How to shop online sales like a pro

Founder of I Heart Bargains, Chelsea Thomas weighs in on how to walk away with serious savings. 

We all know that overwhelming feeling that starts in the pit of your stomach, when you’ve purchased something one day and then not even a week later, you’ve discovered that same product has been slashed (along with your pride) to half price.

We’ve all been in that situation before, dwelling on the ways in which we’re going to make that money back. Impossible.

There are a few clever ways (albeit not 100% foolproof) to stop that from happening, and getting on top of what a ‘real deal’ looks like is a good place to start. So, next time you’re about to click ‘buy now’ follow these quick tricks to combat the sometimes overwhelming world of online sales.

Determine a ‘real’ sale

Many brands are on sale all year round. High-end brands tend to be more in check with their sale schedules, but others are permanently discounting their products. Make sure you determine what a real sale is so it will be most beneficial to your hip pocket. For example, Country Road and Seed run decent sales from time to time, where you get a gutsy amount off the RRP and they are worth waiting for. If it’s less than 15% off, I would keep looking.

Wear now. Pay later. Get on it.

It’s like a lay-by, but better. You receive your clothes immediately, instead of waiting until you can pay the full amount. All major Australian, online retailers, like Myer, BIG W and The Iconic have embraced AfterPay, which allows you to pay in four simple installments. You absolutely can have your cake and eat it too.

Just be sure that you dip too far into your future pockets, and that your repayments are manageable. 

Shop with an American address

Shop the brands you love from the States and get it all sent to your home in Australia. That’s what sites like My US and HopShopGo offer. This is for hardcore shoppers that want access to the big brand sales that haven’t extended their offering to Australia, yet.  Popular go-to brands in America  (that we can’t get access to with an Aussie address) include Target, Zara (my personal fave), Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade and the Coach Outlet.

Both websites set you up with an American suite address and account and then they package up your US purchases and get them delivered to your home, for a reasonable fee.

Know the rules on returns

If you have a decent amount of time to return a product then you are much more likely to have a successful outcome. If the garment doesn’t fit, for example, but the return period is only 14 days, you are most likely to be stuck with an item you’ve spent on and won’t wear. To decrease the wastage in your wardrobe, try purchasing from brands that offer an unlimited return policy like David Jones, or at least 100 days free return policy, like The Iconic.

Discount codes add up

If every time you shopped and used a discount code, you would save. Consider logging into Finder, to gain access to more than 1000 discount codes that work at check out. Also, when you first visit a retailers’ website they may offer you a small discount off your first purchase for providing your email address. Be selective but know that every percentage off, counts.

When searching sales in Google Chrome, why not try the Honey extension. The free application scales the internet for discount codes, free shipping deals and promotions that you can apply to purchases as you shop online. Hit the Honey button in your browser before you check out and see the price of your order drop. 

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