7 tips to be a wiser budget shopper during ECQ, MECQ, GCQ and even after

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at Jun 22 2020 09:38 AM

MANILA - I woke up this morning to an email invitation from my favorite shopping outlet. Despite fears of a second and deadlier wave of COVID-19 infections, they remain open and are now extending their mall hours. Plus there is a free special gift waiting for me when I visit – I just need to present the email or register my name at the concierge. In my mind I was thinking that special gift could come all wrapped in Coronavirus, so no thank you, I will stay at home fully disinfected.

But while it is easier to ignore the shopping outlet, I cannot stop shopping altogether (and neither could you). If there’s something I learned during life under all sorts of quarantine – from ECQ to MECQ to GCQ – it’s that life and shopping goes on.

Let me explain that the shopping I am talking about are for necessities. We are all hit with lower or no income, or the threat of job loss. This is not the time to upgrade your mobile phone or update your wardrobe.

Stuck at home, do not let all the streaming shopping channels lure you into buying their merchandise, even with deep discounts and only available on limited dates. Focus on the goal here which is to buy essential items at the least cost to you. How to end up with extra money when shopping for your and your family’s basic needs? Consider these seven tips.

Tip #1: Sign up for promotional news

Now is not the time to be choosy. I used to hate getting SMS and emails from my credit cards and shopping sites but now I am signed up on all and even click the "Remind Me" button for special limited sales. This is how I discovered that Shopee was having a sale on Unilever products (who does not need laundry detergent and toilet cleaner) and that my BDO credit card on that one day will award me a 15 percent discount or as much as P1200 off if I buy using the mobile app.

The terms and conditions can be tricky so make sure you read them and check out only when the discount is successfully applied to your purchase.

Tip #2 Watch that shopping cart

Because it’s a virtual shopping cart, it’s tempting to use it as parking space for all the things we want. I fell into that trap until I mistakenly bought something I did not intend to, along with the other items I really meant to. The lesson here is to always check every item before you hit Pay, plus clean up your shopping cart or park them in your wish list instead.

The nice thing about shopping carts – I discover after a day or two that I really should buy it, or that I really do not need it. Life under quarantine has given us time to exhale, so no need to rush your shopping. 

Tip #3 Do your homework

Comparison shopping has never been easier. In Shopee, you can look for the same product sold by different vendors and see which ones are cheaper and which one has good reviews. Then you can look for the same item in other platforms like Lazada, Zalora, MetroMart before making your purchase. 

I used to think that I would be able to save a few pesos here and there. To my surprise, some items are sold at half the price by other vendors. So do your homework and ace budget shopping.

Tip #4 Watch your delivery fees too

I haven’t done my shopping personally in months so not only am I sensitive to the prices of the items I am buying, I also watch the delivery fees. Sorry Lazada but the starting rate of P250 for LazMart is too high for me. Even GrabMart charges less and they have discounts and free delivery offers running right now. Which brings me back to Shopee often because they have free delivery vouchers that I snap up everytime.

SM is back with a vengeance and they also have discount offers that equal the delivery fee so you may want to take advantage. I finally signed up as a Landers member because they offer discounted or free delivery if my shopping reaches at least P5,000. They have a running promotion of 25 percent discount on membership fees but I waited until they had a sweet deal of extra P200 voucher free before I signed up (sorry that offer has ended).


Tip #5 Earn rebates whenever you can

I never hit Pay until I have checked and milked what rebates I can get. The first place I always start is Shopback.ph. No membership fees and you can sign up and get rebates on almost every kind of purchase from grocery to fashion to travel.

You can also earn rebates from credit cards and the nice thing there is you can use it to pay off some of your credit card balance. But not all rebates are created equal so switch to a credit card that is more generous with rewarding you.

I also discovered something recently – from Shopback, I buy electronic gift certificates from Giftaway and earn rebates. I did this to gift a friend and realized I can gift myself too! I use these to shop and make sure I earn other discounts along the way so that’s rebates on top of rebates.

Tip #6 Never check-out without a voucher

With quarantine, I learned to wait out deals so I almost never check-out unless there is a special deal for me. Wait for that 25 percent off voucher, or free delivery, or discount coupon for next purchase. Or even an exclusive offer from your credit card company.

It’s also nice to have friends that you can invite to sign-up. Member get member offers mean you and your friend will both walk away with voucher and/or discounts so don’t be shy and send that invite.

Tip #7 Pay with the best currency

Finally, not all currency have the same value. In Shopee, paying with ShopeePay always gives me extra discount. Lazada has their Lazada wallet, Grab has GrabPay with exclusive rewards, and then some credit cards offer their own discounts too. So before you hit the Pay button, check which currency will give you the best TLC – not tender loving care, but total lower cost. 

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.