In this day and age of credit card and Internet banking, it’s hard to resist the temptation to make online purchases.

Let’s face it: Most—if not all—of us would have at least ordered through the McDelivery website or app at some point of our lives, some more often than others.

And then there’s Carousell, a virtual marketplace for new and pre-loved items that is now Singapore’s fave app.

On the retail front, online stores like SheShops and ASOS offer multi-label one-stop convenience, enticing shoppers to visit the websites (and hopefully check out their cart).

Most brands have also joined in this phenom by launching online stores to complement their physical counterparts.

With such convenience at our fingertips, it’s hard to not succumb to the lure of online shopping, but before you make any purchase, take note of these tips that can help you save some money and maybe even your whole life savings.

1. Wait for the sale
Unless you really, really want that dress, it’s best to wait for the end-season sale. And the best thing about online shopping is that you don’t have to be physically at the store to check if the item is on sale. Sometimes, the online stores would even send out electronic mailers to publicise the sale.

2. Add everything into your cart first
But don’t check out. Resist from clicking on that button. Rather, sift through your cart and ask yourself these questions.
a. Are you buying too many of the same things?
b. Are you really gonna wear whatever you’re buying?
c. Are you buying it only ‘cos it’s on sale? (If yes, click ‘remove from cart’.)
d. How much are you spending? Can you afford it?

3. Share shipping costs
The only downside of online shopping is that you have to pay for shipping, or hit a minimum amount to qualify for free shipping. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep piling on your cart just to be eligible for free shipping. Ask your family and friends if they wanna get something from the same website so you can share shipping costs.

4. Use discount codes
Most online stores allow you to use discount codes that can usually be obtained from their newsletter, website or Google. You can save quite a bit with these promo codes, so keep a lookout for them!

5. Get your sizes right
Never assume that if you wear an S here, you will be able to fit into every S outfit. The cut and fit of apparels usually differ among brands, especially if you’re shopping on international sites made for the American or European physique. Instead, look at the measurements in centimeters to ensure the item will fit you.

6. Don’t buy first, exchange later
If you’re making the purchase from a local online store that allows free exchange, good for you. But if you’re buying from a store that’s based in the US, think twice before purchasing because though they might state that you can exchange your products for free, you probably have to pay to ship that item back to their office.

7. Always buy from a trusted website
Whenever money is involved, ensure that the transaction is done on a site that has SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. Just look out for “https” in the URL or the tiny padlock icon at the bottom of your browser. To play safe, monitor your credit card statement or bank account for the next few months to ensure there are no unauthorised transactions.

8. Read the reviews
Always spend time reading reviews (they can be quite entertaining) before making the purchase to avoid disappointment. If a majority of the buyers claim that the dress looks nothing like the photo, close that tab.

9. Opt for registered post for valuable items
Come on, if you’ve spent $200 on that pair of shoes, what’s topping up a few bucks for a more secured postage option? At least you know that it won’t get lost in the mail or that’ll be $200 down the drain. You can also check when (or if) the website has really sent out the item using the tracking number.

10. Avoid making purchases using public WiFi
Remember that any data transmitted over WiFi can be intercepted. That top from ASOS may look gorge and is on sale, but hold off the temptation to complete the purchase at Starbucks. Wait till you get home and use the Internet or WiFi connection (ensure your WiFi is password-encrypted) installed in your house to make the purchase. Even if you are not making credit card transactions (for cash-on-delivery options), remember that your personal data like email address and home address can still be phished and sold.

Images: TPG/Click Photos