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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

4 Ways to Shop Smarter Online

In the last year, over 68% of Americans shopped online—25% of which shop online at least once per month. For many, online shopping is a must because it provides everything at the click of a button. And usually with express shipping! With more and more consumers turning to online retailers instead of brick-and-mortar stores, it’s important that we review a few easy ways to shop smarter online. 

1. Ignore arbitrary time-limits on special offers

Have you ever run across a flashing number at the top of your screen, reminding you to check-out within 15 minutes to score that amazing deal? Don’t let the timer fool you. Time limits on special offers are often falsified in order to provide a sense of urgency—tricking many consumers into buying things they normally wouldn’t buy, just to score a “great deal.” 

Instead, stick to websites and products that show the price without a timer. You’ll score the same great deals, while also allowing yourself the time to change your mind if you decide you don’t actually need a product. 

2. Shop with a list

Yes, you should shop with a list—even online. Shopping with a list is proven to help consumers only buy the necessities. By sticking to your list, you’ll be less likely to click “Add to Cart” on items that grab your attention during the moment, but spend the next 10 years gathering dust in your basement or closet.

3. Avoid buying extra just to qualify for free shipping

Another big shopping mistake is adding on extra items just to reach a website’s minimum for free shipping. While it might end up saving you $5.99 on shipping costs, adding those extra items can push your total even higher, sticking you with an item you didn’t really need in the first place. If you’re looking to snag free shipping, stick to websites that offer it without minimum purchase amounts, or make sure the extra item you’re buying is something that you actually want and will use in the long-run. 

4. Don’t let websites “remember” your payment information

When you save your payment information on every website, you multiple your chances of your information getting stolen when someone hacks into one of the websites. Instead, utilize services from your financial institution like a Digital Wallet or Click to Pay. With these services, you can easily save your payment information in one spot while only allowing a retailer access to the necessary information at the point of purchase. To learn more about Community Financial’s digital options and security features, check out our website at cfcu.org/DigitalWallet.


Your Turn:  How do you shop smarter online? Tell us your online shopping tips and tricks in the comments!


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