I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for shopping online. (Especially on sites like Etsy, where every handmade planter seems to be calling my name.) But I’ve learned the hard way not to give in to temptation, especially now that I’m focused on saving. With help from Rebecca Lehman of Brad’s Deals, an online resource for promo codes and sales, here are some resolutions I’ve set for myself that all you spendthrifts might want to steal.
1. I Will Ask for Discounts
Why? Because Lehman says I can. “If you can’t find a promo code, hop on the retailer’s live chat and ask if there’s a coupon they can give you,” she suggested in an email. “They may say no, but you’d be surprised.”
2. I Will Always Search for Promo Codes
No discount? Better to put a promo code on it. Shopping any other way would be uncivilized (and a waste of money). Here’s a list of good places to check.
3. I Will Check Return Policies
As Lehman so aptly wrote, “the last thing you want is to discover the rice cooker you bought three months ago on sale for your niece’s wedding is outside the return window when it turns out she got two.” See also: Getting stuck with that ill-fitting swimsuit. Shudder.
4. I Will Measure & Mock Up
If I’m buying an item of furniture or anything else for my home, I’m measuring every inch and cutting out a piece of paper in the appropriate size to see how it’ll look. Yes, it’s much more fun to just shop and be done with it, but I did this with my gallery wall, and trust me, it was worth it. (Fewer nail holes? Priceless.) When shopping for your home, which I tend to do often, it’s important to plan for bottlenecks (hallways, stairs) and proportions (how will this look over the couch?) before plunking down plastic.
5. I Will Not Pay for Shipping
Paying for shipping is often pointless. It’s money you don’t have to spend, and when you do spend it, you feel like a fool. (Which is easy to do, because shipping isn’t factored in sales prices.) I resolve to dig for whatever promo code or coupon will get me out of this invidious cost. Otherwise, I’m waiting to buy the item to make sure that I really want it.
6. I Will Read the Details
No more ordering art prints only to find they’re the size of a postcard. This is the year I will click the “Item Details” section in Etsy and other online shopping websites, because this is what smart humans do when they’re paying good money to acquire a nice item. And when they want said item not to be a surprise and wind up in their closet, gathering dust.
Remember, it’s also important when shopping online to use best Internet safety practices: stick to trusted retailers and encrypted websites, avoid storing credit card information and monitor statements regularly for signs of fraud. You can also check your credit if you have any reason to believe deeper identity theft is a possibility. (You can do so by pulling your credit reports for free each year on AnnualCreditReport.com and viewing your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)
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