How often do you pay full price when you shop because finding a deal is too time-consuming? Do you shop online and leave the “discount code” section of the checkout interview blank because you don’t have a code? And how much cash do you get back when you shop? If you aren’t bragging right now about the deals you get, the fun you have watching the price drop in your shopping cart, or the hundreds of dollars you net in cashback rewards, you are leaving money out there that could be yours.
You don’t have to devote your weekends to coupon clipping or schooling up on savvy shopping tips for this. You just need to download an app or two and let it do the work for you. People are claiming hundreds of dollars in savings and cashback this way. I do it all the time. In fact, one of the joys of shopping is filling a cart then whittling the price down to something I’m willing to pay—or getting it for free because of my rewards.
This is so easy. Read on and I’ll show you how.
Whatever you are shopping for—a computer, new credit card, wedding dress, travel, furniture, or just about anything—start at Slickdeals. This site will point you to the best deals online, voted up by a vast community of shoppers. There is also insight on the products and prices from this community so you can get savvy about your product choices while you are here. You can search by the item you want, the category you’re hunting in, the store you want to buy from, and many other ways.
What once required a lot of clicking around, net-savvy, product knowledge, and awareness of online vendors is reduced to a couple of clicks by this slick tool. You can compare the deals, choose the one you want, and click through to buy. The site makes money from the merchants when you buy something so it is completely free to use. You can shop from your browser or phone app or install the browser extension to take Slick Deals with you whenever you shop online.
If you love the sound of whittling the price of your online shopping cart, you need to get smart about finding discount codes. And RetailMeNot is one of the oldest and largest discount-code aggregator sites on the Web. Since it has been here longer than most, it has a lot of deals, in all sorts of categories and at merchants large and small, all over the world. So hit RetailMeNot if you are looking to shave a few dollars off the total on your shopping cart at a big merchant or your favorite cosmetic brand and, if it exists, you will find a coupon code here. You’ll also find online coupons for in-store purchases from a massive number of brands and merchants. Get the app, install the browser extension, or just hit the website before you checkout. If you tend to shop from your computer, though, install the browser extension and it will do all the code hunting, applying, and saving automatically while you go about your shopping excursions.
If you just want to shop from your computer and never miss a code, install the Honey browser extension and it will check for codes everywhere you shop. You can also get cashback, called Honey Gold, once you sign up, just for doing the shopping you were planning to do. It keeps track of where you shop and what you buy, installs a coupon code at checkout, and gives you cashback wherever it can. It’s like a cash-back credit card except you pay with your own card and it pays the cash into your Paypal account. There is an app, too, where you start shopping from the app but many reviewers love the browser extension more because it is so seamless to use.
When you install its browser extension, Rakuten follows you around as you shop online and lets you know when it can get you some cashback. And here’s the thing: The percentages it offers are no joke. I went to Old Navy and it alerted me that I could get four percent cash back for shopping here. At Athleta that number went up to six percent. If you prefer to shop from your phone, download the app and open it first when you shop. It will open the merchant site for you and gather up all the cash-back it can while you shop. Even easier? Enter your credit card into your Rakuten account to automatically get cashback at restaurants, grocery stores, and retail outlets while you go about your life. The percentages vary wildly from merchant to merchant but, if your preferences align with Rakuten’s partners, you can earn real money.
This approach is a bit more old school than online discount codes but, if you shop mostly out in the brick and mortar world, it might be your style. Open a Fetch Rewards account, then go shopping anywhere—grocery stores, drugstores, the hardware store, or whatever. Take the receipt when it is offered at checkout. Then—within a couple of weeks of purchase—scan that receipt into Fetch Rewards and you’ll earn points. When you collect enough points, you can trade those for gift cards, cash cards, or charities. It works in any store and turns earning “free” money into an obsessive game.
I thought I was a savvy shopper until I found myself behind a woman in line at Target who loaded a full cart onto the register, scanned a million codes (it felt like to me) with her phone, and paid a paltry sum for her purchases. My draw dropped at the sum and while I was asking her how she did that, the cashier handed her a stack of $5 Target gift cards. What!? “Get the Target Circle app,” she told me. And I did. You will know about the sales, you will get cashback, you will pay paltry sums, and you will help direct where Target sends its charity money. If you often shop at Target, like that wise woman in the Target line said, “Get the Target Circle app.”
The price of gas from station to station can vary a lot. Right now, according to GasBuddy, if I leave my house and go to the Shell station in one direction, I’ll pay $.10 a gallon more than if I go to the Shell station in the other direction. That knowledge will save me ten dollars when I fill up my tank. That’s the core of the service GasBuddy offers. The app (or website) shows you the current price of gas at stations near you, in specific regions, or on the route you are planning to take. There are some premium services, too, like a GasBuddy card that earns cashback when you shop that you can spend on gas. Downloading this app is a small price to pay (free) for the savings it will net.
However, you are planning to shop, hit Coupons.com first. Stocking up on allergy medicine? Get a manufacturer’s coupon here. Headed to the drugstore or hardware store? Check what’s on sale at your destination. Buying cosmetics, computers, or groceries online? Get a coupon code and enter it into the site’s checkout cart for a discount. You can print coupons, add them to your digital coupon collection on your phone, or just gather up coupon codes for shopping online. Bookmark this site and save it wherever you go. Maybe you thought you weren’t the coupon-cutting type but this site makes it so easy, you might change your mind about that.
When you go through life, you spend money. Mostly you spend it at grocery stores, in restaurants, and buying gas—if you are like most people. And if you have the Get Upside app on your phone, you will earn cashback for doing those things. Just grab the receipt from the gas station, grocery store, or restaurant when you leave, snap a photo of it with your phone, send it to Get Upside, and earn some cash back. This app only works with its partner merchants but those are many. If they are also your merchants, you can earn a lot of money this way. The money doesn’t come in the form of points or gift cards, either. It shows up as cash, in your Paypal account. Sweet.
If you miss the ad circulars that once came with the newspaper subscription you no longer have, you will love Flipp because it rounds up all the local sales and presents them to you—in a searchable, filterable format—so you can pour over the local sales while you are staring at your phone. If you decide what to cook based on what’s on sale, you can know before you go to the store this way. Or if it’s electronics or medicines you are shopping for, tick a box and Flipp will show you what’s on sale, where, for how much–near you.