23 Insider hacks to save more than £300 a year shopping online

23 Insider hacks to save more than £300 a year shopping online

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

From abandoning your basket to timing your spree right, we’ve got 23 proven tips that’ll help you save money next time you’re shopping online.

In the past year, 82% of UK households made purchases online. Today, online shopping has never been more popular. So, in response, we’ve got 23 proven tips that could help you save more than £300 every year.

From abandoning your basket to shopping mid-week, these thrifty hacks will see you reap the rewards of online shopping. You could even save a third from your weekly food shop…

1. Save your shopping for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

According to consumer research, most people tend to do their online shopping between Sunday and Monday. However, retailers tend to offer discounts on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, though this can vary from shop to shop.

But, if you wait until the middle of the week, you could potentially save a lot of money on the items you are looking for.

2. Check store tags to see what is going to be put on sale

For those who like to look in-store before making a purchase online, you could gain trade secrets from checking the tags of products – particularly clothing. In preparation for sales, letters and numbers are often scribbled on tags. If you do see these scribbles, you might want to hold off before buying and check back in a week or so to see if that item has made its way to the sale.

3. Christmas in July

Time your shopping with the seasons to get the best deals. For instance, look at buying coats for the coming winter in March. For those thinking of summer, start shopping for your outfits in early winter and take advantage of the clearance offers.

4. Abandon your basket and keep an eye on it

If you put something in your basket, start the checkout process, and then abandon it before it’s time to pay, there’s a chance brands will try to lure you back with discount codes. Generally, the higher value the item, the bigger the discount.

While this isn’t guaranteed, it’s certainly worth a go.  

5. Use a cashback site to save up to £300 each year

Although you probably won’t get the money back right away, you can get money back on what you buy (usually a percentage of the purchase) by using cashback sites. If you consistently use them, the pounds can soon add up, with Top Cashback suggesting you can save up to £300 per year.

6. Make sure the delivery fee is refunded if you return an item within 14 days

It has been reported that retailers are sitting on £4.6 billion in unreturned delivery fees due to customers not realising they are entitled to that money back. If you return an item within 14 days, you should get a refund for the price of the goods and the standard postage costs paid for home delivery. If the initial delivery cost is not applied to the refund, make sure to ask for it.

7. Say it’s your birthday

Lots of stores offer freebies, coupons or discounts for your birthday, so cash in on them! To be eligible, most retailers require you to be signed up to their loyalty programme and/or newsletter, so get yourself enrolled for lots of extra birthday goodies.

8. Haggle for discount codes with live chats

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Next time that little online chat pop-up appears on your screen, instead of shutting it down, ask the agent if they have any promo codes that they would be willing to share with you. It might not always work, but it’ll be worth it even if it does a handful of times.

The same goes for if you have a discount code that no longer works. They might just send the new ones via the chat.

9. Use this tool to get Amazon free delivery

Did you know that there is a tool to scour Amazon to help you get free delivery? If you need to get over the £20 threshold for free delivery, this tool will find the cheapest item to add to your basket to get you there.

Some items it will top up your basket with include paprika seasoning mix, costing £0.50, to Dove beauty cream wash at £1.

10. Buy second-hand

At this current time, more people are looking to sell than ever before. In April 2020 (during the UK lockdown), Google searches for Amazon - which sells a wide range of pre-owned items for the savvier shopper - rose by a staggering 47% compared to the same period last year. Likewise, searches for eBay increased by 26%.

If you check out the above sites and the likes of Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for second-hand goods, you might just get lucky and bag a bargain.

11. Avoid branded items to save a third of your weekly food shop

This one’s particularly pertinent for your food shop. Switch some branded items to non-branded items to save around a third from your weekly shop. If you don’t like it, you can always switch back. But, more often than not, you can’t even taste the difference - but your bank account can see it.

12. Use your coupons in the right order

If you’ve got more than one coupon at your disposal, make sure you use them wisely. For example, let’s say you have a £10 voucher and a 20% off coupon. Use the 20% off first to get the most money off the larger amount, and then use the £10 voucher for extra savings.

13. Set up Google Alerts to track when prices drop

If the item(s) you want isn’t on sale now, set up a Google Alert to be notified when it is. This way, you’ll be ready to pounce as soon as the price drops.

14. Sign up to newsletters

More often than not, when you sign up to a retailer’s newsletter, a welcome email will land in your inbox. In that email, there will, typically, be some sort of welcome discount. It doesn’t cost a thing to sign-up - just a second or two of your time, so get yourself signed up to as many as you can.

15. Use Groupon for up to 70% in savings

We also recommend taking a look at Groupon. You can get up to a whopping 70% off anything from food and holidays to massages and clothes.

16. Use Google Shopping

If you’re shopping with a specific item in mind, head to Google Shopping before you buy. This is where you can compare online prices and see where you can bag the best deal.

17. Hunt for deals

Spend some time rooting through online deal forums, like hotukdeals, dealnews.com, and Voucher Codes. Your persistence will be rewarded.

18. Pick up in-store for free

To save on postage, if you can, get your item sent to a local store and pick it up for free. Many stores are operating new social distancing measures and, in some cases, you can have your items brought straight to your car.

19. Stock up during sales

If you know you buy the same thing regularly - like your shampoo, washing up liquid or favourite foundation, stock up when you see it’s on sale. If it’s not perishable and you know you’ll use it down the line, it’s a no brainer.

20. Join loyalty programmes

This can be a bit of a slow burner, but it’s worth it when the time to cash in finally comes around. It’s probably only worth it for sites you regularly use though, otherwise it could literally take years to be rewarded.

21. Clear your cookies and go incognito

Dynamic pricing is when retailers show different customers different prices depending on their shopping habits. If you’re a regular shopper, they might assume you’re willing to pay anything to get your goods and bump the price up as a result. To avoid being rumbled, clear your cookies and go incognito in your browser.

22. Follow your favourite brands on social media

This way, you’ll be hot on the pulse of any upcoming sales and discounts.

23. Head to online outlet stores

They sell the same quality items as their non-outlet counterparts, but for a fraction of the price. Don’t get your hopes up too high though because there are limited quantities things tend to sell out pretty quick.


Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

23 Insider hacks to save more than £300 a year shopping online 23 Insider hacks to save more than £300 a year shopping online