There are so many different sites now that promise to save or make you money “all within the comfort of your own home” that it can be extremely hard to find the right one(s) for you.
I know I have always been a penny-pincher, trying to maximize my savings whenever I have to purchase something (discount price? coupon? rebate? reward points?). So when I came across Ebates and I realized how easy it was to MAKE money every time I shopped online; I was hooked. My first check in the mail was $11!! YES! They send you a CHECK. That you can CASH!
I quickly started formulating how to purchase everything online so that I could make money on each purchase (groceries? clothes? household products? home construction supplies?).
Clothes and gadgets can be especially easy because I used to just shop the store, try everything on I was interested in, then write down the style/size/color of each item I wanted and go back online to purchase them through Ebates. Sometimes I would have to weigh if the store price/sale was better than the online sale price, but I could also search for discount codes if I was purchasing online (see below).
Now that I don’t have the luxury to shop for an hour or two for clothes, I look for free return shipping and other exchange perks so I can purchase without having to stress about picking the wrong size.
As with anything, my gumption for Ebates fizzled out for a while, especially since I was still busy studying in college, but every Christmas I’d return to Ebates, ordering all my gift-giving online (and especially Baby Shower gifts!). And now as an adult, wife, and mom, it is incredibly helpful because online ordering of regular purchases saves me the hassle of packing up kids, organizing coupons, etc and fighting the traffic and lines to make a purchase. Now I can pick up a gift card at Kroger when we’re doing our grocery shopping and make my online purchases during naptime with my gift cards and Google searches for discount/promo codes.
Upromise also works much like Ebates – and sometimes they have partnered with stores that Ebates hasn’t, so this is definitely something to tap into for saving money on every online purchase. However, Upromise is about saving money towards a college fund or paying off an education loan. So instead of sending you a check for online purchases, they deposit that money into an account that you can use towards a college fund (which you can tie to a bank account) or paying off your current student loan(s).
I’m still new to Upromise since I only signed up when my daughter was born, but I’ll update this post as I learn more.
DISCOUNT OR PROMO CODES
RetailMeNot.com is probably the best resource for finding promo codes by store. Simply type in your store’s name in their search bar and it’ll come up with all submitted codes by other savvy shoppers along with a success-rating if the code works or is expired.
Don’t over look a good Google search! Even after RetailMeNot, you might find something else and some stores let you use more than one code! Search “store name” + “promo code” or “discount code” to see if any discounts come up for you to use in that little “Do you have a promotional code?” box. I’ve usually received free shipping or at least 10% off my total order this way. There is almost ALWAYS a promo code floating around the internet. You just have to take 5 minutes to google it.
GIFT CARDS = FUEL POINTS
This strategy helps us save at the pump. It doesn’t “make” us money on purchases but rather a savings strategy to pair with online purchases. And with more grocery stores adding their own fuel rewards system, it is worth looking into. Buy gift cards to get fuel points and use those gift cards to pay for planned purchases. Plus this also saves you from entering your credit card into internet forms, a great safety bonus!
I have a stack of Rewards cards on my key ring as well as frequency cards in my wallet, but none have paid me more than my Directions Credit Union credit card with their Buzz Points reward system. Every few months we have enough points to receive $15-$25 to our local grocery store. A grocery store!! Currently this is my husband’s “fun” money for his necessary splurge (lunches out) in order to stay on track with other savings goals, but during months when we are extremely tight, we’ll use this for actual household groceries. The Buzz Points are the first rewards system that have made me a believer in rewards points actually rewarding you (not restaurant gift cards!).
Discover Card’s cash back is a second favorite, which we use towards our Amazon Membership + Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. Things like diapers, wipes, paper towels, and our furnace’s air filter.
Do you have a strategy when it comes to saving or making money with your purchases? I’d love to hear all your tips + suggestions in the comments below!
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