coupons en-US Score Coupons for Every Online Store (Even the Ones That "Don't Have Coupons") <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/score-coupons-for-every-online-store-even-the-ones-that-dont-have-coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="laptop" title="laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When shopping online, you've probably become accustomed to using coupons as a means of saving money. Sometimes you're lucky enough to receive coupons via email from your favorite retailers; sometimes you have to take the time to scour the Internet, searching far and wide for a deal that can help you save. And of course, there are times when you come up short; no matter what you do, you just can't seem to find a coupon for a particular online store. (See also: <a href="">Money-Saving Tips for Online Shopping</a>)</p> <p>What are your options?</p> <p>Rather than pay full price, here are some tips to improve your chance of securing that elusive coupon for that particular store.</p> <h2>Review the Store's Website</h2> <p>Did you know that some stores offer coupon codes right on their websites? This may sound obvious, but many people continually overlook this simple idea. Check the homepage or a &quot;coupon&quot; page before you start shopping.</p> <h2>Fill Up Your Online Cart and Abandon It</h2> <p>Try this trick. Fill up your cart with all the items you want, and then leave the site behind for a couple of days. If you are signed into your account when doing so, the store may <a href="">contact you with a coupon</a> code to &quot;tempt&quot; you into visiting the site once again and finally checking out. (See also: <a href="">How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases</a>)</p> <h2>Check Multiple Coupon Sharing Websites</h2> <p>Online services such as <a href="">RetailMeNot</a> (or Wise Bread's <a href="">Coupon Search</a>) dedicate a lot of time, money, and resources to helping consumers save money. Regardless of the store at which you're shopping, there's a good chance that one of these websites will have at least one coupon code. If you're lucky, you will find several codes, giving you the opportunity to compare each one to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.</p> <h2>Search Internet Forums and Blogs</h2> <p>Many consumers enjoy sharing money-saving coupons and tips with others. You may be surprised at what you come up with when you search for coupons for a particular store. Getting started is as simple as navigating to Google and beginning your search. For example, you could search the following phrase: &quot;Pottery Barn coupon codes.&quot; There's a good chance this will lead you to at least one forum or blog providing an active coupon code.</p> <h2>Register for an Event</h2> <p>If you're an &quot;advanced saver,&quot; this is a strategy to consider. Register for a fake event, such as a baby shower or wedding shower. Once the event date passes, the retailer may send you a coupon code to purchase the items that others did not buy for you &mdash; which is all of them since your event is make believe. It takes some time to plan out this strategy, but in the long run it can save you a lot of money.</p> <h2>Hit Social Media and Ask</h2> <p>When I can't find a coupon code online after a lengthy search, I often reach out to the retailer directly through Facebook or Twitter and ask if there's one available. On more than one occasion, the retailer in question has responded to my message and provided me a coupon code. Easy-breezy. (See also: <a href="">How to Make Facebook Productive</a>)</p> <h2>Join the Store's Mailing List</h2> <p>Do you ever wonder why stores ask you for your email when checking out? It's not because they want to sell your address to spammers. It because they want to stay in touch with you in the future, which includes sending out special offers and coupons.</p> <p>Remember, you can always unsubscribe to the list if you desire. You might as well try this out with your favorite stores to see what they offer those who are part of their mailing list.</p> <h2>Do Receipt Surveys </h2> <p>You may think it's annoying when a store associate directs you towards a survey at the bottom of your receipt, but once you realize the benefits you will be singing a different tune.</p> <p>Recently, a friend of mine purchased a pair of shoes and then gave me the receipt so I could complete the survey and receive a coupon code. It took a couple minutes of my time, but the $10 off was well worth it.</p> <h2>Don't Be Afraid to Call (or Chat)</h2> <p>Have the strategies above left you empty handed? If so, there is one last thing you can do: Pick up the phone, and ask for a coupon code. Don't be shy about taking this step, as many stores are more than willing to help you out. (See also: <a href="">9 Ways to Get What You Want From Customer Service</a>)</p> <p>Before you do this, however, put all the items you want to purchase in your shopping cart. This will give you an idea of your total cost, which should help the store supply you with the appropriate coupon.</p> <p>When it comes time to contact the store, there are multiple ways of doing so. In this situation, the best option is a &quot;live chat,&quot; if available. This gives you the opportunity to connect with a live representative while your items are ready for checkout.</p> <p>If you do not have the ability to start a live chat, there are a couple other options:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Call the customer service department</p> </li> <li> <p>Contact the store via email</p> </li> </ul> <p>If you want to place your order now, without delay, you should make a phone call. Sending an email is an option to consider, but it can take up to 24 hours (or longer) to get a response.</p> <p>It is always possible that you will run into a brick wall, never securing a coupon for the store at which you are shopping. But before you give in, implement the strategies above. Hopefully one of these will turn up a money-saving coupon!</p> <p><em>Do you have more ways to get a coupon for an online store? