How to Online Shop Like a Pro

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Illustration by Alyssa Long

Christine Ho
Senior Layout Editor

As we trudge into month two (three? four?) of quarantine, many of us have found solace in online shopping. Maybe because scrolling through endless pages of product kills time and distracts us from the emptiness of our lives, or maybe because knowing your package will arrive in three to five business days gives us something to look forward to, online shopping has become even more popular recently. However, our wallets may not be agreeing with this new hobby we’ve picked up, and that is why I am here to offer some tips and tricks to use while online shopping. 

Honey

Honey is a free Chrome Web extension that scours the Web for coupon codes for your purchase. Before checking out, click the Honey icon on your toolbar, and it will automatically start inputting coupon codes for you. Just check out the Chrome Web Store to start using Honey today! 

Rakuten (Ebates)

Rakuten (previously known as Ebates) is a website as well as a Web extension that gives you cashback on purchases. They offer anywhere from 1-15 percent cashback on hundreds of online stores, and all you have to do is either activate the Web extension or visit the online store via Rakuten’s website. Cashback options include receiving a physical check, getting paid via PayPal, or receiving membership rewards points for American Express cardholders. 

Credit Card cashback

Another way to get cashback is directly through your credit card bank. Major banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citi, etc.) offer different cashback options, and you can save money by paying attention and activating those offers! For example, Bank of America offers individual cashback deals with vendors that change from month to month, but cardholders can also get three percent cashback on a category of their choice (online shopping, dining, travel, etc.). Cardholders can change this preference once a month. Chase and Citibank both offer quarterly cashback deals. For this quarter, Citi is offering five percent on drug stores and Amazon, and Chase is offering five percent cashback on grocery stores, fitness memberships, and select streaming services. 

Flash Sale Sites

Flash sales are two- to three-day sales where products are being offered at a heavy discount. Many online clothing stores have been having flash sales in order to boost business, and a good way to keep track of these or to be notified when your favorite brands are on sale is through flash sale sites. Gilt is a flash sale site that focuses primarily on luxury and high-end brands. Hautelook is a subsidiary of Nordstrom, and also has flash sales with new brands every day. Plus, for Nordstrom credit cardholders, Hautelook purchases carry the same benefits!

Location

My final tip is a weird one, but consider changing the location of the online shop you are shopping at, and change your location accordingly. This is because if the store is located somewhere with different seasons, their sale items will differ from those they offer to U.S. customers. By changing locations, you may be able to find better deals on items that are in season for the U.S., and not in other countries!

Christine Ho
Christine Ho is a fourth year double major in English and Communication. She started making layouts as a freshman in college when she joined The Catalyst, a magazine at UCSB. She has since brought her love for design over to TBL as a layout editor for the newspaper. In her free time, she enjoys doing yoga, hanging out with her two dogs, and watching Michael Schur sitcoms.

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