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You consider yourself pretty smart when it comes to finances. So why, oh why, are you still paying for shipping? Below, five useful tips to keep in mind when choosing an online store and deciphering whether what you see is really what you'll get.

1. Discover Your True Size

The #1 rule for online shopping success: Know your measurements. This handy guide gives some great detailed instructions on how to go about it. Also, a lot of sites indicate what size the model in the photo is wearing and what her measurements are. You can then determine your size accordingly.

2. Bookmark Stores with Free Shipping and Returns

Honestly, it's just plain ridiculous to pay for these services. There are so many sites that now offer both free shipping and free returns, or at the very least, a nominal flat-rate that disappears when you hit a certain dollar amount. Some of our favorites are Amazon, Shopbop, ASOS, Zappos, Gap brands, Macy's, and Barney's. Who’d we leave out?

3. Or Find the Ones that Offer In-Store Pick-Ups

If a brand doesn't offer free shipping, sometimes they have a feature called in-store pick-up. Zara has this complimentary service that ships the item to your nearest store and all you have to do is run in to grab it. (Note: You're allowed to cut the line for this one.)

4. Sign Up for the Newsletter

This one's tricky because you don't want to clog your inbox, but the best deals are often found through email. If you're selective and only sign-up for the stores you absolutely love there's a good chance you'll nab decent sale pricing. Even a head's up about new arrivals can be a worthwhile advantage.

5. Download Honey

Last, but certainly not least, get technology on your side. Honey, an app/widget, can be downloaded right to your bookmarks bar and upon opening any retail site, it alerts you of any coupons or deals. True story: It once saved us $150. Is that genius, or is that genius?