Online shopping mistake costing Aussies $424

It’s a tale as old as time: the online store offers free shipping if you spend $100, but your total is $99.95.

So what do you do?

Search for the cheapest item on the site to make up the extra $0.05, except the cheapest item is $20. So you throw in those $20 patterned socks instead of paying the $10 shipping fee, and end up spending more than you were originally going to – on principle, of course.

But this habit, combined with failing to return items that aren’t suitable or don’t fit, can be costly, new research shows.

A survey of more than 1,000 Aussies commissioned by MyState Bank found that more than a third of respondents spend more money shopping online than they do in store, and it’s costing them around $424 per year.

The most expensive habit was buying more to receive free shipping, which roughly half of Aussies admitted to doing.

Around 24 per cent of Aussies said they didn’t get a refund for items purchased online that were unsuitable or didn’t fit, while 23 per cent said they shop when bored or stressed.

“While many Australians enjoy the conveniences of online shopping, the danger is that there aren’t many barriers to spending money,” said MyState Bank general manager, customer experience, Heather McGovern.

“Compared to shopping in a store, consumers don’t have to put as much effort or thought into adding things to their cart.”

How can I reduce my online shopping costs?

If you’re guilty of spending more online, there are ways you can cut your costs, according to MyState.

  1. Buy more, just less often: “Shoppers can minimise or entirely evade these fees by buying more items, less often. Use bookmarks to save the items for any items you like and wait until you have two or three other items from that same site bookmarked before you buy.”
  2. Abandon your cart for a while: “Retailers create a sense of urgency intended to convince you to buy something you really don’t need, or at least, don’t need right this very moment. Resist the urge by leaving your items in your shopping cart for a day or two and see if the desire to purchase the items is still there when you return.”
  3. Delete pre-saved details from a website: “While it can be a convenient way to speed through the checkout, having your details pre-saved can be a sure way of fostering online impulse purchases.”
  4. Use e-coupons and compare prices: “A major advantage with online shopping is that it allows easy comparison of prices between sites for the same or similar items. Coupon codes that might not be available (or easy to find) in stores is another savvy strategy to help you save on your online order.”
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