Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.
Christmas will be here soon and that means that many of us are doing more online shopping than usual. Whether you shop online all year long or just around Christmastime, use the following tips and tricks and you’ll probably save $100 or more on your online orders!
1. Look for a Free Shipping Offer
When I order online, I rarely pay for shipping. It’s just not worth it to me to have to pay high shipping prices — even if the online deal is spectacular.
I’ve found that if you’re willing to look around and be patient, you can almost buy just about anything online without paying for shipping. Many stores offer free shipping year-round on a minimum order or they offer free shipping codes at various times throughout the year. Check FreeShipping.org to find free shipping codes and offers available at thousands of stores online.
It’s best to shop when an online store is running a free shipping special that requires no extra code. This way, you can not only get free shipping, but you can also get a percentage off your order by using a coupon code. (Some stores do allow you to combine coupon codes, but many don’t — see point #2.)
Tip: See If the Site Offers Free Shipping to Your Local Store
If you can’t get free shipping, check to see if you can have the item shipped to your local store for free. This isn’t quite as convenient as having something shipped to your front door, but if the store is nearby, it could definitely be worth the effort to run by and pick it up and save on shipping.
2. Search for a Coupon Code
Up until a few years ago, I never even thought to look for a coupon code when I ordered something online. Now, my husband and I both have a policy to never purchase anything without first finding a coupon code to use.
I’ve tried a lot of different coupon code websites and I’ve also tried Googling for coupon codes, but in my opinion, nothing compares to RetailMeNot.com. They are the best coupon code website in existence so far. All you have to do is go to their homepage, search for the store you’re planning to shop from, and ta-da! you have a long list of coupon codes that have been rated by their large community of users.
More often than not, I’m able to find at least one coupon code from the long list that works for me. And, for possibly 1-2 minutes of effort, that coupon code will usually save me at least 10% off my order — sometimes even as much as 25%!
Tip: Try to Combine Coupon Codes
Sites like Kohls.com allow you to stack two coupon codes — one to get free shipping and one to get a percentage off your total. It’s always worth it to try to see if a site will let you use more than one coupon.
3. Shop Through a Cashback Site
Cashback sites work with online stores to offer you a percentage — usually somewhere between 3-6% of your total purchase — back as a rebate. While 3-6% might not seem like much, it can really add up over time.
My theory: if you’re already going to be making the online purchase, you might as well get a little money back, too, right? After all, it’s essentially “free” money!
Here are two cashback sites I recommend:
- Rakuten (formerly Ebates) — One of the oldest cashback sites, Rakuten has an easy-to-navigate website. You only have to earn $5.01 in rebates in order to get a check or Paypal payment. You get a $5 bonus upon sign-up, so with just one purchase, you can reach payout. However, payments are only sent every three months, so you have to wait awhile to get your rebate. Go here to sign up.
- Mr. Rebates–A smaller cashback site, Mr. Rebates still offers a pretty good payout: you get a $5 bonus when you sign up and you can choose to request a check or Paypal payment as soon as you’ve received $10 in rebates. Go here to sign up.
When you are ready to make an online purchase, check both of these sites to see which one is currently giving the highest percentage of cashback and then shop through that one. To ensure your cashback is credited to your account, search for the store on the cashback site you’re using and then click through the store link. This should guarantee that you are credited for your purchases.
By combining free shipping, an online coupon code, and a cashback rebate on all of your online shopping purchases, you will make your money go a lot farther and you’ll likely save at least $100 per year (if not more!).
What are your best tips and tricks for saving money on online orders?