How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases, Every Day
I love shopping online because I can generally find a better deal (and a better selection of merchandise) than what I often find in brick-and-mortar stores. If you time your purchases correctly, you can take advantage of online coupons and sales to get a pretty good discount. The problem is, those special promotions and sales can happen infrequently. What if you need something fast? Or what if something is going out of stock and you want it now? How can you get a discount on any purchase, every day? (See also: How to Get Free Shipping and Online Discounts Across the Web)
Recently I discovered a few new methods for getting a steep discount on almost any online purchase without having to wait for a sale or until an item is on clearance. The great thing is, you can also stack these discounts on top of store sales, promotions, and clearance items, helping you save even more.
Buy a Discounted Gift Card
Have you ever gotten a gift card to a store you don't like? What if you could gain back 90% of the gift card's value in cash by selling it online? That's the mentality behind sites such as Ecardexchange.com.
These sites buy gift cards from the original owners and sell them back to you at a discount. By searching for and buying discounted gift cards online, you can save up to 25% off of the original value of the gift card. For instance, you can buy a Pottery Barn gift card at 10% off and use it at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Williams-Sonoma, and affiliated stores. Some gift cards are electronic, and the card code will be emailed to you almost instantly, while you can also buy physical cards which will be mailed to you.
Generally, more specialized shops will offer a better deal, whereas cards from general retailers such as Target or Walmart will have less of a discount.
Check out GiftCardGranny.com, a great website that aggregates gift cards from all of the reputable gift card sellers online, making it easy to compare prices.
Get an Electronic Rebate
Buy online from many large retailers through the Ebates.com website, and Ebates will give you between 1-20% cash back. Ebates is a completely legitimate website that earns commissions from retailers for referring you to their stores — a commission they then share with you in the form of a cash rebate. Sign up for a free account and get paid every three months through PayPal or by check. Not every store will have an "ebate," but you can usually find big retailers such as Macy's and Home Depot, as well as big online retailers such as Diapers.com and Wayfair.com.
All you have to do to get an Ebate is to click through to the online store of your choice from the Ebates website. Additionally, when you search for a retailer on the Ebates website, the search will also pull up coupons and promotions you can use, so you can get an even bigger discount.
Check through your company (or college or university) whether you can get any online discounts or perks through the company network that you might not be aware of. For example, human resources giant ADP, which is used by many mid-size companies, offers a plethora of restaurant discounts, event ticket discounts, and more.
Combining coupons and sales isn't foreign to the avid "extreme couponer," but it's even easier to do it electronically. Combine a discounted gift card and an "ebate" with a store sale or promotion. Look for coupon codes on sites like Retailmenot.com to see if a bigger discount is available. With discounted gift cards and "ebates," you'll never pay full price for something online again.
How are you saving money on your online purchases?