that provides you with cash back of up to 26% on an online purchase at a partnered retailer. Cashback earned will be sent to you quarterly through PayPal, your credit/debit account, or a cheque. The Ebates browser add-on makes it easy to see if you can activate cash back on the website you are looking at.
It is especially useful when you are shopping online at US-based websites, but Ebates Singapore is also partnered with local websites such as Luxola and Redmart so if you do a lot of shopping at these sites, this is a chance to earn some of your money back. It’s almost like having a permanent sale on these websites. There may even be double cashback on certain websites at different times, so check regularly before you make a purchase to get the most out of it.
Plus, you can earn bonus cash just for referring friends to the service. It’s basically free money.
Fill Up Your Cart, Then Leave It Alone
This last one may be a little unorthodox, but it can really pay off if it works. Simply log in to your account on your website of choice, put the items that you want in your cart, and just walk away. After a few hours (maybe even days), the website might send you an email offering a discount on the items in your cart if you act fast. Success! You’ve managed to shave a few dollars off your order. I’ve had this happen a few times when window-shopping and it’s always a pleasant surprise when it does. Do check if the website even offers this type of deal, otherwise you’ll be waiting forever. It never hurts to try.
With these tips, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth when making any purchase online. Happy shopping!
Written by Aida Jalal.
About the Writer: Aida loves shopping but hates wasting money. One of her favourite things to do is to look for the best deals across credit cards and shops, and try to tell as many people as she can about them. Some might call her an enabler(her friends certainly do), but she prefers to think of herself as helping others become smart customers.