grub + travels + perspectives

My April Online Haul (+ Tips When Purchasing Online)

I think we can all agree that online shopping is one of the best contributions of the world wide web to the modern times. It's easy, fast and most of all, convenient. And I was definitely not one to shy away from exploring this option when I first knew about it as I have been an online shopper for many years now.

I'm an absolute cheapskate when it comes to shoes and bags and even clothes. I always prefer those buy-1-take-1 for PhP 500 type of sneakers at SM Department Store. It's dirt cheap and it does what it's supposed to. I never see the point of buying an expensive pair of shoes. LOL. To be honest about my spending, a bulk of it goes to food (no regrets), then maybe my transportation fare everyday. Now that I've moved back home in Cavite, I get to have extra moolah to buy stuff for myself. And this month, I decided to spend a little more on the things I've been dodging to buy because it's out of my budget, and maybe invest on a good pair of kicks for a change! And where best to buy stuff than online! Online sellers always give you the greatest deals for a lower price.

So here's the stuff I bought this month and I'm going to share with you as well the online shops I purchased them from. They're legit!

Romoss Solo 5 10,000mAh Dual Output Power Bank (Online store: Lazada). I joined a blogging contest by ShopCoupons last March and actually won! The prize: PhP 1,000 Lazada voucher. You might say, "What? But Lazada sucks!" Yeah, I've read stories about Lazada's disappointing services but I still decided to give it a go since it's a freebie! I decided to get a power bank so that I have something to use during my travels, or just for emergency cases, in general. Verdict about Lazada: I was actually impressed by their service. I guess it's really a case to case basis. The product is working fine, I got it for a much cheaper price and it even arrived earlier than I expected!

Instax Wide 210 (Online store: Instaxtic). My old Instax camera gave up on me a few months back so I decided to purchase a new one. This time I opted to have an Instax Wide! I've seen a lot of shops on Instagram that sell these babies at a much lower price, so I went ahead and searched for a good deal. I found Instaxtic (thank God they aren't one of those that you need to follow first, and even if you already do, the prices aren't stated and you still need to DM the seller which I don't get at all), and found a package of this camera plus 2 packs of film for PhP 4,900! It was the best deal I got! 

I don't usually buy gadgets (or anything expensive) online because I find it too risky, but if the seller accommodates meetups near where I live or where I work, I push through with it. Instaxtic schedules a meetup for all customers who choose to pickup the items they ordered. 

Leather Half Case (Online store: Manila Vintage Primes). Because my X30 needs to look pretty and need some tender lovin' care at the same time. Manila Vintage Primes offers leather cases for almost all cameras you can think of as well as camera straps (neck and hand), the cameras itself, other accessories, kit lenses, and equipment.

Vans Era Lace Up (Online store: OLX). Searching for a comfy pair is kinda getting addicting. This is my second pair for the month and expecting another one. Hahaha.

Gouache Camera Bag. (Online store: You Pound It). This has got to be my best buy so far. During trips and special occasions, I usually bring both my cameras, which makes my totes extremely bulky, and when I put them in my backpack, they usually get lost deep within the bag along with my other things (LOL) and sometimes, I think, it's what's caused the scratches. I've done some researching and found out about Gouache from a friend. I love it. It has detachable partitions (click on link to see) in it and a compartment for laptop. Just perfect. I was supposed to go to Henry's or their store in Katipunan, luckily, I found out about You Pound It and even got the bag at a discounted price!

Socks with the cutest and happiest designs (Online store: SockhouseMNL). Because new shoes need to go with new socks! Found this Instagram store with such a wide variety of socks of different designs and colors! There's Totoro, Disney princesses, any character you can think of and even your favorite food and pet. Of course, I went with food. Haha. Sushi and breakfast food forever! SockhouseMNL has an ongoing sale, PhP99/pair and 5 pairs are free of shipping fee within Metro Manila!

1. If possible, purchase from reputable online shops that have rating systems like EBay or Lazada. When I first started purchasing things online, I always go to EBay because it's more secure. An honest review is needed every after successful transaction. Sellers there pay a lot of attention to their feedback rating and shop reputation. Look for the cash on delivery option. You're protected this way because you can get to check if the item is in pristine condition before paying for it. Although I've read about Helga's dispute with Lazada before. So research is still key.

2. But EBay and Lazada doesn't have the thing I want! It's on an IG shop! What now?
If it's an IG seller, check the number of followers as well as the comments section. Look for customer testimonies and feedbacks. Legit IG sellers usually ask their customers for feedback that the item has been received so they could screencap convos and post it on their accounts. Sometimes they even use a special hashtag for it so future customers can view it. What will make it more convincing is if the screencaps are tagged to actual IG accounts. Just be vigilant about it.

3. If you're buying from individuals like sellers from OLX, it's always better to do a meetup. Since OLX doesn't have a rating system, the person you're transacting with could just fall of the face of the Earth after you've made your payment. Also, ask for their personal FB account, for example, just to prove their authenticity. Legit sellers would actually give in to these requests. Don't forget to have the meet up in an accessible place like a mall, just to be on the safe side.

4. Read the item's description meticulously to save both you and the seller time. Don't forget to ask their reason for selling and the last price they're willing to sell the item. They usually cut it down a few bucks more when they want to sell it ASAP. Ask for the actual photo of the item. If they're just posting Google-d photos, you can never tell the true condition of the item and how it looks in normal setting. Don't be afraid to demand for more photos if you need them. 

5. If a deal is too good to be true, it most probably is. I've seen this way too many times before, especially those days when Multiply was still up. There would be countless stories of how a buyer found this ridiculously great deal online and after depositing their payment, the seller goes MIA. Yes, online shops mostly have great bargain prices, sometimes even lower than of the malls, but if it's unbelievably cheap, yes, don't believe it because there's a catch. It's a scam.

6. If you're using your credit card for payment, please use your own computer or laptop so that no one gets to access your information. And provide information that's only needed.

7. If buying gadgets online, steer away from online shops that were just created a few weeks ago. Order from trusted ones like DBGadgets or Kimstore. If buying from another individual, go for a meetup and inspect thoroughly the gadget. When I bought a camera before from DBGadgets, I asked my friend who's more knowledgeable about cameras to come with me since I'm not yet familiar on the things I need to check on.

That's it. Online shopping still comes with its risks, so the bottom line is be cautious. Happy online shopping!