Shameless Hacks: Online Shopping, Part 1

I hate going shopping.


Breaking: Woman defies stereotype. No peace prize awarded.

I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I’m leaning towards the physical experience of it. Malls are gross and crowded, there’s never any parking, I feel weird going in and out of stores without buying anything… and if I do, I usually regret it pretty soon after.


MRW impulse buying more garbage from Forever 21

I already mentioned my habit of buying groceries online, so it probably comes as no surprise that all my other shopping is online as well. That said, I’ve found a few hacks that keep my bank account (and antisocial tendencies) happy, even when I want to get a little fancy.

1. Know Your Measurements

If you haven’t done this recently, measure yourself and mark these numbers somewhere you’ll remember to look next time you browse online. This will take most of the guesswork out of ordering clothes off the internet. Sizes vary from retailer to retailer, designer to designer, garment to garment… but they’ll always give measurements online. Get a flexible tape measure and a friend, and get to work.

size guide

It really is this simple. I store these numbers on my laptop and refer back if I’m trying to figure out what size to order. And if the sizing is odd, I’ll go by my largest measurement and tailor it at home. Or, more realistically, just not order it.


2. Make a Wishlist

I’m guilty of keeping the ASOS app on my phone and idly looking at pretty dresses, but I rarely purchase anything. To be honest, I only actually buy nonessentials like clothing maybe once every 3-5 months or so. Instead, I’ll add them to a wishlist and/or cart, and then leave it alone.

This has two benefits:

  • I get to revisit it with fresh eyes in a few days (or, let’s be real, months), and decide if I really like it more than I like having $X to towards my downpayment or my travel fund
  • Some stores use abandoned carts as triggers for email marketing campaigns and will send a nifty coupon code my way to try and convince me to buy

Either way, if it ends up being something I do want to buy, it’s not an impulse and likely will cost less thanks to that coupon code.

3. Set Alerts

If I really love something, but can’t justify spending so much, I’ll set a price alert. Basically, I’ll tag any item that I’d like to eventually buy, and get notifications when the price drops. Shoptagr is my go-to for this because of its convenient Chrome extension and email alerts, but it doesn’t work with every site. CamelCamelCamel is another favorite price tracker for those of us that buy everything on Amazon.

4. Target Your Search

This one is probably obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. I’ll usually only buy something only when I actually need something. If I know I need, say, cargo pants for a Kim Possible costume (because I’m super cool), that’s what I’ll look for, and that’s it.


That said, if:

S = Shipping costs
D = (Free shipping minimum) – (My current cart total)

I only add an item to get to that free shipping limit IF that item costs less than shipping otherwise would. (D < S)

I’ll find the cheapest thing that gets me to that limit, assuming the difference costs less than shipping would. That’s the only time I’ll divert from my list.


These are the tricks I use to ensure I’m not throwing my money at the internet before I buy. But what about once I’m ready to actually purchase something? Here are the best discount hacks I’ve found!

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