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30 Awesome Online Shopping Sites I Wish I’d Known Earlier

30 Awesome Online Shopping Sites I Wish I’d Known Earlier

Aah, the joys of shopping. You reserve a day or an entire weekend for it, head to the mall and start hunting the best deals through dozens of stores. I hate that! I become so confused that I don’t remember where I saw those awesome shoes I delayed buying just in case I found something better.

When I started shopping online, I discovered a whole new world. It didn’t matter what I needed; I could always get it on Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or eBay. It took me a long time before I realized that there were many other shopping websites that deserved attention, too.

Here is my list of 30 shopping sites I wish I’d known earlier.

Furniture/home decor

1. Poppin

poppin

    This is a website focused on office decor. When you organize your working or studying desk properly, you’ll enjoy the hard work much more. Here comes the best part: the items are organized by color! That makes the choice much easier.

    A classic des set of 12 ballpoint pens, a pen cup and notebook costs $25. The quality of the cheaper items is not high-class, but the website offers more exclusive products as well.

    2. Dwell Studio

    dwell

      Dwell Studio offers furniture, bed and bath products, decor and accessories, rugs and windows, and more. Although the items featured in the furniture category are more on the luxury side, you can get them on sale and save a lot of money on a high-end piece for your home.

      A bed costs around $1000, and it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. As far as rugs are concerned, Dwell offers a great choice of high-quality designs in various shapes, materials and styles.

      3. One Kings Lane

      la02

        As someone with a thing for awesome vintage finds, I cannot recommend this website enough. The furniture items are outstanding, but I also enjoy the Kitchen & Tabletop, as well as the Art & Mirrors categories.

        These aren’t actual vintage or antique pieces, so the prices are affordable thanks to many items for sale. For example, a nice mirror for your bedroom will cost you $135 (that’s with a great discount of 68%). Hunt for daily deals and you can easily refresh the appearance of your home with exclusive pieces.

        4. The Hut

        hut

          This British website provides affordable international delivery. You’ll appreciate the great choice of home decor and kitchen products that will make your home more pleasant for a cheap price.

          The prices for home accessories start from $1.53 and go up to $370; so there is something for everyone’s taste. I’ve had some hits and misses with this website, since it features different brands and quality levels. Make sure to read reviews before ordering a particular piece and you’ll do just fine.

          Books

          5. Book Depository

          book depository

            Forget Amazon; Book Depository offers the same (outstanding!) selection of books through a much more convenient shopping experience. The website is organized really well and the worldwide delivery is free of charge. There are awesome discounts and deals that will help you get more books for your money.
            The prices for classics are especially attractive, f.e. you can start collecting Marquez for less than $10 per edition.

            6. Book Finder

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            book finder

              You want to get new and used books, rare editions, textbooks and print books? You can use the search tool at Book Finder to compare prices and get the best deal. The shipping costs are included in the calculation, so you won’t waste time doing math.

              Through this search engine, you can find even better prices than the ones offered at Book Depository. Make sure to check that you are purchasing a well-preserved edition if you’re opting for a used book.

              Shopping for students

              7. Papers Gear

              Custom writing service

                If you need an essay, personal statement, research paper, coursework assignment, or even a dissertation – this is the right service to turn to. Custom writing at Papers Gear helps students with academic papers.

                The writers never fail to deliver exactly the help, the customers need, and the prices are really affordable. You’ll need to pay from $19.99 to $52.99 per page depending on the quality and deadline you choose, but the company offers great discounts that reduce the price.

                8. Sam’s Club

                sam

                  When you have too much studying to do, even browsing through different shopping websites can be a waste of time. That’s when you should turn to Sam’s Club – an online store with student-friendly prices on groceries, gifts, flowers, wine, health and beauty products, and more.

                  The prices are even lower than the ones in your local stores, and the shopping experience is much more convenient. Sam’s Clubs are available in different cities across the USA, so you can easily join the community and start saving without searching for any coupons.

                  9. Fab

                  fab

                    If you are looking for something similar to Target, but way more affordable, Fab.com will surely please you. This is a social shopping site that offers great deals on clothes and accessories for men and women, kitchen and dining items, furniture and lighting, home decor, gifts, tech gadgets, and much more.

                    For example, you can get a queen-size bed on sale (below $300) and save money for other things you deserve. Clearly, you can’t expect the best quality when you pay such a low price.

                    Fitness

                    10. FitOrbit

                    fit

                      Going to the gym is not always a pleasant experience. You have to pay a fortune for a personal trainer; otherwise you are left wandering around in absolute discomfort. FitOrbit is a much better solution for me.

                      At this website, you can get a personal trainer who will tailor the perfect exercise plan and daily meal plans for you. The prices are really affordable and the results are guaranteed. Depending on the plan you choose (6 months, 3 months or 1 month), you’ll get a price of $11.50, $16.99 or $29.99 per week.

