Experts and real-life shoppers reveal their tips to save money when online

We’re all guilty of trawling the internet looking for the best deals. But are we actually searching in all the right places?

There are all sorts of clever hacks and sites to use to make your job as a savvy shopper easier.

But if things look to good to be true, they may well be, as one woman we spoke to found out.

So find out how to make sure you always get the best price, we asked experts and readers for their top shopping tips.

Here’s what they had to say:

‘Don’t assume that because it’s on offer it’s a good price’

By day, Polly Arrowsmith runs technology business Cyberpal. In the evenings she’s a savvy shopper who makes the most of all of the internet’s best ways to save.

Here are her top tips:

Use Amazon Outlet

If you’re buying something on Amazon, check the store’s outlet at Amazon Outlet, to see if you can get it for less.

‘These are simply returns or damaged packaging and you can save up to 70 per cent.

We got an 8ft table for £50 instead of £150 and loads of folders at £12 a box, rather than £33. All were perfect,’ says Polly.

Crack the code

Many items that you will see for sale online have an SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) code or a UPC Code (Universal Product Code) listed in their product description.

Polly says these strings of letters and numbers that identify products can be used to check that you’re getting a good deal, and to see where the product is available elsewhere.

‘Do not assume that simply because it is on offer, it’s a good price. Put the code into your search engine and see what the comparisons are,’ she advises.

You can use a website called barcodelookup.com to find further options, and Polly also advises setting up a Google Alert search on the codes of any items that you might want to buy online.

Read reviews

Not used a particular website to shop before? Polly recommends that you check on TrustPilot to see whether the site is legitimate.

‘Some sites can be dodgy. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is,’ she says.

Don’t discount delivery

While Polly uses sites such as Brand Alley and Zalando, she recommends that you always check all costs when using sites that offer discounted brands.

‘Factor in delivery prices, which the discount stores often hide,’ she says.

‘I got my favourite china for less than half price’

Vicky Valeriana Veltri, from south-west London, loves buying items from companies like Brand Alley and Zalando Lounge, where she can get cheaper deals on products she needs and wants.

Recently she was able to buy Villeroy & Boch china that matched her existing set for a snip, she says.

‘Most of the times it is very convenient to buy on Brand Alley and the like. Last week I bought some Villeroy & Boch plates, mugs and bowls for half the price. It was exactly my collection, so it was perfect.

‘The price for one Villeroy & Boch mug is £26. I have paid £37 for four. A Villeroy & Boch plate is usually over £30 per plate.’

Vicky, a chef at Pasta and Play, says that although most deals are good on brand sites it is important to Google the ordinary price for items, as sometimes the starting price shown on brand sites is higher than you can buy the product for in the shops – making the discount appear bigger than it really is.

‘I choose what I want and then check prices elsewhere,’ she explains.

‘I bought a Gucci bag, but I was disappointed’

Baker Kate Tynan has used outlet shops online a number of times, but a recent large purchase from an outlet store featuring a number of brands was disappointing.

‘I treated myself to a Gucci bag I’d been lusting after for ages and it popped up,’ she says. Kate, from Stockport, spent £750 on the bag.

‘I have never bought anything of that value before – but I’d actually saved up cashback from a Cashback site and used that for it as a treat,’ she explains.

‘When it arrived, I was convinced it was fake. It had a really cheap label inside it from a foreign store. It has put me right off.’

Kate, who runs wedding cake design business Little Button Bakery, says that shoppers considering using sites which claim to sell brands at cheap prices should ensure they research the normal cost of the goods first.

‘Is the item actually cheaper than you can get it elsewhere? And make sure there is a returns policy if you’re not happy with the goods as I wasn’t,’ she says.

‘I think sometimes the prices are inflated anyway so you’re not actually getting a bargain.’

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