Friday, August 6, 2010

Grocery Store Savings - Part 5 (Saving Money by Shopping On-Line)

For the last part in our Savings Series, I want to share with you how to save while shopping on-line.  I know we aren't talking about grocery stores anymore, but saving money is saving money.  Right now we are in the middle of back-to-school preparations and next thing you know it will be time for the Christmas holidays.  So why not expand your thinking to save on ALL of your purchases, not just groceries?

First of all, you need a strategy.  What kind of item are you shopping for?  Certain bargain websites specialize in the products they search for.  For instance TechBargains obviously specializes in all things tech-y.  Others give a wide range of deals, like SlickDeals or dealnews.  Find the sites that you will use most and bookmark them or add them to your Google Reader.  You can find all of my favorites in the Links section on the homepage.

Second, just like grocery shopping, you need to know when to find the lowest price to buy.  Seasonal items, like clothing, are always cheapest at the end of the season.  Back-to-school sales are hot right now, especially on computers, but if you wait another month, you can stock up on school supplies when they mark down the overstock at next to nothing.  You know your kids will need paper throughout the year, so stock up when it hits rock bottom.  Holiday decorations are a prime example of how to save big on clearance sales.  Save up to spend your money at the end of the season, and you can buy next year's decorations on the cheap!  It is all about planning ahead.

Before you check out your purchase, search the internet for coupons or discount codes specific to the item and store you are shopping.  For instance, Google search "Dell Inspiron coupons" or "Dell free shipping codes."  Free shipping codes can be found all over the internet, so it is rare that you should have to pay shipping for a purchase on-line.

Last, how about getting cash back on your purchases?  I love Ebates!  You get actual cash back for internet purchases, not reward points.  There are a lot of retailers on their list, and they often post bonus coupon codes just for Ebates users.  Throughout the year they offer double cash back at select stores.  Right now they are featuring certain clothing, office supply, and computer stores for back-to-school.  If you aren't a member yet, please use the link on my website to help me earn a few extra points, and you will receive a free gift card just for signing up.  I also recommend shopping for the best credit card.  I posted on Facebook that we switched last year to the American Express Blue Cash Credit Card.  (No, I am not receiving a kick-back for advertising.)  It earns us 5% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores with 1.25% on all other purchases.  We pay it off at the end of each month, and this year we received almost $700 cash back.  Make sure that credit card is working for you and not the other way around.

Now I will share with you some great internet savings websites.  Let's revisit two of my favorites: Surviving the Stores and The Thrifty Mama.  Both websites post more than just grocery savings.  They scour the internet for deals on everything from books to clothes and everything in between.  SlickDeals, Techbargains, and Uberi are three other sites that cover a lot of the hottest deals on the internet.  There are also a host of daily deal websites, but my favorites are 1 Sale a Day and Woot, and for clothing, try 6pm and dealnews.  Don't get too overwhelmed and try every site on the web.  Find a couple you can reliably trust and stick with them.  Bookmark them or add them to your RSS Reader and get some sleep.  You are going to miss a sale once in a while, but the good news is that it will go on sale again.

Now that you have graduated from Savings School, how about a giveaway?  As promised, I am giving away a Coupon Organizer to get you started off on the right foot.  To enter, simply leave your first name and last initial in the comment section along with your goal for the money you are saving.  You have until Sunday, midnight CDT to enter, and I will post the winner on Monday.  Happy saving!

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