Be An Online Shopping Ninja

Guest Post By Crystal Paine

3 Minute Read

Shopping online is not only convenient, but it also saves you money—especially if you’re armed with my secrets for sleuthing out super deals. Here are three of my favorite ways to get the best bang for your buck online:

1. Use a Coupon Code

My husband and I 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 RetailMeNot.com. They are the best coupon code website in existence right now.

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 one to two minutes of effort, that coupon code will usually save me at least 10% off my order—sometimes even as much as 25%!

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Bonus Tip: Don’t have time to mess with scouring the web for great deals? Follow my site, MoneySavingMom.com, for a daily serving of the best online deals and coupons available. Also, check out JungleDealsandSteals.com for the hottest Amazon deals every day and sign up for the daily deal emails from sites like Groupon, Living Social and Zulily to get bargains on brand-name items.

2. Don’t Pay for Shipping

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 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 FreeShipping.org to find free shipping codes and offers available at thousands of stores online.

3. Get Cash Back

Cash-back sites like Ebates and Mr. Rebates 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!

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 cash back and then shop through that one. To ensure your cash back is credited to your account, search for the store on the cash-back site you’re using and then click through the store link. This should guarantee that you are credited for your purchases.

By combining shopping online with a free shipping offer, an online coupon code, and a cash-back rebate on all of your online shopping purchases, you will make your money go a lot farther this Christmastime—leaving you with more money left over to put toward your emergency fund or debt snowball!

Crystal Paine is a wife, mom of three and founder of MoneySavingMom.com, one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the web. Her second book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, releases in January 2014.

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