Ok so here’s the deal. As a student we spend most of our time online be it for course research, social networking, shopping or simply just playing online games. We enjoy the internet and most definitely glad to be born in an era where internet is already widely used way before we actually see the need of it. However, the only thing that annoys me the most are the advertisement banners. It’s “Sale, “Discounts”, “Clearance”, “Final Reduction”, and “Buy Now” all that simply leads to SPENDING MONEY. Well first of all most of us still live on pocket money from our parents or probably on a minimal wage from our part time or temporary jobs and although I have personally felt tempted by these adverts many times, money just don’t fall off the sky.
Well here’s the issue, we still need to shop too one day or rather and let me share a few tips on how to shop smart. In a nutshell we should all know that items bought off physical shops are generally 15% – 25% more expensive as compared to getting it online. Why if you may ask, well online shops do not have to pay for the overhead cost (promoters, cashier, etc), no high rental, ridiculous electricity bill for blasting their air-cond and lights 10 hours a day and not forgetting, the decorative items and classy furnitures for the shop. So now, let me share how we can save when already saving by shopping online.
1. Buying At The Right Time
“Perfect time to spend my wages”
It’s a natural cycle for all businesses, or should I say most businesses to come to a point where they will be in need of additional cash flow to purchase newer and better products. We know technology and even fashion changes so drastically with time so it’s best to get rid of older models and make some cash out of them before they actually lose its value. Leveraging on older stocks, businesses would market and advertise on high sales and discounts in hopes to draw in traffic and to possibly tempt these shoppers with their newer stocks where of course, the marketed discounts and sales are not applicable to. These sales periods usually comes in line with festive seasons where the shopping spirit is at its highest such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, Raya, etc. Be smart and shop during sales period, if you had an eye on something a while back age, make a comparison now and you will see the difference – 30% to 50% in most cases. All you need to do is to simply be a little patient and not be a fool to shop at a time when there are no sales when you know for a fact sale happens at least twice to four times in a year.
2. Search for Coupons and Promo Codes
“All I have to do now is find a big file for all these coupons”
Call me cheapskate but when it comes to shopping online, one of the advantages are the widely available discount codes. Before checking out on your purchase, take just a minute off and simply type “Discount Code (followed by the name on the online shop)” on Google. Depending on the items you are about to purchase, there’s a very high chance of a code popping up. They may range from 5% to 10% off depending on promotion period. Why so little you may ask? Well guess what, you almost checked out your item without any discounts at all. There are times however, where the codes will not come in the form of discounts but as gifts, such as a welcome token or at times, even a voucher to shop at another shopping website. Well to me, it’s still something additional so it’s a plus point.
3. Use The Right Payment Method
“Which credit card should be the next victim of over expenditure.”
I believe discounts from credit cards is not something new to most people, but since we are on this topic, let me just share a little more on it. Be aware that discounts from cards vary from the issuing bank and it would be best to check on all discounts from all the available cards you have before making the purchase. When I mean cards that we have here I am making reference to our parents, relatives, people who we are close with. Borrow their cards for the purchase and just inform them that we will return the payment to them in cash. Trust me it’s a win-win situation, we get the discounts we want and they get the points they can earn from us using their credits cards. Card discounts can go up to 15% off and to me this is a real bargain especially for something we earn without any effort put in.
However, although it’s a common mind set to think that credit cards usually offer better discounts, try checking out the discounts for cash payments too. Personally I have shopped from a couple of site before where they provide better discounts when making a payment in cash terms. This would usually mean an online transfer to the seller’s account or cash upon delivery. From my experience the discounts may go up as high as 15%, but bear in mind that there is a risk in using this payment method as you are literally banking in cash to someone you do not know of for something not yet given to you. Make sure the online site is reputable and trustworthy, and honestly, it’s not difficult to spot a reliable one from a shoddy one. pan>
4. Sign Up As A Member
“I’m a member of so many accounts it’s like a troop of duplicated clones”
Sounds simple? Well it actually is. Companies are more than will spend just to get members who after a few visits to the website may turn into potential customers and start spending, hence contributing to the company’s profit. This process of spending for members is also known as acquisition cost. Most times when you sign up as a member you will get a complimentary in house credit or discount code depending on the time of sign up and promotion period. Credits can go up as high as RM50 while discounts as good as 15%. However, do also be attentive to the terms and condition for these credits as in most times, there is usually a minimum spend before the credit can be utilized.
Another benefit of becoming a member is that most times, for the website to encourage spend, these companies will constantly shower you will credits and discount codes to hopefully tempt you to just spend with them. Well when you have these codes, be smart and buy things that you only need and not just for the sake of satisfying your shopping urge. Be strong, stay firm and not fall for their marketing gimmicks because if we do, then the whole point of saving money through online shopping is just going to be a wasted effort.
5. Invite Your Friends
“And now a secret… please sign up so I get free in house credits”
Have you ever been approached by a friend of yours to sign up as a member for a random shopping site through a particular URL link or invite code shared by them be it via Whatsapp, SME or email? Or have you ever been invited to sign up as a member by sites you have never even visited before making you wonder how they ever got your contact details in the first place? Well guess what, your friends are probably working this saving tip on you are a part of it. This is how it works, as I shared earlier, companies go through all means to expand their members’ base and somehow one of the most effective way is through incentivizing referrals.
The formula is simple, you get what you work for. Some companies can pay up to RM20 or even RM30 in house credits for a single successful referral (which means your referral actually signs up as a member). So in short, the more you refer, the more you get and it doesn’t just end there. There are sites that reward you whenever your referrals actually spend online, so now the process just got even more interesting as there’s more to earn. It wouldn’t be much, probably around the region of RM10 to RM20 in the form of house credits, but something is still better than nothing. So go around and start forcing your friends spend online but make sure you do it subtly where you wouldn’t lose all your friends one day. >
6. Just Leave It In The Shopping Cart
“Time to load up the cart ladies and gents … and leave it there …”
Now this is probably one method that most of you might not have heard of and one reason why so it’s because it requires quite a bit of patience involved. It’s not exactly a common practice for most online shopping sites, but who knows, your regular shopping site might be one of the very few with this marketing practice. If you never try, you never know, so here’s how it works. Shop just like how you usually do, browse through your shopping site, select your items, add them into your shopping cart, enter your shopping cart to have a better look at it just to make sure it’s what you had in mind, key in your details for delivery, click check out and stop there! Yes, stop there, do not process any payment confirmation on your items, exit your shopping cart with your pending purchase still in it and just go about with whatever you want to do next with you life.
Leave the item pending in your cart for about 3 days or so and just like a plant, you will see your patience bear its fruits, and in this case, it’s in the form of discount or credits. From purchasing an item at a normal price you have now gotten it slashed to by about 5% in most cases. The “Cause” in this scenario is when you gave your online retailer the impression that you are a serious buyer keen on making the purchase but then decided to take a few days off to think about your purchase which then sparked the “Effect”. The “Effect” here is where the online retailer no longer wants to take the risk of you taking any longer to decide whether or not you still want that item and then decides to offer you some additional credits or discounts to further increase your chances of buying that item before you actually decide not to. There you go, you landed yourself with some good savings just by playing the game.
So there you have it, 6 simple secrets how we can save from shopping online. Bear in mind that not all the above secrets work for every site, it varies from one site to another but if you are able to get at least one of the top to work, consider it as a winning point already and if you are able to get more than one of the above to work in your favor, looks like you’ve mastered the skills to shopping smart online.
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