Long ago, back when my town used to actually have a functional shopping mall, the whole family would go there to do our Christmas shopping.
When the mall died, we started to make the 2-hour trip to Duluth, where there was a bigger mall.
Now that we have three kids and gas prices are 30 percent higher than they used to be, we’ve taken to doing most of our gift shopping on the internet. I’ve found that using the internet to shop saves us money in other ways than just the price of gas. When you shop from home you’re not as tempted to buy things you see because you “may as well get it while you’re there.” It’s easier to say “no” to a purchase because there is always another great deal online tomorrow. Also, whenever we would head to the “big city” we would have to go out to eat, fill the car with gas, get a snack or two, and some other treat for ourselves. The trip would always end up costing more than we thought.
I’m also learning that there are ways to squeeze even more savings out of online shopping. Here are a few fabulous resources I’ve used to find bargains online.
FreeShipping.org This site has free shipping coupons to more than 800 stores including JCPenney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Dell and Gap. It’s easy to search by store name, category, and expiration date. I always try to check out this site before I order anything online.
Along those same lines, check out Rather Be Shopping. In addition to free shipping codes, Rather Be Shopping also has coupon codes for discounts at hundreds of online retailers. And Kyle’s blog is pretty good, too.
I never, ever shop online before checking Ebates. Ebates is a website that gives you cash back for shopping through their website. It’s super easy to use, and four times a year, I get a “big fat check” just for shopping online through Ebates for things I would normally buy. (By the way, if you use this link to sign up and make a purchase before Oct. 31, we’ll both get $10). Ebates also tips you off to coupon codes and free shipping offers.
If you need to make a purchase and you need it to get here fast, consider a free trial membership to Amazon Prime. With Amazon Prime, you get free unlimited 2-day shipping all year round for $79 (with no minimum purchase to make), so if you’re a major Amazon customer, you may want to check it out.
If you just want to take advantage of the quick shipping for the holidays, you can sign up for the FREE Amazon Prime 30-day trial membership. Just remember to cancel the membership before the 30 days are up or else you’ll get charged the $79 fee. My husband did this last year, and it was super convenient to use and easy to cancel the service before the fees kicked in. One other note: not all Amazon products qualify for the Amazon Prime 2-day free shipping, so be sure to check that out before adding a product to your shopping cart.
This summer a reader shared Evreward with me. If you belong to more than one shopping rewards program (like Ebates, MyPoints, etc.), Evreward will help you figure out where to shop to get the most reward for your money. I subscribe to their deal blog, and let me tell you, they find some great deals!
Once you’ve made your purchase, be sure to sign up with PriceProtectr. PriceProtectr alerts you when an item you’ve purchased online has dropped in price. Many stores offer price protection polices that will refund you the difference if the product drops in price within a specific time frame. At PriceProtecr you just enter in the URL of the information page of whatever it is you bought, and submit your e-mail address, and then they’ll let you know if the price drops.
These are just a few of my favorite sites for shopping online. What are some of yours?