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Score Coupons for Every Online Store (Even the Ones That &quot;Don&#039;t Have Coupons&quot;)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living Coupons coupons discounts internet coupons online coupons Wed, 16 Apr 2014 08:48:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1135733 at Best Money Tips: Tips to Get the Most From Coupons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-tips-to-get-the-most-from-coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="coupons" title="coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on tips to get the most from coupons, things you should never DIY, and how to avoid certain budgeting problems.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="">10 Money-Saving Tips to Get the Most From Coupons</a> &mdash; Beware of name brands and don't lose sight of the goal when using coupons. [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="">14 Things You Should Never DIY</a> &mdash; You should never DIY dishwashing detergent or nail polish remover. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="">7 Budgeting Problems and How to Avoid Them</a> &mdash; Avoid the budgeting problem of not preparing for emergencies by gradually building an emergency fund. [One Cent At A Time]</p> <p><a href="">4 Leadership Tips for Outstanding Communication</a> &mdash; Trying out transparency can help you have outstanding communication. [Stepcase Lifehack]</p> <p><a href="">3 Ways to File Your Taxes for FREE</a> &mdash; To file your taxes for free, use Free File on [PT Money]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="">Which Browser Is Better for Privacy?</a> &mdash; Did you know your browser doesn't really make a huge difference when it comes to online privacy? [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="">15 Powerful Beliefs that Will Free You From Negativity</a> &mdash; Believing that it is OK to have down days and that you don't need to hold onto what is holding you back can free you from negativity. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="">National Eating Disorders Awareness Week: Spotlight on Anorexia Nervosa</a> &mdash; Did you know February 23rd through March 1st is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week? [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="">4 Simple Ways To Help You Let Go Of Your Anger</a> &mdash; To let go of your anger, cry or read a book. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="">Why Your Goals Are Too Long</a> &mdash; If your goals span the time of a year, they are probably too long to act on. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Tips to Get the Most From Coupons" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping best money tips coupons tips Thu, 27 Feb 2014 11:14:14 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1128117 at Ultimate Guide to Cash Back Shopping <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ultimate-guide-to-cash-back-shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="online shopping" title="online shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In the past 15 years, cash back sites have paid their customers hundreds of millions of dollars. Those customers shopped the same kinds of stores that you do: department stores, toy stores, pet stores, etc. The difference is that they stopped by a cash back site first and clicked a link. That one step &mdash; one that added only a few seconds to the shopping process &mdash; meant they were paid for their purchases.</p> <h2>Too Good to Be True?</h2> <p>Some people think that cash back shopping can&#39;t be real, that it must be some sort of a scam. I&#39;m here to tell you that it&#39;s a legitimate way to get more bang for your shopping buck.</p> <p>It&#39;s all thanks to the wonder of affiliate marketing.</p> <p>Cash back sites have affiliate relationships with the stores they list. The stores provide special links for each affiliate, so that they can track the origin of a purchase. Whichever site generated the order receives a commission.</p> <p>It&#39;s important to note that rebate sites aren&#39;t stores&#39; only affiliate partners. Most deal and coupon sites, many bloggers, and even some search engine results use affiliate links. Many product reviews also contain them.</p> <p>The difference is cash back sites share a cut of their commission with you.</p> <h2>Getting Started</h2> <p>Intrigued? Then it&#39;s time to open an account.</p> <p>The process is very quick. You provide your name, email address, and create a password. Most sites will also ask for a physical address and/or a PayPal address. Without that information, they can&#39;t pay you.</p> <p>During the signup process, you should never be asked to divulge credit card information, your PayPal password, or anything else that would put your financial security at risk.</p> <h2>Top 8 Cash Back Shopping Sites Reviewed</h2> <p>Which site you should sign up for? With so many choices, it can be a tough road to navigate. To help, I&#39;ve reviewed the top eight cash back sites.</p> <h3>Upromise</h3> <p>This one is so comprehensive as to be rather complex and, yes, a little overwhelming. So be prepared for a lot of bullet points. You&#39;ll thank me later.</p> <p><a href=";cm_mmc=CJ-_-2276508-_-2822544-_-Upromise%20-%20Join%20Now%20125x125" target="_blank"><img alt="Upromise - Join Now 125x125" border="0" height="125" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 15px 15px;" width="125" /></a>First, a little backstory. <a href=";cm_mmc=CJ-_-2276508-_-2822544-_-Upromise%20Standard" target="_blank">Upromise</a> has been around since 2001. It has millions of members, although it doesn&#39;t disclose how many. The company has paid out nearly $800 million to customers. About $14 million of that was from the 2012 holiday season alone.</p> <p>Upromise has over 950 stores. Of those, 850 offer 5% cash back. The rest of the stores&#39; rates vary. The site offers both a Daily Deal (one store with increased cash back) and a Daily Double (one store with double cash back). Currently, there are 24 stores offering extra cash back during the holidays.</p> <p>You can also earn cash back offline if you link credit/debit cards to your account. When you use those cards, you&#39;ll get cash back on:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Gas:</strong> One cent per gallon from Exxon or Mobil when you buy 20 or more gallons in a month.