Shopping, SponsoredGiveaway: American Express Savvy Shopper Program

Now that holiday shopping is kicking into full gear, we’ve been tasked by American Express to blog about our take on making smart online shopping choices. Throughout this week, we’ll be providing some of our trusty tips on making smart shopping decisions for the season. American Express is also extending an opportunity for TDO readers to win $250 of merchandise or giftcards through AMEX’s  Membership Rewards partners.  You don’t have to be an AMEX cardholder to win… but you will need to share with us your online shopping mistakes and favorite shopping tips!


In the comments below, share with us your biggest online shopping mistake.  We will publish a list of “top ten” mistakes submitted by our readers in the next week and select a winner of the contest who can choose $250 worth of merchandise or gift cards.

To kick things off, I’ll share a shopping mistake of my own…

Buying “final sale” clothing items when said item costs more than $20.  For $20 or under, I could probably take the risk of committing to a deep markdown without ever having tried it on.  But truthfully, I’ve bought too many things that were “marked down 85% but still $200 because it’s designer” which ended up not fitting… with no recourse. They now sit in a pile in the back of my closet- and just to think, that aggregated together, my mistake purchases could’ve totaled into something investment-worthy and fantastic. Sigh. You live, shop, and learn.

Now be sure to share with us your mistakes to enter to win (and so I don’t make them this season) and stay tuned for more tips this week!


  1. Jaime  |  21 November 2011 at 10:00 AM

    I bought a pair of William Rast jeans that I had tried on in store. I saw them in a final sale/discounted on a website flash sale. I was sure that it was the right pant, style, etc. so I quickly ordered. Sadly when I received them, it wasn’t! So I had to sell them on eBay (and less than I paid), and since I wanted them still, I had to buy full price in the store! Needless to say I tried to wear them alot to make the price per wear worth it!

  2. sydney85  |  21 November 2011 at 10:45 AM

    I bought a pair of red pointy shoes, size 5. I had not bought any shoes from this brand and when I received them they were too tight in the toes. I tried wearing them several times because other people said how gorgeous are those shoes! They are but I only can manage to wear these shoes for a short time before I am pulling them off. I have driven home barefooted because my feet have been killing me in these shoes. I should have sent them back before I wore them out. I have learnt to know the brand to know if it would fit me and if something does not fit comfortably send them back.

  3. Emily  |  21 November 2011 at 11:01 AM

    My biggest online shopping mistake is not searching for free shipping and discount codes before I make a purchase.

  4. Silvia  |  21 November 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Purchased a pair of shoes half a size larger than I wear because I wanted them so badly, figured I could wear “extra” socks to make them fit. Bad idea. I was uncomfortable and my feet were suffocating.

  5. Carolyn  |  21 November 2011 at 2:06 PM

    I’ve made many of the same shoe mistakes. Buy in your size or don’t buy at all… Hal size up/down in shoes jut don’t work…

  6. Jessie C.  |  21 November 2011 at 2:45 PM

    My biggest online shopping mistake was not searching for codes and using cash back sites before making the purchase during holiday seasons.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  7. Mami2jcn  |  21 November 2011 at 3:06 PM

    My worst online shopping mistake was using my debit card to make a Paypal purchase on eBay. My Paypal account was hacked into and my checking account was raided.

  8. Princess Freckles  |  21 November 2011 at 4:26 PM

    I ordered personalized Christmas cards and paid top dollar, only to find that had I done some more research, I could have gone through Etsy and saved a bundle. I would have had even better cards too!

  9. Christina  |  21 November 2011 at 9:05 PM

    Love your site.

    My biggest online mistake was to buy a beautiful gold nokia phone (years ago) from a foreign website. Neiman Marcus was selling them for $$$$$$ and it was just so pretty not to have. After countless searches I found one for half off through now what I think to be a shady website (shoulda trust my instincts). Long story short, phone came, looked beautiful and shiny. Got so many compliments for it but little did others know that the phone didn’t function. It didn’t work through any carrier in the United States… 🙁
    I donated it to a family friend who lived overseas.

  10. Laura  |  22 November 2011 at 7:04 AM

    Once upon a time, I was looking to score 7 for all Mankind jeans for cheap so I went to ebay and found a pair I liked in my size for $42. Well guess what, the seller had been flagged by ebay for selling fake merchandise, but that was too late. The jeans arrived, and they were actually way too small for me to even squeeze into (believe me, I tried…really hard). Luckily, the seller was really nice and let me return them, so in the end, all I lost was time (and some circulation in my thighs). As a result, I no longer buy jeans online. Ever. Especially from ebay.

  11. kristina  |  22 November 2011 at 5:30 PM

    My biggest mistake (that I continue to make) is buying something just because I have a great coupon code or the site is offering me a “free” credit toward any purchase. Those member-only designer sale sites get me every time. Like you, I have clothes in my closet that either don’t fit or just aren’t my style. But they were a “good deal” and I “saved money”. Gah!

  12. Bryn  |  22 November 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Also a sucker for the member-only designer sale sites. I bought some Prada perfume because it was such a good deal…sigh. I thought I’d smelled it before and liked it. You see where this is going. Apparently it wasn’t the same perfume I had smelled. I have a really pretty bottle sitting on my dresser now.

