5 Easy Ways to Shop Smarter RN


Becoming financially healthy can be a long, winding—and sometimes confusing—road. But just because we aren’t always able to justify purchasing luxury loungewear (no matter how deliciously soft it may be) doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun along the way. Rather than avoiding shopping altogether, we just have to find ways to shop smarter. Simple as that.

OK, so maybe it doesn’t sound all that simple—which is why it helps to know a few easy tricks. Sure, we all know how to Venmo our friends when it’s time to split the check or check out with PayPal when you’re shopping online, but did you know you can use QR codes in the PayPal or Venmo apps to pay in-store at retailers that accept PayPal or Venmo too? It works at tons of places like CVS plus you can also earn cash back. Genius! With a little help from handy virtual payment apps, along with some good, old-fashioned restraint (!), shopping like a pro isn’t difficult at all. In fact, it’s downright fun.

If you’re feeling a little lost, just consult our list of oh-so-easy shopping tips below.


For those of us who tend to shop when we’re bored or hungry—or perhaps after a few too many—it’s time to reign it in. Resist the urge to purchase that sequin dress you’ll probably never wear, or catch yourself when you’ve somehow added 10 TikTok beauty products to your cart (um, totally not speaking from experience at all) by recognizing and taking charge of your bad habits. When you know you’re not in the right mindset, close your browser and go for a walk or call a friend instead. Your wallet will thank you.


Getting paid to shop sounds like a wild and wonderful fever dream. But there are ways to make this a reality—and with your favorite retailers, no less. Case in point: You can snag your prescription (or some snacks and mascara) at CVS using PayPal or Venmo and get $10 cash back on your first purchase of $20 or more. (Really!) Both apps have an easy-to-use QR code that you can use to pay in-store and redeem the deal. All you have to do is gather a few goodies at CVS, head to the checkout, and show your PayPal or Venmo QR code to the cashier at the register to scan. No matter what kind of payment you use, make sure you’re taking advantage of cash back opportunities and getting more for your money with each spend. Sour gummies and new makeup products, here we come.

*See terms at paypal.com/cvs. Offer can be modified or terminated at any time.

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Sounds easy enough, right? But the fact is not all reviews are created equal and it can be tough to tell the difference between legit praise and another 5-star rating that might be too good to be true. Do yourself a favor and look for reviews beyond the brand’s comments section with reviewers you know and trust. Spotting potential issues with a purchase can save you so much cash down the line and ensure you’re spending money on pieces that’ll actually last. Buying an item (whether in-store or online) and having it fall apart on you within a few days is always a bummer—but the good news is it’s totally avoidable.



Next time you’re participating in a little retail therapy, try waiting (even just 24 hours) before hitting that purchase button. Letting items hang out in your cart can give you time to make sure you’re scoring the best bargain and can even unlock exclusive discount codes with the retailer. (PSA: Some brands will email coupons and discount codes when it looks like you’ve abandoned your shopping cart.) But even if you don’t score one of those emails, sales and coupon codes often pop up when we least expect them—by stepping away from your full-price purchases, you might actually score a better deal in a day or so.


It’s 2021, and we’re trading in our physical wallets for virtual ones. Apps like PayPal and Venmo make it easy to shop and send payments without having to swipe a card or handle cash. Not to mention, both apps offer their QR code payment options in a plethora of brick and mortar stores. Though many of us have already lessened the amount of cash we carry around, virtual payments have made it almost unnecessary to make a stop at the ATM at all. For instance, rather than just handing your manicurist or hair stylist cash, ask if they prefer to receive their tip through an app instead. It’ll keep the process more hygienic for everyone and it can help you keep tabs on how much you’re actually spending. Phone, keys, wallet? That’s so 2019.

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