The DOs and DON’Ts of online shopping

There is nothing more rewarding than coming home from work or school to a beautiful brown package, waiting to be opened. It’s shopping all over again! The world of online shopping is a magical but financially unforgiving place. In the same way Tumblr seems to take up all our extra time, online shopping seems to clear out our bank accounts.

It is so easy to get sucked into the convenience and glamour of online shopping. It only takes a couple clicks to order something and it all comes straight to your door in 5-7 business days. So begins the terrible cycle of online shopping and sooner or later your shopaholic tendencies become a bit of a problem.

But there is a way to curb these bad habits before they become an issue. Here’s a guide of things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to online shopping.

1. Do ask yourself if you NEED the item(s)?

Casually browsing your favourite online stores can be a nice but if you start adding things to your online bag or cart you’ve gone too far. You need to ask yourself a couple questions. Do I need this particular item? How many times am I going to wear it? Am I just getting it because it’s on sale and in my size? If you still think it would be a great purchase then add it to your cart. If not, you just saved yourself some money and some space in your closet for something else.

2. Don’t save your credit card number

Just don’t do it. It may seem like it’s more convenient but it isn’t. Not only will you be more inclined to purchase things but all your credit card information is floating around the internet. Be safe and be smart. It only takes a couple minutes to enter your information and that’s enough time to decide whether or not you actually need the item.

3. Do look for promo codes

Promo codes are like coupons for the internet! An extra 10-25% off your purchase can make a huge difference but there is a catch. Most stores only give out promo codes when you subscribe to their email list so you have to ask yourself it it’s worth it. Subscribing to a few of your favourite stores is okay but don’t get crazy. Also, if you find yourself getting annoyed with the daily or weekly emails scroll down to the bottom of the email and find the ‘unsubscribe’ button. You can change the settings or unsubscribe completely.

4. Don’t shop ‘New Arrivals’ unless you can afford it

Now, I know every girl’s dream is to be able to shop the new arrivals but let’s be real, it’s not possible on a collegiette budget. This is why sales exists. Sort of. The sale or clearance page may not be as sparkly but sometimes you can find some cool items. Plus, the price won’t hurt your eyes, your soul, or your bank account. That being said, the sale page is usually filled with items from last season that you can’t wear now because it’s either too hot, too cold, or just not socially acceptable. The point is, you shouldn’t knock the online bargain bin because there are many a treasure to be found.

5. Do pay attention to shipping and return policies

So you found the perfect item to add to your closet and it comes in your size? That’s great! But be sure to read the fine print. Does it ship to your country and how much is shipping. Most of the larger retailers like Forever21 and Sephora have international shipping and have a set minimum of $50-$75 for free shipping. Smaller stores or online boutiques may only ship to addresses in that country. And finally, if you have to return an item, what is the return policy? Most stores allow returns but only some will pay for shipping expenses. If everything looks good then pass GO and collect $200. Just kidding. You just spent it all on new shoes.

6. Don’t forget to “Treat Yo Self”

Yes, you are technically on a collegiette budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t splurge every once in a while. If you find an awesome dress or pair of shoes that you know you won’t see for another year, or ever again, TREAT YO’ SELF! If anything you’ll remember exactly how much money you spent on that particular item and treasure it even more.

Have you ever heard of that saying “too much of a good thing is bad”? I think that online shopping may be that thing. Or at least one of those things. Online shopping can be a great way to destress and a great way to get the things you can’t find in stores. But it can also become addictive and at its worst, detrimental. The key, like anything else, is to do it in moderation. Of course, I write this while having ASOS and Sephora tabs opened on my screen right now.

If you have any tips to curbing your online shopping habits send HerCampus uOttawa a tweet, @HCuOttawa. Happy shopping!

This article originally appeared on hercampus.com.

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