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Top 10 tips for shopping online

Updated: Jan 4

Even before Covid-19 restrictions forced us all to shop online, Irish people had embraced the idea of shopping from their sofas.

And with great deals, faster deliveries, and free returns policies becoming more common, buying this way is here to stay.

So how do you become a savvy shopper when buying online?

These 10 tips show you how:

1. Use multiple email addresses to take advantages of free trials or sign up deals

Many digital products offer great new customer deals to get you on board. Their hope is that you’ll like it enough to want to stay at a higher premium, will forget to cancel, or just not want to go to the trouble of cancelling the service. However, if you’re savvy, it doesn’t take long to use different email addresses to join and enjoy their special rates all over again. Some will require you to use a different debit / credit card with the new email address.

2. Always look for a discount

There are several ways you can find a discount online:

· Do a google search for <’Brand’ + promo code> or <’Brand’ + discount code>. For example: Littlewoods Ireland + discount code.

· Owned by Paypal, Honey is a browser extension that automatically searches many of your favourite shopping sites for discounts. Once you visit a website, Honey notifies you if there is a deal available

· Browse online deals sites like Pigsback.com, Groupon.ie or checkout SavvySpender.ie deals section.

· Before you make a purchase, do a google search for the product you're about to buy. Click on the 'shopping' tab and you will see a price comparison across different stores that sell the product.

3. Use online cashback sites like Quidco and Topcashback.

These sites help you get cash back on your purchases. Then at any time you can transfer the money to your bank or Revolut account.

4. Don’t spend too long searching for discounts on low margin products.

Some industries work off lower margins than others. If for example, you’re shopping for groceries online then you can expect the value to be based on lower margins. However, if you wanted to buy a new TV then you should look around for the best deal as margins tend to be higher.

5. Always pay in the local currency if buying from a non-EU site. Don’t let the site convert it to Euros for you.

Ignoring this tip can really catch people out. Sites like Amazon or payment platforms like Paypal will often suggest or default to converting the cost of an item into euros for you. However, when they do that they can take quite a hefty fee. Always look for a way to pay in local currency and allow your bank to convert for you instead. The fee will usually be a lot less.

6. Use a multi-currency account like Revolut to avoid foreign exchange conversion fees completely

A big advantage of using a Revolut card is that allows to you avoid paying currency conversion fees on major currencies assuming you have exchanged less than €5,000 in a given month*. One Revolut account can be split into a sterling account and a Euro account. So if you’re buying on a UK site you can use GBP to pay for it. Transferwise offers a similar service.

7. Ensure you’re comparing like-for-like when doing online price comparisons

Watch out for any hidden fees e.g. VAT, penalties for not paying by a certain date, or expensive delivery charges.

8. Take a look at things like returns policies of the site

This is especially important when it comes to clothes as items will often not fit or suit properly. A costly or long money-back returns policy may hit your monthly cashflow.

9. Use Trustpilot to verify whether the site is too good to be true

You may find some great site with amazing deals. But can you trust them? This is where Trustpilot comes into its own by sharing experience previous customers have had with them.

10. Know your consumer rights.

You have more rights than you think and you can discover them here.

* for more details visit: https://www.revolut.com/en-IE/legal/fees#exchange

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