With festive season coming up, budgets becoming tighter and social distancing in cue, online shopping has emerged as a popular shopping method. Many of my followers have asked how they can maximise savings, secure the best deals and curb unnecessary spending with all the digital temptations.
Over the years, I have cultivated 7 hacks to shop mindfully, avoid regretful purchases and even earn some money while we shop online!
1) Bookmark sales
There are major sales across the year that people should take advantage of: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Click Frenzy, Mid-Season and Boxing Day to name just a few. I like to bookmark these events in my calendar, so I can organise and schedule major purchases around these sales. Often, we hold out on purchasing items, in the hopes that a sale will come. By pencilling in major sales ahead of time, it provides you the space to calmly prepare and plan for sales.
It can be time consuming and difficult to keep track of every sale, but Cashrewards notifies you of the best deals and sales across Australia. When you download the app, you also get access to exclusive coupons, discounts, instore rewards and specials, so you can keep more money in your pocket.
2) Earn money back on your shopping
If you’re going to purchase items, why not make money from the transaction? I use Cashrewards to get a certain percentage of cashback from my shopping. The platform offers some of the most competitive cashback rates and it’s super simple to use: just download their browser extension so when you shop online, Cashrewards can inform you of whether the brand offers cashback. You can also get cashback in-store at selected stores. Just link your Visa or Mastercard before shopping
Each time the cashback comes through, I have put the money towards My $1000 Project, which has quickly added up over time and helped me achieve my financial goals. The cashback is on top of any other offers/deals offered by the retailer, so you can stack your savings.
3) Make a list so you don’t get distracted
When we’re shopping online, there are a lot of temptations: targeted ads and a treasure trove of recommendations. We can lose track of time and become unaware of how many items we have actually put in our cart. To curb impulse spending, write a decisive list of everything you need and refrain from purchasing items outside of the list. This provides a clear purpose and prevents us from going astray.
4) Check what you already own.
Often, we purchase things that are similar to what we already have. While there is nothing wrong with having multiple pairs of the same product, sometimes we don’t realise how similar in function/purpose/aesthetic our existing items are. We become wrapped up in the allure of the new or forget that there’s an identical item hiding in the corners.
5) Check the return policy
Before committing to a purchase, make sure the company has a flexible return policy. Sometimes items look different online, than they do in person or become damaged in the mail. You should have the confidence that you can return or exchange the items if they’re not to your standards.
6) Stick with brands you know
I’m a loyal shopper and believe in relying on tried and trusted brands. You have a greater understanding of the quality/durability of the items, as well as the level of customer care.
Australian businesses are known for their quality and I believe in supporting our local economy. Cashrewards is Australian owned and partners with over 1500 trusted brands, including home grown companies.
7) Always create a budget.
Budgets help set the parameters for what you can and can’t spend, preventing impulsive purchases and keeping your finances in check. Before you go shopping, lay down exactly how much you can afford to spend and stay within these boundaries, so you don’t jeopardise your financial goals.
And don’t feel obliged to spend the entire budget, only purchase what you truly value. Any remaining savings can be transferred into a financial goals account.
Shopping online can be fun, rewarding and cost effective. While we often hear of shopping addiction stemming from digital temptation, these 7 hacks will enable you to keep your finances under control, whilst satisfying your shopping desires. It’s been a long and difficult year – you deserve to treat yourself, as long as you do it mindfully.
Canna Campbell is the founder and director of SASS Financial Services, a boutique financial planning firm. She is Channel 9’s exclusive ‘money expert’, founder of financial media platform SugarMamma.TV and best selling author of The $1000 Project and Mindful Money.