                      11. Gaiam TV – My Yoga channel

                      gaiam

                        For a low monthly fee, you can choose from hundreds of videos provided by famous yoga instructors. All you need to do is create a pleasant environment in your home, commit to a daily schedule and start practicing with great instructors without spending a fortune for your physical and emotional wellbeing.

                        The monthly fee at this website is $9.95, but you can also provide a one-time payment of $89.40 for the annual plan and save 25%. You get a chance to practice with great instructors, so you can expect these plans to be even better than the classes offered in your local studio.

                        Clothes, shoes and accessories

                        12. Wantering

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                        wantering

                          Who doesn’t want to look like a celebrity? You don’t need to hit the malls and high-end stores to find the pieces that were made for you; this website will help you on the mission to be on trend and keep things classy at the same time.

                          You can set the price range of the products you’re looking for, so it’s easy to get awesome dresses, jeans and bags for under $25. Of course, you can also set the price range up to $2.5K and get good deals on trending items by Oscar De La Renta, Mary Katrantzou, Jason Wu, and other popular names in fashion.

                          13. Cadet

                          cadet

                            This one is for men only. Cadet is a brand established by Brad Shmidt and Raul Arevalo, who get their inspiration by the post-war military academy era. And I know one thing for sure: every woman respects a man dressed like that.

                            The website features high-quality shirts, knits, pants, outerwear and swimwear. Jackets and coats come from $200 to $1000, and the awesome pants are priced from $120 up. Of course, I recommend you to shop in the SALE section and get these unique items for a reduced price. This is the type of clothing all men should invest in.

                            14. eShakti

                            eshakti

                              Do you have trouble nailing the right size when shopping online? This is the right website for you! You can select pieces in sizes ranging from 0-36W or require a garment to be customized to your exact size, height and style.

                              Since plus-size and petite clothing is not easily available, you can expect to find prices that are slightly above the average. For example, an average mid-length dress is priced above $80, and the quality is not perfect. However, eShakti can literally save you when you urgently need a perfect fit.

                              15. Otte New York

                              otte

                                If you miss the lady that follows you in a store and tells you which garments would suit you perfectly, you’ll love this website. OtteNY.com offers more than a luxurious shopping experience – it enables you to hire a personal shopping team that will help you get the perfect outfit for any occasion.

                                I’m talking about brands like Alexander Wang, Kenzo, Cacharel and other big names, so you can expect to pay above $200 for a nice summer dress. However, Otte enables you to find your special piece for a highly reduced price, so it’s definitely worthy of a bookmark.

                                16. Wanelo

                                wanelo

                                  Who doesn’t love a great deal? This community-based site helps you find the best prices from a vast array of online stores. You can get clothes, shoes, home accessories, toys, and much more.

                                  Depending on the quality and brand you are after, the prices of the offered products will range. One thing is for sure, though: you will pay the lowest possible price for the particular item if you search for it through Wanelo.

                                  17. Necessary Clothing

                                  necessary

                                    Nasty Gal used to be one of my favorite shopping destinations before I discovered Necessary Clothing – a cheaper alternative to that website that sells trendy designer fashion. Hint: check out the shoe section. I guarantee you won’t be able to resist it!

                                    You can get the cutest pumps for a price around $25; that’s a deal you can’t neglect. Although the prices seem too low for shoes, the offered models feature a great design and a decent quality.

                                    18. Zady

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                                    zady

                                      Zady is a shopping destination for clothes and accessories (men and women), as well as house & home decor pieces. When you shop at Zady, you know where your stuff comes from, you reduce waste, and make a contribution to the community.

                                      The average price for a men jacket is around $300, and you can expect to pay above $100 for a simple women’s top. However, the awesome quality and conscious shopping experience deserve the extra dollar.

                                      19. Baublebar

                                      bau

                                        Underwear

                                        20. Natori

                                        nato

                                          From reasonably-priced lingerie to the most beautiful pajama sets you’ve ever seen, Natori enables you to find everything you need for your boudoir.

                                          When I say reasonably-priced, I mean an average of $200 for a chemise. However, you can rest assured that you’ll never regret making that investment for the superb quality and style offered by Natori.

                                          21. Flint and Tinder

                                          flint

                                            This website offers a great selection of underwear items for men. All items are made in the USA, and the customer’s satisfaction is guaranteed. The price for all men’s underwear items is $29.50.

                                            Cosmetics/perfumes

                                            22. Strawbery

                                            straw

                                              If you’re on the quest for the perfect perfume, but want to get it at a discounted price, then Strawberry.net should be your fist destination. You’ll be amazed with the huge price reductions on the daily deals!

                                              For example, you can get a designer’s perfume for only $25. The featured brands include Givenchy, Anna Sui, Bvlgari, John Galliano, and many others. The products are always fresh and packed flawlessly.

                                              23. Beauty Expert

                                              expert

                                                Although the discounts are not as impressive as the ones at Strawberry.net, Beauty Expert is still a great shopping destination for skincare, makeup and hair care products. In the SALE section, you’ll find great deals with up to %40 off.

