4 Ways to Spend Less When Shopping Online

More and more people are choosing to forgo the brick-and-mortar experience of lining up to pay for their goods. After all, shopping online is way more convenient and time-efficient. It can be done with your phone with one hand, at your own pace, and without needing to step a single foot outdoors.

But while many people may know and love online shopping, there are as many who struggle to find the best deals. As someone who does all her shopping online, be it for clothes or books, I’d like to share some tips on how you can spend less on e-commerce platforms!

1.  Price matching

Let’s say you’ve decided to buy a shirt. The most logical course of action is to compare the various listings to determine which seller is selling that shirt for the lowest price. This is also known as price matching.

To do this, you can take a screenshot of the shirt and then use the image search function within the app itself to search for other listings of the shirt. You can also perform this image search on other e-commerce platforms to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible on the shirt. One advantage of doing this is that it also helps you sieve out bootlegs and fake goods. You may also encounter similar (and maybe even cheaper) products!

If doing this price matching process manually is too tedious for you, you can consider installing a price matching tool such as Shoptimate. It is a browser extension that works to compare similar listings on various sites such as eBay and Amazon. I recommend browser extensions when you’re shopping on your desktop or laptop and using the in-built image search when you’re shopping on your phone.

2.  Leaving the items in your cart

Does this sound counter-intuitive? Yep, just hear me out. Letting your items idle in your cart can actually incentivise the seller to give you a coupon code. This works better when there’s a sale coming up since sellers will want to clear their stocks, and what better way than by offering a discount to those most likely to buy it?

This trick has also worked on many other platforms for me. I’ve received promotional discount codes in my emails from language learning sites and other online education sites when I left their courses in my cart overnight. They ended up offering me a lower price for the subscriptions and the accredited certificates.

If you’re not shopping urgently, and you’d like to wait before snatching the best deal, there’s no harm in holding out and hoping for a promo discount code!

3.  Checking coupon code sites (upon checkout)

My favourite coupon site is Picodi, which I use to look up coupon codes before I check out my purchase. iPrice is also another comprehensive site that has many deals. I suggest looking up multiple sites before you check out your purchase to avoid missing out on anything.

There are various coupon code deals. They usually revolve around using a debit or credit card from a specific bank. Some are for first-time users, so make sure to check them out if it’s your first time on an e-commerce platform. They tend to offer higher discounts or cashback.

Some codes have other stipulated conditions, where you can only use them on certain days of the week or only if you’ve spent a certain amount of money.

Make sure to be smart about it! Some deals offer a fixed percentage as the discount while others offer a fixed amount of money. Do take this into account when you’re calculating the amount you’ll save.

4. Using discount vouchers in the right order

Let’s say you’re buying a bag that costs $30. You have two coupons—one of which gives 15% off your total purchase, and the other a discount of $5. The strategic way to maximise your savings would be to use the discount for 15% off, before applying the $5 discount.

The calculations would turn out like this:

($30 x 75%) – $5 = $17.50

($30 – $5) x 75% = $18.75

Do also ensure that you’ve used all the coupons you possibly can! Most sellers allow you to claim shop vouchers that can give you a small discount. Many e-commerce platforms also give you free shipping coupons and discount vouchers now and then. They also tend to have points-based systems such as Shopee’s coin system that deducts $1 for every 100 coins!


Browsing through listings on Carousell or Shopee can be like second nature to many of us, so hopefully this article has armed you with more arsenal to help you spend less when you’re shopping online! Finding the best deals can be challenging, but it won’t be if you know how and where to look for them!


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