The Best Way to Save Money While Shopping Online, According to Experts

Whether you’re worried about your job security or trying to pay down debt, there are plenty of good reasons to put away a little extra cash these days. It’s not just maxing out your IRA or brown bagging your lunch that can help you keep more money in the bank, though. If you want to save money on the things you’re buying online on a regular basis, from groceries to clothes to housewares, there’s one simple trick for doing so that experts swear by: using a browser extension.

“You’re already shopping these retailers, so why not earn a little extra cash back on your purchase?” asks consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with, who recommends browser extension Rakuten for major savings. While Ramhold cautions that not every product category is included in deals on these extensions, in many cases, you can get a ton of cash back.

“For instance, Old Navy might have a regular rate of two percent cash back, but during special events, that amount could jump to six percent or more, depending on the [extension] you use,” explains Ramhold, who notes that these small rewards can add up to major savings over time. However, that’s far from the only way to keep more cash in your bank account. Read on to discover what experts recommend for saving big when you’re shopping online. And if you want to stop wasting money when you shop, make sure to avoid The 20 Worst Things to Buy at Walmart.


Use a rewards credit card.

Asian woman on her tablet holding a credit card
Asian woman on her tablet holding a credit card

When you’re shopping online, why not get rewarded for doing so with a rewards credit card?

“Even if it’s only one percent cash back or points per dollar, those are some savings that can add up. Those rewards could translate to an account credit, or even pay for future purchases,” says Ramhold. And if you’re looking for savings around the house, check out these 50 Easy DIY Home Hacks.


Take advantage of store loyalty programs.

white hand pulling loyalty card out of wallet
white hand pulling loyalty card out of wallet

Have a few retailers you’re particularly fond of? Make sure to sign up for their loyalty programs to save big.

“If you shop a particular store often, it’s worth signing up for these programs, especially if they’re free,” says Ramhold. “Often these programs offer special savings, exclusive coupons, and free gifts or incentives during your birthday month,” as well as the occasional sign-up bonus, says Ramhold.


Sign up for retail newsletters.

white hand holding phone with newsletter sign up on it
white hand holding phone with newsletter sign up on it

Instead of going out and searching for deals, Ramhold recommends having them delivered directly to you by signing up for retail newsletters.

“These are another perk that tends to offer a sign up bonus of some kind,” says Ramhold, who explains that most retailers will offer a coupon for 10 to 25 percent off your first purchase when you sign up. Better yet, when you sign up, “You’ll often be the first to know when sales start or even hear about them ahead of time.” And for more great information delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.


Use price matching.

Cropped shot of a young woman using a digital tablet while relaxing at home
Cropped shot of a young woman using a digital tablet while relaxing at home

Feel like you could get a better price on that must-have item? If you can find a competitor offering a better deal, try price matching, suggests Ramhold.

“Check with your favorite stores, as most of them probably have a price match policy,” she explains, noting that these deals are often paused during major sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, however. So, where can you score these sweet deals? Best Buy, Target, Staples, Home Depot, and Lowe’s all have price matching policies on the books, just to name a few.


Ask for price adjustments.

middle aged black man looking at receipt
middle aged black man looking at receipt

You may even be able to save money on something you purchased online after the transaction is completed. How, you ask?

At some stores, “If something drops in price at that store after you’ve bought it, you can be refunded the difference,” says Ramhold. Some stores you likely already shop at already have these policies in place—Target, for instance, will price match up to 14 days after your purchase.


Use a rounding program.

Woman on a dating app
Woman on a dating app

Saving money every time you shop is simple: just use a rounding program!

“Some debit cards and other programs offer you the ability to round your purchases up,” explains Ramhold. “The extra cash from rounding is put into a savings account.” And if you’re wondering if you’re due some cash, If You’re Unemployed in One of These 32 States, Expect an Extra $300 Soon.


Use store credit cards.

a stack of credit cards
a stack of credit cards

Don’t break out any credit card to pay with when you’re shopping online. Instead, use a store-specific card and you can save major cash.

“For example, Costco offers a five percent discount on all purchases if the shopper uses their Costco Anywhere Visa,” explains Zach Weiner, owner and CEO of Restaurant Accounting.


Use overseas versions of travel websites.

Buying plane tickets booking cheap flights
Buying plane tickets booking cheap flights

Simply switching to another country’s version of a website when booking travel can help you keep more cash in your pocket.

“The next time you are taking a trip abroad, load up Google Translate and head to the local site of the airline and see what kind of deals you can score,” suggests retirement coach Marco Sison, founder of Nomadic FIRE. For instance, “Using LATAM Airlines’ Colombia site can save you 50 percent versus booking on LATAM’s US website,” Sison explains.


Come up with a list of alternate products before you shop.

online shopping sale woman buying
online shopping sale woman buying

The ability to easily comparison shop is one of the best things about the internet, so before you start adding things to your cart, make a list of other products that could get the job done if the one you’re most eager to buy is prohibitively expensive.

“Think about similar, but less expensive, alternatives. This will help you figure out ways to achieve the same result more affordably,” suggests Timo Wilson, CEO of ASAP Credit Solutions.


Make a wish list.

Cropped shot of a woman checking off tasks on a chore list at home
Cropped shot of a woman checking off tasks on a chore list at home

Similarly, making a list of purchases you want to make in the future can help you budget better while ignoring that little voice screaming “add to cart!”

“[This] can go a long way toward preventing impulse buying. And this will help you decide whether the item is a necessity or just a want,” explains Wilson.


Sign up for rewards sites

young woman excited about shopping online
young woman excited about shopping online

If you want to not only save money, but actually make money while you shop online, start by signing up for the right sites.

“Use rewards sites like Swagbucks and TopCashBack,” suggests Robert Farrington, founder of The College Investor. “Each of these shopping sites offers discounts and rewards for shopping through their site,” and there are thousands of retailers to choose from, Farrington explains. And if you want to save cash every time you shop, There’s a Secret Store on Amazon With Tons of Popular Items on Sale.


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