                                                The website features cosmetic products of different brands, so you can find a great range of prices for any type of product you’re looking for. For example, the prices for foundations range from $13 to $70.

                                                24. Beauty

                                                beauty

                                                  You want to get the most popular beauty products recommended by makeup artists? You’ll find them at this website, which offers free shipping on orders over $35, free returns, and free samples.

                                                  For example, Urban Decay’s Naked palette is sold for $54, but we’ve already made peace with the fact that high-quality beauty products cost more than we expect.

                                                  Electronics/gadgets

                                                  25. AliExpress

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                                                  aliexpress

                                                    If you’ve tried shopping at this website, then you know it’s full of risks in terms of the quality you receive. However, you can still make a safe purchase as long as you read the comments and choose a seller with high rating. AliExpress can be listed in all other categories, since there isn’t a product you cannot find, but I recommend it mostly for electronics, accessories, and gifts.

                                                    It’s difficult to talk about the prices, since there are many sellers with different offers, but you can get a decent tablet for around $100 at AliExpress.

                                                    26. Pricewatch

                                                    pricewatch

                                                      When it comes to computers, drives, and electronics, you always want to get the best product for the best price. The price comparisons at Pricewatch will help you get there!

                                                      For example, if you choose the category Desktops, you’ll get a huge selection of products with prices from $99 to $1300.

                                                      27. Crutchfield

                                                      crutch

                                                        At this website, you can get recommendations by tech experts who know how to help you get the best product. Each purchase comes with free tech support.
                                                        The thing that attracted me to Crutchfield was the offer of LED TVs of the best brands (Samsung, Sony and LG) for an average price of $300 for the 32’’ models.

                                                        Presents

                                                        28. Gilt

                                                        gilt

                                                          Willing to spend a bit more on presents for kids, babies, women and men? Gilt has exactly what you’re looking for. The Home and Travel sections of the website are pure magic.

                                                          The prices in the Kids section are especially pleasing; you can get nice sets for under $30.

                                                          29. MoMA

                                                          moma

                                                            If it’s time for some real, unique presents. MoMA online store enables you to get great items on sale, including toys, games, jewelry, watches, dining items, posters, and much more.

                                                            The prices are not that affordable, so you can expect to pay over $50 for a nice scarf. However, the quality of all products is impeccable, and everyone would be thrilled to get a present from MoMA.

                                                            Antiques

                                                            30. Junkables

                                                            junk

                                                              It might take you a while before you land the perfect collectible at this website, but the result will be totally worth the effort. Junkables features antiques, collectible books, magazines, glassware, dolls, and much more.

                                                              Since these are antiques, the quality is inconsistent and you need to be careful with the purchase you make. The prices vary depending on the type, age, and appearance of the product. For example, you can get a nice piece of wall art for around $100.

                                                              Why spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of jewelry when you can find affordable, but stylish items at Baublebar? Although the prices are relatively cheap (with an average of $40 for a statement necklace), you won’t find any kitschy, flashy items here.

                                                              You’ll definitely spot the perfect necklace, bracelet and ring in the huge selection of diverse inventory of decent quality.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Young man drinking coffee in cafe and using tablet computer via shutterstock.com

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                                                              Last Updated on August 20, 2019

                                                              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                              How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                                                              Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                                                              In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

                                                              5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

                                                              Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

                                                              1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                                                              Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                                                              It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

                                                              Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

                                                              2. Keep Them Realistic

                                                              It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

                                                              It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                                                              3. Account for Inflation

                                                              Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

                                                              Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

                                                              For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

                                                              4. Short Term vs Long Term

                                                              Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

                                                              As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                                                              More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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                                                              5. To Each to His Own

                                                              The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

                                                              It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

                                                              By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                                                              11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                                                              Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

                                                              • Ensuring healthy savings
                                                              • Making smart investments

                                                              You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

                                                              Ensuring Healthy Savings

                                                              Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                                                              This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                                                              1. Track Expenses

                                                              The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

                                                              Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

                                                              2. Pay Yourself First

                                                              Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

                                                              Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

                                                              The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

                                                              Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

                                                              3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

                                                              Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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                                                              Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

                                                              At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                                                              Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                                                              You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                                                              4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

                                                              Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

                                                              If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

                                                              Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

                                                              All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

                                                              5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                                                              In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                                                              Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                                                              Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

                                                              If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

                                                              If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                                                              So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                                                              6. Talk About It

                                                              Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

                                                              Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                                                              7. Maintain a Journal

                                                              For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                                                              So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                                                              Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

                                                              When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

                                                              At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

                                                              Making Smart Investments

                                                              Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

                                                              8. Consult a Financial Advisor

                                                              Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

                                                              Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                                                              9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                                                              Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

                                                              Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

                                                              Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

                                                              It is here where that classification will help.

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                                                              So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

                                                              10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                                                              Einstein once remarked about compounding,

                                                              Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

                                                              So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                                                              Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                                                              11. Measure, Measure, Measure

                                                              All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                                                              If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

                                                              If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

                                                              Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                                                              The Bottom Line

                                                              This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

                                                              As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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                                                              Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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