How I got $66 worth of brand name cosmetics for less than $45

Cosmetics are a weak spot for me. I love makeup. I love walking into a Sephora or Ulta and looking at all of the new eye shadows or lipsticks that have been released. However, cosmetics shopping and saving money rarely go hand-in-hand. After all, I don’t really NEED new blush or eye liner. But they make me more confident and ready to face the day!

use ebates and raise to buy cosmetics or makeup online for less! easy ways to save money
Use these websites and techniques to save money buying cosmetics online

Luxury cosmetics never seem to go on sale so when I find a way to save some cash buying my normal products, I jump on it. I recently discovered that Macy’s website offers free shipping for cosmetics purchases! This prevents the usual buying something just to meet the minimum $50 purchase to get the free shipping (Admit it! We’ve all done it). So I started browsing, found a few things that I wanted, and check it out! I ended up buying a Lancome Tient Idole Foundation stick and Benefit Gimme Brow Fiber Gel for a grand total of $44.81.

Here’s how I did it:

  • Went to macys.com to scope out the prices of what I wanted to buy. I saw that my normal $42 Lancome foundation and $24 brow gel was on sale! YIPEE!
  • In another tab, I went to raise.com through Ebates. I bought a $50 macys.com for $36.97.

Original price $46.97-$10.00 (one-time coupon code off for being a new customer) = $36.97

  • I went to macys.com through Ebates and applied the 15% off code advertised (coupon code “VIP”). Browsed and added the foundation and brow gel to my cart.

Original prices were $66 – $9.90 (15% off coupon) = $56.10. However, they did add $3.79 for sale tax which brought my total to $59.89.

  • I used my $50 gift card from raise.com, which left me paying for $9.89 out of pocket. (Used a credit card with rewards points but I don’t know how to calculate that kind of savings so I’m not counting it.)
  • Because I went to macys.com and raise.com though Ebates, I got another $2.05 off. After all of the discounts and coupons were applied, I got $66 worth of makeup for $44.81. Not bad considering my foundation is normally $42.

$36.97 (for Macy’s gift card from Raise.com) + $9.89 (Cart total at macys.com) = $46.86

$46.86 -$2.05 in Ebates discounts ($1.68 for macys.com and another $0.37 for raise.com)  = $44.81

Not bad! I almost got a free gift too, but macys.com just HAPPENED to run out of them while I was shopping. Figures. Still pretty happy about this. I’m going to use Raise for discount gift cards again. Have you used Raise or Ebates before?

6 Techniques I use to save money shopping online

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.

6 techniques I use to save money shopping online. Use websites like jet.com, ebates.com, raise.com etc to save money buying stuff you want!
Use these techniques to save money shopping online

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).

What usually happens to my car if I’m in a hurry. And probably in the middle of the interstate or at a busy intersection. Yes, that happened. Twice.

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.
Techniques I use to save money shopping online.
Someone shopping online thru Ebates and I’m sure they are super impressed.
  • 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.
Mobile apps used to save money shopping online
Lady drinking ridiculously small cup of coffee while shopping on a mobile app.
  • 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!

Why I love Ebates…

Saving Money on Online Shopping

I LOVE online shopping. No struggle to find parking, no crowds, no waiting in line…. During the holidays, I ONLY shop online. Not even Black Friday deals can entice me. No sir, I will stay warm and cozy in my bed while everyone else can throw elbows in the aisles of a department store.

Even during the rest of the year, I find myself gravitating towards online shopping more and more. Its easy to compare prices on multiple websites, and sometimes the deals are pretty sweet compared to what I can find in a box store.

Use ebates to save money shopping online
Ebates is one of my favorite tools to save money shopping online

Ebates!

Just a few months ago, I discovered Ebates. Ebates has been around for a while, but its quickly become one of my favorite apps. I use it constantly! I remember reading about it and thinking it was fake. I was wrong. So far, I’ve saved around $100 just by doing my regular online shopping.

How to Use Ebates

Ebates is a shopping portal. First, create an account on Ebates’ site. From either their website or the app, search for the retail store you want to shop at (ex. jcpenney, ulta, groupon etc). Click on the “Shop Now” button, and Ebates will send you to the retailers webpage. Shop like normal! Ebates gets a commission from the retailer for bringing you to their site, and they share it with you! Most of the rebates are probably 1-6% (a few are higher). Every three months, they will either mail you a check or upload your rebates to your paypal account.

If you keep forgetting to use the app (it happens), you can also download the Ebates “button” for your browser. If you go to a site where Ebates offers cash back, it will alert you and offer to activate the rebate. Also, Ebates will show you all of the current coupons that the retailer is offering. Very cool.

In-Store Savings

If you don’t want to shop online, there are a few retailers that offer in-store cash back options. You will have to upload your credit card and link it to the offer in Ebates. I haven’t tried this option yet, because the in-store options are limited.

Just a Few Issues

I have two complaints about Ebates. My biggest issue is that the Amazon.com deals are a little lacking! I do a lot of shopping on Amazon so it kinda sucks that there aren’t more options available. This is probably because Amazon doesn’t need help getting suckers like me to use their site. Secondly, the rebates checks are done QUARTERLY which means I have to wait a while to see my cash-back pop-up in paypal.

Bottom line, this app/web portal will definitely save you money when shopping online. I joined about 9 months ago, and I’ve saved over $200. If you want to try Ebates, click here.