Become an expert at navigating online sales!

Websites that offer tantalising sales and get-in-quick daily offers can make shopping look like a game! How do you navigate this dizzying world of opportunity and temptation without ending up with goods that aren’t that good, or right for you?

More and more sales, whether for sleek fashion labels, cool accessories, designer towels or boxing tackle, are happening solely over the internet. Some shopping websites function as clubs that you join to receive email notice of upcoming sales. Other websites have daily deals that only last a day.

These sales can offer incredible bargains, with goods discounted by as much as 80 per cent. Arm yourself with the techniques below and you’re much more likely to find genuine bargains, while avoiding the duds!

How to make the most of online sales without overspending

* Use routing software in your email program so that all your sales email goes into one folder before you’ve read it. This means that email alerts for sales won’t confront you as soon as you open your email program - you decide when you want to view the sales.

* Allocate a set time of day and a set amount of time to go through online sales invitations. If you have a spending problem, you could confine yourself to one day of the week when you allow yourself to take part in online sales.

* Create a list of all the things you need and are thinking of buying, and keep it handy. (This is called a Priority List – more information about this list is available in my book The Inspired Shopper.) When you’re browsing an online sale and you find something you’d like to buy, if it’s not already on your list, think carefully before buying it.

* Create a budget and stick to it. This could include a set amount of money that you spend on different categories, eg clothes and cosmetics.

* Alternatively, have a preset limit you will spend on online shopping on any one day or week, or any particular sale (but use intuition to decide the amount – if you just use your rational mind you’ll be tempted to outspend the limit and end up feeling guilty).

* Try to stay in the present moment while you’re checking out the sale items. Be aware of your breathing and surroundings. Take note of your reactions to those tantalising goods as they come up on the screen, but try not to judge your reactions. (I’ll be providing more tips for staying grounded while shopping online in a future post.)

* As you’re checking out different sales, imagine yourself wandering along a shopping mall, past many shops with SALE signs. You don’t need to go into all those stores, just the ones that call to you in some way. And even if you choose to go in, you don’t have to buy.

* Don’t be tempted to buy more than you really need just because it makes the postage costs more worthwhile.

* Always use your intuition when deciding whether or not to buy, and don’t be afraid to pass on something if it doesn’t feel right. Remember, you don’t have to know why it’s not right. When you obey your gut feeling in this way, you can be sure that something better will come along at the right time.

Now that you’re armed with  tools and techniques for making the most of online sales, enjoy yourself! And remember, sometimes ‘just looking’ is enough to give you that shopping hit we all crave.

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