  13. Sharon  |  22 November 2011 at 11:15 PM

    I spent some time at the Chanel counter at Dillards, finding the exact right makeup foundation. It was $60 though, and I thought I would select the exact shade I wanted and then find it online at a better price.

    I ordered it online through some cosmetics site I had never heard of and when it arrived it was not only orange, it smelled terrible. The vendor, of course, offered no return.

  14. Kara  |  23 November 2011 at 7:05 AM

    My biggest shopping mistake would probably be ordering way more than I needed to just to get free shipping. It’s so easy to justify unnecssary purchases when you think you’re getting something for free. For example, being the Sephora junkie that I am, every time I go online to place an order, my brain is already conditioned to spend AT LEAST $50 to meet the free shipping requirement. I overspend every single time!

  15. Deanna G.  |  24 November 2011 at 5:22 PM

    My mistake is buying things I don’t really need just because I think I’m getting a really great deal. It’s not really saving me money if I don’t need it to begin with!

  16. Anash  |  25 November 2011 at 4:18 AM

    My biggest mistake is buying furniture because sometimes the colors are a bit different than as described. Next time, I choose to buy big ticket furniture face to face! What a major regret

    Thanks for this splendid giveaway

  17. Clara  |  25 November 2011 at 12:49 PM

    My biggest mistake is not keeping track of return periods and policies. I recently returned something at Shopbop and wasn’t able to take advantage of their free return label (which is great but valid only for 15 days) because I had assumed it was valid for the entire 30 day return period. With all the online purchases, especially during the holidays, returns add up and mistakes can easily be made.

    Some e-tailers require a RMA (return merchandise authorization) request prior to the return, and often as soon as within 2 weeks of purchase, and international purchases require customs labels which, if forgotten, can add up to a large customs fee for an item you don’t have anymore (definitely learned this lesson). And then there are the merchandise credit only sites… I now keep a list of purchases with the store name, item purchased, date, amount and return policy to help me save time and money.

  18. Wendy T  |  27 November 2011 at 5:39 PM

    My tip is this:


    I once ordered a computer online, and entered the shipping address of my previous home. I had recently moved and was simply on auto-pilot when I was placing the order. I was sick to my stomach, thinking I’d have to camp out on my old front lawn.

    Don’t order things on auto-pilot. Two hands on the wheel and focus 🙂

  19. stefania  |  28 November 2011 at 9:23 AM

    I have made plenty of these mistakes. One that comes to mind is not taking into consideration my body shape. I am 5 ft tall, curvy in the butt and thighs. It has taken me way too long- and lots of money wasted on clothes that just don’t look right- to accept that what fits a tall, leggy size 2 will not look right on me- a short, curvy size 6. And that’s ok!

  20. AnnieA  |  28 November 2011 at 10:53 AM

    I got a pair of Ferragamo paumps at a crazy price on eBay – ‘cos I hadn’t noticed that they were AAA, not A!

  21. Caroline  |  28 November 2011 at 11:38 AM

    I ordered this fabulous black lace dress during a final sale. I had been obsessing over for this dress for months so I was so excited that the last dress was in my size! Those sort of things never happen to me!It was three days before a big holiday party and since it required a signature, I paid express shipping to have it sent to my office. I was so rushed for time at work that I decided to put on it on (for the first time) at my friends house as we would be getting ready to go to the party together. Sure enough, the size I had ordered was UK size, not the American size. Armed with every pair of spanx I could manage to wear (I felt like Liz Lemon!), I fit into my dress as long as i didn’t try to sit down. I tried telling myself it would make me more “social” by standing and walking around talking to people. I had made it through the cocktail hour without fainting. HOWEVER, terror stuck as I was reaching for my glass of champagne, I rip the back of my dress, the zipper, EVERYTHING rips and makes a huge sound! i would horrified!

  22. Alexandra  |  28 November 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Online I saw a picture of these custom embroidered silk slippers made by this lady at this tiny little shop in Shanghai. They were only available in China and really expensive. A family friend was going to China for business and I convinced him to go buy them for me and ship them back. However, I had to figure out what size I needed without every trying them on. Three weeks, and a very large check later, I got my custom shoes in the mail… and they were half a size too small. I can only stand to wear them for a few hours and they now just sit on display in my closet.

  23. irene  |  29 November 2011 at 12:38 AM

    I was rushed at the recent YSL sample sale, didn’t try on all of my shoes, and accidentally left with two right (fabulous) heels. Luckily I realized it an hour later and was able to head back to the sale before they officially closed for the week. I had a tough time convincing the security guard they were really two right shoes!

  24. Lucy  |  29 November 2011 at 10:25 PM

    My biggest mistake was ordering a pair of Shure earphones on ebay. My first clue should have been the price was too good to be true, but I was too excited. They came and were completely fake, then the seller removed his profile. Eventually, after much hassle and taking them to a dealer for a statement they are fake, paypal refunded my money but I learned to never fall for deals that are too good to be true!

    Another one is buying things I don’t really need just to get the free shipping deal since I hate paying for shipping! But most of the time, I don”t use the stuff and shipping would have cost less!

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