Friday, February 17, 2012
My friends are always calling me up when they need to save on a particular thing, and always referring to me as the "deal girl." It's true, I love to save money. I get a pit in my stomach if I ever feel that I paid more than I should have for something. That is why I have become addicted to savings. I decided to put all my strategies on this blog so that my friends and family can save too!
Here's the top list of ways that I save money online:
(I will update it as I think of more)
1. Promo codes. Before you buy anything online, see if there is a promo code for certain sites. One of my favorites is retailmenot.com. If you have a smartphone you can download the app and there are many stores that will accept the coupons straight from your phone!
2. Another thing you need to do before buying anything online. This one is HUGE. Sign up for an Ebates account. You get cash back for your shopping...and you don't have to do anything else! I just got a $10 check back from the dresser we bought for our nursery. Even if you don't do a lot of online shopping, the little things you do throughout the year still add up! Sign up now before you forget. Here's the link. All you have to do when you go to buy something online, is go to the site through ebates. For instance, if you are already going to sign up for Netflix, do it through your ebates account and you get $6 back! Other stores give a percentage of your purchase...I believe I got 5% cash back for the dresser I bought.
I've listed those first because they are two of my favorite sites. I first get a promo code to save money on my order, and then I order through ebates and get cash back! Now for more ways to save money:
3. Google product search. I do this before buying as well because it will tell me all the other sites that are selling that particular item, and what they are selling it for. That way I know if there's a better deal out there.
4. Flights. One of my favorite sites to save money on airfare is airfarewatchdog.com. If you have a specific city you are wanting to travel to, you can set up an alert so that you are emailed anytime the rates are low. Or...if you don't have a specific destination in mind but just want to travel somewhere cheap and have fun...you can do a search "From a city" and it will tell you all the lowest fares from that specific airport. This site has saved me hundreds of dollars! (this site saves you more money if you know ahead of time that you want to travel to a specific place). If I am wanting to travel somewhere last minute, I will usually check momondo.com as well. If you know of other awesome sites to get cheap airfare, please post a comment. I'm always looking for ways to save on airfare!
5. Swagbucks. I downloaded the swagbucks toolbar and use it when I search for things. You get points for doing so, and they add up! Then you use your points to buy things. For instance, I mostly use my points for Amazon gift cards, and get at least one a month. (and I don't even use swagbucks that much!) If you use swagbucks extensively, I imagine you could earn a lot more. You can also earn points through certain offers and surveys as well. I don't ever have time for surveys, but if you were to open a netflix account for example (even just the trial version), you would earn enough points for an amazon gift card just for doing that! (There are many more things to redeem your points for, I am just an Amazon fan!)
6. If you're a coupon clipper, this site is awesome. If you're not (like me), it is still useful for grocery shopping. I love using the shopping wizard on this site so that I can see what the sales are at all the different grocery stores. It's savvyshopperdeals.com (If you know of a better free site, let me know). If you are a parent of little ones, I also like babycheapskate.com It has the deals on baby products, as well as the cheapest places to buy diapers and wipes, both online and in stores. I know of many other sites for cheap baby stuff, I will write a separate post for those.
7. Separate email account. I have a separate email account for all of my "good deal emails" so that I am not bugged by any of them. That way, I am up to date on all the cheap deals, but my personal email account is not overwhelmed. Good sites to be signed up for: Groupon, Eversave, Plum District, Living Social, CityDeals, Daily Herald Deals, and Dealfind.com
8. CityDeals. I'm mentioning this one again in it's own paragraph because I frequent this site often. I like to use this site for my gift giving. Gift certificates make awesome wedding, Christmas, and birthday presents and you get crazy discounts on them through this site.
9. If you have children: Totsy and Zulily. I love these sites for getting good deals on adorable baby and kid's items! You can also get good deals on maternity clothing.
10. Vitacost. If you're into healthy living, this is one of my favorite sites to get good prices. Also, if you click through this link, you'll get a $10 credit for your first purchase. Even if you're not into health products, they also have beauty and cosmetic products. For example, if you like Burt's Bees products, there are many of them that you can get for free with your $10 credit.
11. OneKingsLane. This is an awesome site if you love Name-brand, designer items for your home at a fantastic discount. You can even get $15 towards your first purchase.
There's my list! (I have more to share, but will have to post more later!)
Comment if you know of some great sites as well!
How to Take Advantage of the Classifieds
This is HUGE. I love the classifieds because not only do I save lots of money on different things, but I also make money.
First, saving money. I have bought most of my baby girl's clothes (as well as furniture, vehicles, home decor, etc.) from online classifieds (sites like Craigslist, KSL, or Ebay) and usually do not spend more than 50 cents to $1.00 on most items (some I even got for less). Keep in mind these are not spotted old clothes. Most of her clothes are Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, and Children's Place. And they are adorable. You just have to watch the ads and find a good deal. Let's say someone is selling clothing online for $1 or $2 a piece. I would usually call and ask for a discount if I agreed to buy at least $20 worth. Usually I would get an affirmative (most people don't want to have to deal with multiple customers coming to their house just to buy a $1 outfit).
Clothing Lots are also a way to go. Say someone is selling a clothing lot of 80 pieces for $60. I would first talk down the asking price, and then keep the cutest outfits out of the lot and turn around and sell the rest.
If you are looking for a specific item not in your state, you can use a site that searches craigslist over many states to find your item (There are also many apps for this). I was looking for a particular baby seat that isn't made anymore and couldn't find it anywhere that I lived. Ebay was too expensive so I did a search on Craigslist and found many people in different states selling it for the price I wanted. I used my paypal account and had them ship it to me.
Which leads me to the making money side of things. Chances are you have something lying around your house that you no longer want that has value to someone else. The trick to selling things online is to make sure you describe your item very well in your ad, and that you include a good picture. No one wants to make the drive over to pick up the item if they aren't sure they want it. Also, the better you describe your item with key words, the more chances it has of coming up in someone's search. (don't put key words in your ad that don't relate to your item though, that will only annoy people and it won't help sell your item). A few months ago I really wanted this brand new beautiful couch I found at a local store. It was a $2,000 couch, and I found a wholesale place willing to sell it to me for $799. As much as I wanted it, it wasn't in our budget. So I got online and started selling things on the classified ads. Within a month I had my couch. And I've done that for several things. Just because something's not in your budget doesn't mean you can't create a way to get it! And if you have a niche for certain things, use your knowledge to your advantage when using the classifieds! I once really wanted a BlendTec blender, and I was able to buy it because I bought a vintage sewing machine at a yard sale for $5 and re-sold it on the online classifieds for $400. (I just got lucky, but if you have extensive knowledge on something like sewing machines, you would be the perfect person to make money buying and selling sewing machines!)
So there you have it! Don't waste money buying things at full price when you can usually find that same item like-new (and sometimes new!) and a fraction of the price!