Frugal Hack #5: Abandon Your Virtual Shopping Cart & Score a Deal

Updated June 30, 2020 by Kyle

(Welcome to the fifth post in my new Frugal Hacks series. Frugal life tips which take very little time to implement, but could conceivably save you a ton of money every year.)

Have you ever been really close to buying something online only to back out at the last second? If you have, you may already be aware that many online retailers are sending out an email with a virtual coupon attached to try and entice you to come back and finalize your purchase. This is still a very new strategy, but many top online stores like Best Buy, Zappo’s, The Home Depot, Bass Pro, and Lands’ are sending out coupons after you have abandoned your purchase.

Below is a screenshot of an abandoned cart email from Bass Pro

The Skinny:

~ Must Register First – The retailer obviously needs to know your email address for this to work. So you need to make sure to register and log-in with the retailer before you try this frugal hack.

Many websites will let you check out as a ‘Guest’, but that won’t work, you have to register and be logged into your account before you abandon your shopping cart.

~ Gotta Know When To Fold ‘Em – Once you have placed the item(s) in your cart, go through the entire checkout process until you get to the payment page. Do not log-out or close the browser window until you get at least this far.

If you want to increase your chances of getting a coupon via email, you may want to enter your credit card information and exit when you see the button that says some variation of “Click to Finalize your Purchase”.

~ Not All Coupons are Alike – The type of coupon you get via email can depend on many internal factors within the retailer’s database. Things like buying history and frequency of purchases are undoubtedly taken into account when deciding how good an offer to email you.

Also, if you clicked a Google ad to get to the retailer’s site you may be less likely to get a coupon as they have to pay the search engine giant a fee for that click.  So just be aware that the coupon you get could be different than the one your friend gets, if they get one at all.

~ The Art of Haggling – It is pretty cool that the art of haggling and negotiating has come to the Internet. The abandon your cart strategy reminds me of walking out of a car dealership when they won’t match your best offer.

But instead of a phone call from the car salesman to try and get you back in the doors, retailers send you a friendly little email trying to entice you back to their website.

Have you tried this frugal hack before? If so, were you successful in scoring a coupon?


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John @ Frugal Rules

I’ve not tried this before, but definitely plan on using it in the future. I never thought of doing something like this, but it makes complete sense why they would do it.

DC @ Young Adult Money

I have never tried this, but I most certainly will in the future now that you’ve shared it. I recently googled to try to find a coupon code and I saved $20. It was an earlier post that popped into my head right before I checked out that made me think to search for a coupon code. I look forward to abandoning my cart and seeing how much I end up saving over time.