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Friday, October 7, 2011

The Online Saving Game

With the holidays coming up I am always learning new ways and sharing my secrets on how to save money on everyday needs and gifts. Well, I have given so many of the same recommendations that I thought I would blog about it in case other people are looking for the same type of information. So here goes…

When I am looking to purchase things, I like to do some research first to find the best place to get it and maybe look for coupons if I don’t have one (even for eating out. A lot of restaurants have coupons available online). In most cases you can get items online for less money and have it shipped free – saving the gas and time. And in other instances you can actually earn money on purchases you were going to make anyway!

First let’s discuss rebate sites. There are two sites that I like to look at and they are both similar in nature.
Both contain store coupons, online coupon codes, (and best of all) links to the websites that give you a % of money back on your total purchase. That is awesome! Last holiday season I made about $40 back from the gifts I was going to purchase anyway. These sites are always updating their information and have regular specials that give extra cash back for a period of time.

Here is how it works. I was talking to a friend who was looking to purchase a Nook Color. If he were to purchase that online by clicking to Barnes & Noble through either one of these websites today, he is eligible for the free shipping coupon plus the 2% (or more) that the rebate is (the rebate may change, which is why it is good to be a part of both sites to check out which one is higher). These sites mail a rebate check quarterly.

Restaurants are pricey. Especially when you have kids to buy for too (and if you are like me you end up buying a regular entree for your kids so they get a more rounded meal). Sometimes I just don't have time or energy to cook at home so I have figured out how to save a little by examining the menu closely and sniffing out the deals from other sources. If you like Costco, there are some restaurants you can get $100 worth of gift card money for $80 - 20% off isn't bad and if you have a coupon for that restaurant too then the meal can be much more affordable. There is also Restaurant.com.

There are a few different sites that specialize in eating out. Through ShopAtHome.com or RetailMeNot.com, you can get coupons to print out. But Restaurant.com is different in that you can purchase gift certificates to eat out. If you just visit the website, they advertise a $25 gift certificate for $10. BUT if you have a coupon code that they email you or that the rebate sites have available, you can get that at up to 90% off – that’s $25 to spend on food for $1 upfront! Awesome! BUT say you go through ShopAtHome.com to get to Restauant.com and you get 25% cash back for the certificate purchase… nice right?!


This is actually just a rewards site. Some “swagbucks” are like a game to get, some are super easy. It is also a search engine where you can get random rewards by using it. So I switched my browser preferred search engine to Swagbucks. I have cashed my rewards in for Amazon.com gift cards. You can also save up for raffles, and other material things worth a few bucks (like digital pictures) or a lot of bucks (like a 32 inch HDTV).

Another great site is GiftCardRescue.com and Plastic Jungle
You can sell gift cards that you won’t use and/or buy gift cards for less than the value. Soooo if you shop at Target or Best Buy anyway, it might be nice to get a little extra for your money. You just have to wait for it to come in your mail.