Become a savvy online shopper

Become a savvy online shopper

Discover the secrets you need to know to save big money online

The internet has made shopping so much easier. Why pay exorbitant car-parking charges or fight your way through crowded high streets and shop aisles when you can buy almost anything online and have it delivered directly to your door? But did you know that there are countless tricks that can be employed to make sure that you almost never have to pay full price for the stuff you buy online? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned online shopper or a complete newcomer to world of web-commerce, we have a bunch of ideas that could save you a packet.

Compare everything, anywhere

Price-comparison sites are exceptionally popular, so they’re probably not news to you, even if you’re a first-time online shopper. The likes of Price Runner and Google Shopping are great for finding the cheapest prices for almost any type of goods. But don’t forget that many specialist comparison services also exist. My Supermarket, for example, allows you to price up grocery baskets across popular supermarkets, while you can use Cable.co.uk to find the best broadband, TV and phone deals.

If you own a smartphone then take advantage of free apps that let you do easy comparisons anywhere. Download the Google Shopper app for Apple iOS or Android devices and you’ll be able to scan barcodes to check you’re not being overcharged when shopping in the real world.

Download the Google Shopper app to your smartphone to compare prices anywhere

Grab some vouchers

Vouchers and discount codes are another brilliant way to bag big discounts. Traditionally you’d have to wait for some generous retailer to post or email you a discount offer, but these days you can find vouchers for anything – instantly.

One of the best websites for this purpose is Hot UK Deals. Either peruse the current most popular deals or use the ‘Find Voucher Codes’ box on the right to hunt for discounts from particular retailers, or on particular products.



Find the latest voucher codes in seconds at Hot UK Deals

Other great voucher sites to visit include VoucherCodes.co.uk, VoucherCloud and MyVoucherCodes.

Join a cash-saving community 

Of course, there are loads of money-saving communities online. The best known is probably Money Saving Expert, created by TV’s ubiquitous Martin Lewis. It’s such a sprawling site that you could spend a lifetime exploring all it has to offer. Our advice is to sign up for its email newsletter. Just tap your email address into the box on the right-hand side of the home page and click the red ‘Get It!’ button. Then, once a week, you’ll receive an email heads-up on the best current deals.

We’d also strongly recommend delving into Money Saving Expert’s forum pages. Here’s where you’ll find red-hot shopping tips from the community. Basically, if a new deal surfaces, it’ll often be flagged on the forum pages first. From the home page, just click the ‘Forum’ link at the top (or for even quicker navigation, click the down-pointing arrow alongside and then you can click to jump straight to a section of interest).


 

Money Saving Expert’s forums are a great place to get a heads-up on the latest deals

Demand a price match

To become a really savvy online shopper, you must investigate price-match promises. Plenty of retailers operate these lowest-price guarantees but few boast about them, because obviously they’d rather you pay their full asking price.

John Lewis, for example, promises to match the price of any national competitor, either in-store or online, and this even includes sale prices. For full details of the company’s Never Knowingly Undersold promise, click the eponymous link at the foot of its website.

Currys goes one better, promising not only to match prices but also to beat them by 10% of the difference if you find goods cheaper from a list of key competitors. Click the ‘Price Promise’ link at the foot of the Currys home page (under ‘Shopping with Currys’) to learn how it works.

Money Saving Expert’s forums are a great place to get a heads-up on the latest deals

Pick up a daily deal 

The past couple of years have seen the rise of another great way to bag online bargains: daily deals. As the name hints, these are offers that are typically available for one day only.

The market leader here is Groupon, which offers at least one time-limited local deal each day for cities all around the world including dozens in the UK. You can expect anything from a half-price spa day to a burger meal for a third of its normal price.

Daily-deals websites like Groupon offer substantial discounts on time-limited deals

Another popular daily deals site is Wowcher, which is focused on the female market. If the garish pink design doesn’t put you off, you’ll find brilliant deals on jewellery, make-up and exercise equipment.

Cash in with clearance offers 

Finally, just as in the real world, the best online buys are often to be found in the bargain bin. If you know where to look, you’ll often find pristine products being hawked at knockdown prices.

Some online retailers offer clearance or refurbished goods at knockdown prices

The secret is to look for a section headed ‘Clearance’ or ‘Refurbished’ or similar. Click the ‘Clearance corner’ link at the top of the Dabs.com home page, for instance, and you’ll find hundreds of gadgets at discount prices. At other stores, you have to dig a little deeper but it’s usually worth the effort. For example, visitors to Pixmania won’t find a front-page link to clearance offers, but drill down to the Computing department and you’ll discover a ‘Refurbished and used computers’ section. There are some amazing buys here including deep discounts on the latest Advent computers.