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"I saved myself $300 a month on food." 5 online shopping hacks we'll keep after COVID-19.

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There’s a lot we could say about 2020 but perhaps the most fitting is, it’s a time we’re unlikely to ever forget.

After all, isolation during the coronavirus has changed the way we work, how we play and even how we parent.

But amid this global madness, which appears to be easing up on our Aussie shores, there has been a slither of a silver lining: We’ve learnt how to shop smarter. Seriously, we have truly finessed our online shopping skills, moving even the most everyday purchases online.

We’ve found ways to save money with bulk buying. We’ve saved time from not actually having to physically go into the supermarket – even though we do kind of miss you, Woolworths. And we’ve made the whole process easier by using the one-click purchase (it’s called One Touch) with PayPal. Yep, seeyabye long forms at checkout. With PayPal you load your credit, debit cards or bank accounts only once and then you can shop from the comfort of your bed or toilet. Without having to raid your bag for your wallet every time… which is clearly not in reach when you’re on the toilet.

For me personally, the best buy I made was an exercise bike a week into iso (see the picture above), which I ordered on Catch.com.au and saved $250 from spotting a good sale with free shipping.

There are many, many benefits of online shopping, as so many of us have found during this time. I asked other mums in the Mamamia community what shopping hacks they’ll be keeping after COVID-19 gets the heave-ho for good. Here are five of their secrets:

1. ‘I got 12 bottles of wine for $35 after signing up as a new customer.’

Grace Williams, 40, Sydney

“I became obsessed with new shopper deals. All you have to do is sign up with an email address and you usually get around 20 per cent off the first purchase. I even got 12 bottles of red wine from a local wine company for $35 as their first-time customer offer was 30 per cent off. And I also did a two-minute online survey for an extra $20 discount.

“I try to never buy from the same place now but I do always check-out with PayPal so I know I’m not handing out my details to all these different companies. I just prefer to know those important details are locked away in the PayPal online vault and the transactions are secure.”

2. ‘I saved myself $300 a month by bulk-buying.’

Donna Harry, 35, Gold Coast

“During lockdown I saved myself $300 a month on our food shop just by bulk-buying certain items online. I would never have thought of looking at bulk-buying nappies or cleaning products but some sites will do daily cheap deals and you can get two boxes of nappies for 30 percent off. I’ll never shop for those type of things in-store ever again, mainly because it’ll save me around $3600 a year but also because I now don’t have to carry them! They just magically appear at the front door.”

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3. ‘Everyone should have a pick-me-up online shopping fund.’

Liz Carlton, 48, Blue Mountains

“I took every dollar that I would usually spend on my social life and put it into a ‘pick-me-up fund’ for when I was feeling a bit over life in isolation. I become obsessed with buying things from Sephora. I’d constantly buy presents for myself to say ‘well done’ for homeschooling my two kids. I think every woman post-pandemic should have a ‘pick-me-up-fund’. Just a small bit of money kept in a separate account, or even in your own private PayPal account, and just use it on things that you love. Keeping it separate is a great way to ensure it doesn’t go on something else, like the boring electricity bill.”

4. ‘Cart it and leave it.’

Liz Carlton, 48, Blue Mountains

“I spent a lot of time in isolation window shopping, aka putting items that I couldn’t really afford into the basket. It became a kind of feel-good addiction. But something really strange kept happening. The next day I’d usually get an email offering me a discount.

“That is now my number one hack. I just click what I want, leave it in the cart and see if I get an offer. And seriously, three out of five times it works.

“There are also free browser extensions like Honey that send you automatic coupons and deals from thousands of retailers, tailored to your shopping interests.”

5. ‘Follow the stores’ social media accounts.’

Naveera Lunna, 34, Melbourne

“One night, when very bored in iso, I started stalking all the brands I usually shop from. And I was surprised by how many of them had exclusive deals for their social media followers! ASOS had a competition to win 50 per cent off your shopping and loads of other deals. Now I always do an Insta stalk before a purchase.

“But beware, there are a lot of dodgy fake accounts so look for the verified accounts and if you feel you might have been stung, you can use PayPal’s Buyer Protection program if you used them to pay. It protects you for the full purchase price plus shipping costs, up to $20,000 per item.”

What’s your best online shopping hack you’ve recently discovered? Share with us below.

Next time you buy something online, whether it’s wine, pet food or exercise gear, do it the secure way with PayPal.

Feature image: Amy Nelmes Bissett/Supplied.

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