Numbers November | A newbie’s guide to…online shopping

AMtoPM online shopping

I buy a lot of things via online shopping. To the point that the post staff and I have conversations that move on from the mundane small talk they must face with other people they don’t see on a more frequent basis.

Seriously. Sometimes they ask me what I’ve bought this time

Online Shopping

I love online shopping. Why do I love it? There are many reasons.

Samples | Free samples with purchase! YES! Getting samples online are a lot easier than getting them in person.

I am meek by nature and it takes a lot of courage for me to ask for samples from associates or cashiers. I can just hear Jan scoffing at this one, but I just think asking will make me look rude (which is completely ridiculous, as it’s well within my rights as a consumer to try before I buy).

With all that said, it’s a big thing when I receive samples unsolicited in store. It’s like a winning a free scratch ticket or something.

Exclusive products you can’t buy in-store | There are some things you can only get online. Shiseido facial cotton pads at Sephora, for example. Or Charlotte Tilbury anything in Canada.

Convenience | Honestly, the older I get the more reluctant I am to hit the shops on a weekend and fight my way through a crowd of women and their shopping bags as I browse through aisles or fight for the mirror with the girls in high school who happen to be doing their makeup at Sephora or a similar store. (It happens.)

I would much prefer being able to shop and browse at my leisure with a cup of hot tea after an amazing lie-in and some Netflix in the background.

Don’t get me wrong. I like browsing through the aisles in person, but at my own convenience; not rushed and with most of the aisles empty. I love just loitering through counters and displays whilst looking at cool lipstick colours, testing out new serums and studiously reading their ingredients list. I like doing that, without the frenetic crowds and EDM or 90s music in the background while I do so.

Though there was this one time I had browsed Sephora during a lunch break and they were playing Spice Girls’ “Stop”. It was the best and the highlight of my day.

Tips and tricks to save money

Subscribe to shops for newsletters or onto their mailing lists. | I know what you’re thinking, “Who wants more mail?” Right?!

I get it…but there are so reasons to sway you into thinking otherwise.

Some newsletters give you a discount for signing up – crafty lot! In that respect, I sign up right away! If it’s a retailer or brand that I like, I’ll stay on their mailing list after the purchase is confirmed.

Some mailing lists offer up special promotions for their subscribers. A spa I like to occasionally go to emails their subscribers weekly to tell them of last-minute deals on facials. I rarely open them now – I’ve still got a few gift cards – but if you’re in need of a facial they do save you tens of dollars.

Using this scenario as an example if you were to get lucky and score three of these discounted facials a year, you could afford to do another one (discounted) with the money you saved. If you were lucky enough to book four discounted facials, you could actually save enough money to do one facial at retail price taxes and tip included!

Pro tip: Not keen on the idea of giving your email away and facing mornings bombarded by newsletters? Either create an alternate e-mail you check every so often, or filter them to go through specialized categories and bypass your inbox. Gmail users can do this; I’m unsure about any other e-mail client.

Monitor social media. | Twitter and Facebook accounts of retailers or brands sometimes provide to sales and promotions.

Try following accounts or pages that talk about deals for your country as well. I follow a few and most of them post deals that I would otherwise miss.

Sign up for cash-back sites. | Cash-back is where you get money for shopping. I have a cash-back credit card and I often get cash-back twofold: once with my card and again through the site.

Sign up with a site and log on whenever you are online shopping. Go through them first to check for cash-back offers and coupons. They will automatically redirect you to the site you’re shopping on if they are a partner.

Pro tip: Just don’t fall into the trap of spending more to earn more. That logic doesn’t actually work out well.

• Use promo codes. | Google those promos! Before I buy anything online, I tend to scour the Internet for at least ten minutes for a promo code, if I don’t have one already.

Aside: As a general rule, I don’t buy anything online unless I have a promo code and free shipping.

Throw down some major bank during an online shopping spree. | It often doesn’t make sense to do little, frequent purchases online. Especially if it’s to a site that’s not in the same country (or continent) as you. I usually wait until I hit a specific amount (anything after $75CDN) usually because that’s also when I hit free shipping.

It also just makes sense to maximize any other promotion that’s going on, though don’t go through the trouble of padding your online cart. Just buy what you need or want to try.

• Save up and wait for a sale. | It’s such an obvious one, but it always burns me when I’ve just bought something and, immediately after, a retailer casts wide the (electronic) doors for a sale. Wait if you can for a sale. Granted, it’s hard to get the timing of a sale on a shop you’ve never visited before. However, there are common times when things go on sale. Think before or after bank and statutory holidays, at the end of the year or at the mid-point.


Here’s to your success at getting the most out of your digital experience. Did I leave anything out? Leave your favourite online shopping tip in the comments below or tell us via social media!

Happy clicking!

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10 thoughts on “Numbers November | A newbie’s guide to…online shopping

    1. Hi Tanya and thanks for stopping by to comment! I know what you mean – it’s always like someone’s giving me a gift whenever I open up a purchase. It’s a great feeling for the first few moments I open up a parcel. And then I remember I paid for it and the joy dims just a teensy bit. Haha

  1. Ooo you actually use the cash back sites? I never really knew if that was a scam or not- not like a scam scam, but it almost sounds too good to be true. What sorts of stores did you shop at that rewarded you with cash back? I’m super curious now!

    Also, love the tip of searching for promo codes and scouring their social media- I always do this when I know I’m gonna go buy something- both online and in real life. It saves a lot!

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

    1. Hey Marlen! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes – I do use cash back sites. Do your due diligence, but they are quite handy (and not a scam). I’ve used cash back sites for things other than beauty, such as home accessories and electronics. The percentage sort of depends on the store, but anything is a bonus!

  2. I always search for promo codes but i usually don’t come across good promo codes often 😦
    I’m waiting until after thanksgiving to do all of my holiday shopping and get great deals.

    1. Hey Liz! Thanks for visiting and commenting. Sometimes I find that Black Friday deals aren’t as good as they are a week or two earlier, but then again, we don’t live in the States (where Black Friday is more of a bigger deal). While I would love to have an amazing code every time, it’s usually a code to shave a little bit off (usually tax). Still, it’s a lot of money when you accrue all the savings! Here’s to a more fruitful search in the future!

  3. Love these tips! I’m an avid online shopper, too. I’d take Cyber Monday over Black Friday any day! These tips are perfect for this time of year. 🙂
    Thanks for linking up at Talented Tuesday Link Party!

    1. Hi Kristina! It is a pretty spend-y time of year! Sometimes I find that the sales are a bit marked up beforehand to emphasize the discount. It all depends on what you buy, I suppose! Happy shopping!

  4. Ah, I used to subscribe to newsletters and used my email address which was especially made for newsletters.
    Online shopping is great, but I never go for shops with no return, no exchange policy.

    Whoa, Tiff you just mentioned that “Wait for a sale”~~~ yeah, I always always fell for that trap haha.. It’s very tempting, but then I’ll feel better because I get the product that I want in a lower cost.
    And as a reward to my st*pid self for spotting the “sale”, I keep on buying another item or two as additional to my purchase, got more than what I intended to buy. And the ending, sale is just becoming a temptation for me to buy more and spend more instead of saving ^_^ 🙂

    Btw, thanks for these tips! I find it useful, but maybe I’ll just have to gain spending-control after saving 🙂

    1. Hi Jhem! Yeah – lol I keep a list so I know what to buy for a sale. If it’s not on the list or it’s not something I haven’t wanted for a while, I can’t buy it! No problem and you’re so welcome! Just hoping that everyone gets some use out of these tips!

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