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52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}

3 Tips to Save Money on Online Orders

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 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 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 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?

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  • moneystepper says:

    Awesome stuff. This is the first time I’ve stumbled across this series. Got some serious reading to catch up on!! looks awesome – thanks for the link!

  • If you’re buying from Amazon, I like to use my Amazon giftcards earned from swagbucks.

  • I get free 2day shipping with no minimum purchase from Amazon Prime. My mom has it and shares it with me at no extra cost to her. It’s great for getting things as we need it, like drywall nails, homeschool books, coconut oil, etc,

  • beth says:

    I am sure some might think I am cheating the system, but Kohls (though they often have free shop codes) and Macy’s will offer free shipping with a certain amount of purchase. I will get what I really want in my shopping cart then add something else to get my total to the free ship amount. When my order arrives I can easily return the “extra” stuff and avoid any shipping fee. Both these stores on on my normal route so no extra time or expense is spent to return these item.

  • Sarah Tiani says:

    I often use services like Pricegrabber to check prices once I have picked a specific item. You search on it and it will give you the best price on the web, including shipping. You can use it on almost anything, but I particularly use it when searching for prices on big items like appliances.

  • barb says:

    I love ordering from Amazon (using those SB gift cards) but, like Crystal, the “Deal” is only worth it for me if shipping is free. I usually have a list of small “need” items in my head that I can refer to if I need to boost the total in case I am under $25.

    But, I recently heard about that matches items for that strange total you need to get free shipping on Amazon. It’s amazing because it gives you a huge list of (occasionally bizarre) items that can qualify you for free shipping. A lot of the items are small giftable things and are a much better deal than paying $16 (!!) to ship that cute crockpot.

  • Lisa says:

    Shop at home go through them also after you spend so much you get $25.00 check also they have codes to love shop at home Lisa

    • Laura says:

      I also use shop at home. They have a deal where if you find a better % back they elwill match and give you a little more back.

  • Sarah M. says:

    If you know you’re going to be shopping online, first go to a gift card exchange site like You can buy e-giftcards at a discounted rate, such as a $40 gift card for $36. They will then email you the gift card code within 24 hours, which you can then use for your shopping order. Then go to your online retailer through Ebates or Swagbucks to get cash back.

    • Michelle says:

      While I’m a BIG proponent of doing this, be careful! Ebates policy technically says they will NOT give you cash back for purchases with a gift card (even if you only used a gift card for part of the order, it apparently negates the entire order from cash back). I can tell you on smaller orders, this hasn’t been an issue. (We just did a $120 order with this method, after $80 of savings, and still got our cash back!) However, we tried to buy a mattress this way, and it was such a large purchase that it flagged. Ebates sent me their policy and refused to give us the cash back on the portion we didn’t have covered with gift cards. YMMV

  • Piper says:

    Quick question…for those who use both, what’s the benefit of using Mr. Rebates v ebates? Is it that one has higher %s or do they cover different retailers? Thanks!

    • Michelle says:

      From my experience, they’re both similar. The percentages per store can vary (just like your timing can increase or decrease your percent on the same website), but the real catch is that you have to reach a minimum to cash out. If you use both sites, you have to reach the minimum on EACH site, instead of just one! If you’re not doing a lot of shopping, that could make a difference.

    • Sarah says:

      Actually, I used to use whichever cash back site had the highest cash back percentage, but now I almost exclusively use Shop At Home (I won’t put my referral link since this isn’t my blog). SAH has a great program where they’ll match anyone elses’s cash back percentage by 110%! Now I no longer have to order through different sites to receive the best cash back. I just use one, and get an even better deal than I would have gotten anywhere else!

  • K D says:

    If you have a Discover credit card you can earn at least 5% cash back by shopping through their portal. They also have made the 4th quarter 5% bonus online shopping (so you can double dip). If you redeem your Discover points for certain gift cards you can obtain them at a discount (I get $25 Staples gift cards for $20 worth of points) and they now offer eCards for several retailers (giving you immediate access).

    Also, right now PayPal has partnered with several retailers to offer free two day shipping if you use PayPal to pay for an order. Paypal allows you to pay with either your bank account or a credit card.

    If you’re working on earning frequent flyer miles you can shop through airline websites to earn miles on your purchases – there are sometimes bonus amounts and doing so will keep your miles in your account instead of letting them expire if you have not had recent activity. I have used Snapfish for small orders to keep miles in our United Mileage Plus accounts (you can pick up photos at Walgrrens or Wal-Mart to save on the cost of shipping).

  • WilliamB says:

    “It’s just not worth it to me to have to pay high shipping prices — even if the online deal is spectacular.”

    I’d say that it’s the total price that matters, not the price components. When I’m looking for a specific book, I’m happy get it for $4.00, even though $3.99 is shipping.

  • JoannaTopazT says:

    I discovered (from Susan Heid at the, to give credit where credit is due) You input the online site where you are shopping, and it gives you a list of current percentages from the cash-back (ebates, upromise, etc.) and points sites (e.g., I’ve been using this regularly to decide which one to go through for a purchase.

  • There have been so many times I have made a purchase and THEN thought about the coupon code! I have to keep a little post it by my computer now. 🙂

  • I always check Ebates to see if they’re offering cash back for my online purchases.

    Tip: Place the items you’re going to purchase in your cart before heading to Ebates. When you’re redirected back to Ebates you’ll be able to head straight to the checkout!

  • Alena says:

    I use to find coupon codes. I can search by brand or store. Recently I was able to purchase a purse for over half off because of stacking coupon codes from Kohls and getting it shipped for free. I’ve also had to order printer ink recently from the HP site since they offer a discount and free shipping and then I also applied a coupon code from Printer ink less than $50 for 5 cartridges. It would have been over $60 if bought at a store.

  • Sandra says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    You can use coupon codes + rebate whenever the cash back site offer you the capability ( if the coupon code on the rebate website, you shall have no problem getting both of them ).

    I would also add to those and

    They both has huge variety of stores, and great deals.

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