14 Tips to Save Money on Online Shopping

These tips to save money on your online shopping can help you shop smart and get a discount.

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There’s no better peace of mind than knowing you’ve got the best price on a product. Whether you’re travelling abroad, filling your wardrobe or upgrading your tech, there’s always a way to maximise your discount. So, here are a few handy tips to save money on online shopping.

Leave Items in your shopping basket for a discount

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It might sound counterintuitive, but sometimes pressing the pause button on your purchase can net you savings. Retailers can track what you’re looking at so try adding items to your basket and letting them sit there. 

They know you’re interested in the product. But you haven’t completed your purchase, and they want to get that sale over the line. A lot of retailers, particularly fashion and clothing brands, will offer you discount codes to make the sale happen.

Save money by buying off-season

Another super easy way is just to plan when you’re making that purchase. Buying Christmas items in January is a great example of this. But on top of that, buying summer clothes in autumn and winterwear in spring and summer is a simple way to save money on online shopping. 

We’ve found that Black Friday is one of the best times to time to buy Summer style, while the January sales tend to see bigger discounts on winter wear. It’s worth being mindful of the time of year as high demand means higher prices.

Our team of money-saving experts have also put together guides on when's the best time to buy kitchen appliances, to save on video games and a calendar of the best time to buy everything.

Travel off-peak and stay out of town

An illustration representing off-peak seasons.

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Travelling out of season is also another surefire way to save. Visiting places like Thailand in the rainy season or Australia in their winter offer you cheaper prices, quieter tourist attractions, and better weather than back home. Save on accommodation too by booking out-of-town accommodation. But make sure you’re aware of increased transport costs.

If it's a hotel stay you're looking to save on, check out our guide to saving on hotel stays. It's packed with tips to cut those accommodation costs.

Get an early-bird or a last-minute travel deal

We recommend booking flights at least 3 months in advance. Plus, travelling on a Tuesday or midweek offers the lowest prices, and avoid weekends and school holidays if you're looking to save money. 

On the flip side, you may find some absolute steals on last-minute excursions. Planes and hotels are trying to fill seats and rooms. So, you might find that booking some time off and being flexible with your holiday plans is the perfect way to save.

Check your travel package

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What’s included in any packages you book is highly important; a slightly more expensive package with luggage and transfers included may land you a saving overall. Some places also offer free bookings for children with adults. So, whether it’s an extra bag for the flight or some free accommodation for the kids, it might be cheaper than splashing out on those bits separately. 

Buying phones upfront and getting SIM-only contracts

In the market for a new phone? Then buying the handset outright without a contract will cut the costs. Paying for the phone itself upfront and signing up for a SIM-only deal is a much cheaper option than paying for the handset as part of a pay monthly deal. It’s even cheaper when opting for a Chinese brand like Xiaomi or OPPO. These offer super affordable handsets that go toe-to-toe with the bigger more established names. 

With a SIM-only contract, you can get a bunch of data, texts and minutes, for a seriously low price. With flexible tariffs, you won't get locked into paying one price.

Buy second-hand gift cards

When I say second-hand gift cards, I’m talking about ones that people have received as gifts and then opted to sell for less than face value because they’d rather have the cold hard cash. There are a few marketplaces to choose from and getting a £25 gift card for £20 for example offers the potential for huge savings. Especially when you can stack a discount code on top.

Sign up for the newsletter and follow on social media

Signing up for the retailer’s newsletter also offers easy savings. Most retailers offer introductory offers and then discount codes and deals for customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while. To cut down on spam setting up a burner email account purely set up for online shopping means promotional emails won’t clutter your inbox and make you miss out on anything important. 

And now we live in 2022 following brands, particularly beauty brands, on social media will often score you exclusive discount codes as well as the chance to win items in giveaways.

Get sign up deals again with multiple email addresses

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As mentioned brands love offering introductory discounts when you sign up for the mailing list. Well, if you sign up for the mailing list with multiple email addresses you’ll be able to enjoy that offer again and again.

Price match when you shop with big retailers

Shopping online can be a bit of a minefield filled with retailers you’ve never heard of. Luckily the big names tend to offer price matches with any competitors you can find offering products at lower prices with the added benefit of increased peace of mind.

Different retailers have different processes, and while some have dedicated price match promises, you may need to do some haggling 

Haggle using the live chat feature

In the UK, the price you pay is only final until you exchange money for the item, so haggle! And that little chatbot we all close down as soon as it loads up? Well, that can be a great way to see whether the advertised price on an item is the lowest the retailer will go. Retailers generally have room to manoeuvre on the prices of big-ticket items, not everyone will buy into it but it’s always worth a go. The worst case is, they say no and you have to pay the advertised price. 

Search using photos to find low-cost alternatives

Another benefit of modern technology is using your phone camera when shopping. eBay and ASOS both let customers use images from their phone camera or a picture they’ve found to find similar items. This can be a great way to find a lower-cost alternative to something you’ve seen that you like but that is just too far out of budget. 

Buy Refurbished, Ex-Display or B-stock

As long as you’re not too fussed about not having something brand spanking new, buying refurbished, ex-display, or B-stock is an excellent way to save on your online order. So what do these terms actually mean?

  • Refurbished items are second-hand items that have been checked and possibly even repaired or reassembled. Retailers tend to offer very competitive prices on refurbished products making them a great choice for bargain hunters. So despite being second-hand with the checks they go through you can buy with confidence knowing that there are no issues with the products and you’ve got yourself a good deal. 
  • Ex-display items are exactly that. Ex-display items are products that retailers have used in-store to demonstrate how a product works or looks. The products are fully functional however they may show some signs of use or have cosmetic marks where they’ve been on shop floors and potentially handled by the public. Ex-display items don’t offer as good savings as refurbished items but they also haven’t been owned by anyone else and have possibly been used much less.
  • B-stock items are generally items that have either arrived at the retailer cosmetically damaged or returned by another customer but are still in resaleable condition. B-stock items generally don’t offer as big a saving as refurbished items but can offer much better deals than ex-display.

Shopping for these products is a particularly handy way to save if you’re making a tech purchase. Our team have written in the past about how best to buy refurbished tech and how it can help you save, as well as how much not buying the latest model can help you save.

Save money with discount codes

Discount codes are a vital part of the saving experience. With over a thousand retailers and 1,000s upon 1,000s of discount codes and deals available right here at MyVoucherCodes, it’s safe to say we’re something of an expert. 

Most retailers offer some kind of deal or discount code, and we have them all right here thanks to our deal experts, so you don’t have to go trawling the web for a bargain. We test and verify them so you can be confident you’ll get savings. And to top it off, we have exclusive discount codes, reward offers and savings advice! It's a one-stop-shop if you want to save money on online shopping.

Jordan Alexander
Food & Drink Editor

I’m Jordan and I’ve been working at MyVoucherCodes since the summer of 2021. Outside of money-saving, I’m a keen musician and guitar player and can regularly be found in a dingy venue somewhere in Bristol or perched in front of my laptop recording. When I’m not doing this you’ll find me exploring the city, watching cult B movies, reading a Stephen King or Murakami novel, or guiding the mighty Bath City to Champions League glory on Football Manager. All the cliches, I know.