I am not frugal by nature. There…. I said it. I’m a financial independence blogger that likes to spend money and has to fight with herself to save cash. Seriously, what is wrong with me?! My parents are not big spenders. They were always very good about staying out of debt and saving money. My siblings are also good with money. Maybe this just partially confirms my childhood belief that I am adopted.
To be fair, I’m not a shopaholic. I saw that movie. I don’t go on epic shopping sprees that leave my bank account empty and my credit cards maxed. I haven’t had credit card debt for years and when I did, it was the result of not having an emergency fund (A special thank you to the universe for all of the car repairs and failing appliances that seemed to happen at once).
As I’ve gotten older, my goals have shifted. The thought of working until 65 is not appealing at all, and now I’m more interested in saving money for retirement than going shopping at the mall (are malls even cool anymore?). But I do want to buy stuff sometimes, and I want to be as smart as possible to get the best price.
What are some of the techniques that I use to get what I want AND save money? (please note that clicking on some of these links contain a referral code and I’ll get a little bonus.)
- Shop Amazon’s competitors. Amazon is fantastic, and its usually the first place I look when shopping for something I can’t find in stores. However, more and more websites are popping up to take Amazon’s place. Some of them are pretty awesome like jet.com or boxed.com. I’ve used both and have been pretty impressed with the results. Getting free shipping isn’t difficult. I’ve used Jet probably the most because of a 15% off coupon for new users and the two day shipping. Jet also will give you additional discounts if you buy more than one of the same item. These sites work even better when coupled with the other techniques I mention in this post.
- Shop online using Ebates (Here is an article detailing my undying love of Ebates). If I want to buy ANYTHING online, I check Ebates first. Most of the time, you will only save like 3-6%. Still worth it if its something I’m going to buy anyway. Also, if I have to travel, I check Ebates for travel deals at Marriott or Travelocity. Hotel room discounts are usually pretty low, but still will save you a few dollars.
- Buy discounted gift cards on raise.com. I just tried this out after reading about it on krazycouponlady. If I want to do some online shopping, I check here for discounted gift cards. You can also get ones to use in the store, but they will have to be mailed to you. Just keep that in mind.
- Download Rebate apps. For retail shopping, I like Ibotta the best, and I wrote about it in this post. You can use Ibotta for coupons at retail stores like Soma, Puma, or H&M. Sometimes Ibotta will have discounts for other mobiles apps too.
- Look for coupons through RetailMeNot and Krazycouponlady. I pretty much LIVE on my phone and I downloaded Retailmenot and krazycouponlady apps. If there is something that I need to buy, I’ll look at retailmenot for any in-store or online coupon codes. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don’t. Still worth checking. Krazycouponlady will show you any deals in specific store that you might be interested in. Sometimes, they will have a coupon or point me to an app that I might not be aware of.
- Stack coupons for steep discounts. Yes, this isn’t new. You’re probably already doing it, but it’s still worth mentioning. For example, Cartwheel is Target’s coupon app, and you can add discounts for everything from clothes, household good, and groceries. To maximize savings, I saw that Target was having a sale on toilet paper and cleaning supplies. I added several discounts for toilet paper and other household items in Cartwheel. I also had a bunch of paper coupons for toilet paper. I also had toilet paper rebates in Ibotta! See where I’m going with this? When I checked out, I saved about $12 with Cartwheel. Once I uploaded my receipt in to Ibotta, I saved another $6.75….. And another $4 in MobiSave….All in all, I probably saved about $30 stacking my coupons with sale items. Plus, I got $35 dollars with of Target gift cards to use towards my next shopping trip. SCORE! I’ve stacked coupons with other retailers too, like Soma or JCpenney.
What about you? Have you tried any of the things I’ve mentioned here? Do you have cool tricks that you use to save money? Leave a comment!