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Grocery coupons:</strong> Load coupons directly onto your shopper&#39;s cards. Each one redeemed will earn you cash back. The amount varies per coupon.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Dining:</strong> You&#39;ll earn between 2%-8% cash back at eligible restaurants, including tax and tip. The rate increases as your year-to-date spending increases.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Life insurance:</strong> Get 5% back on your policy&#39;s cash value, as well as a portion of your premiums.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Buying/selling a home:</strong> Use Century 21 and get $3,000 if you buy or sell your house. Get $6,000 if you buy <em>and</em> sell with Century 21.</li> </ul> <p><a href=";fot=1087&amp;foc=2&amp;foc2=598357" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'cardimage', 'barclayupromisemc']);" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a>Want to increase your cash back even more? <a href=";fot=1087&amp;foc=1" onclick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'afclick', 'contenttext', 'barclayupromisemc']);" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Get the Upromise Mastercard</a>. That will give you:</p> <ul> <li>An extra 5% back on Upromise purchases.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>4% at participating restaurants. (Yep, you can earn up to 12% on meals out.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Up to 3% on gas from Exxon or Mobil.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>2% at qualifying movie theaters.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>1% on all other purchases.</li> </ul> <p>Rebates generally post between 10-45 days. If one doesn&#39;t appear, you can make an inquiry on the 46th day after receiving your items. Once they do post, your rebates will become available between 45-90 days.</p> <p>Once you have a $10 available balance, you have four options to redeem the cash back:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Check:</strong> You can have a check mailed to you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>529 plan:</strong> Your cash back can be deposited into a 529 college savings plan. Friends and family can sign up as guests on your account to pitch in, too.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Savings account:</strong> Open a Sallie Mae high yield savings account. You&#39;ll get a 10% annual match for all Upromise earnings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Loan payoff:</strong> Already have a Sallie Mae loan? Apply your rebates to your repayment. You can get a 2% match.</li> </ul> <p>The sheer breadth of options on this site is staggering. That said, even the best programs have small issues. Here are the ones I noticed:</p> <ul> <li>950 online stores is significantly fewer than most sites.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You don&#39;t get a registration bonus.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Its referral program is the worst I&#39;ve seen, offering only 25 cents per referral.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The wait for an inquiry is far longer than any other site. Compare 45 days after you receive the items to 7-30 days after the order date for other cash back sites.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href=";cm_mmc=CJ-_-2276508-_-2822544-_-Upromise%20Standard" target="_blank">Click here to apply for UPromise</a></strong></p> <h3>ShopAtHome</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank">ShopAtHome</a> began in 1986 as a printed &quot;Catalog of catalogs&quot; run by a husband and wife team. Today the site has 60 million customers and has paid out over $50 million in rebates. That number will jump during the holiday season, when a large number of stores will offer increased cash back rates.</p> <p>It lists 200,000-300,000 coupons from 50,000 stores. Of those, 5,000 stores offer cash back. The site also has a &quot;Shopping News&quot; section with articles about holiday deals, crafts, personal finance, and more.</p> <p>New customers get a $5 registration bonus. Refer people to get a $5 bonus, as long as your referral makes a purchase within 30 days. There is no minimum amount for the qualifying purchase.</p> <p>If your rebate doesn&#39;t post within 30 days, you have one month to open an inquiry.</p> <p>Rebates become available after 30-60 days, depending on when in the month they post. For example, both a November 1st and a November 30th purchase would be available on January 31st. Your account needs to have $20 in available rebates to receive payment. Referral bonuses and other site rewards don&#39;t count toward that amount. Checks are sent at the end of the month.</p> <p>Here are the issues I found for the site:</p> <ul> <li>$20 is at least twice what most sites require for payout.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Checks are the only way to receive payment. I prefer PayPal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>30 days is a very short period for a referral to make a purchase. The next lowest is 90 days.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It doesn&#39;t offer Amazon. (My purchases are never in qualifying categories anyway, but it might be an issue for some of you.)</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to apply now for ShopAtHome</a></strong></p> <h3>FatWallet</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank">FatWallet</a> began as a coupon site in 1999. Two years later, it began to offer cash back shopping. Today it lists more than 1,600 stores and about 20,000 coupons. It has paid out nearly $45 million to its three million customers.</p> <p>While there is no registration bonus, referrals will net you $5. To be a valid referral, the person must make $25 of purchases within a year of signing up.</p> <p>FatWallet has a forum with an extensive set of subject threads. You can find information on credit card offers, store rewards programs, technology, grocery coupons, and travel. There&#39;s even a coupon trading thread.</p> <p>Each day, one store will have double cash back. It is for 24 hours only, so it&#39;s probably best to sign up for email alerts. Currently, the site has more than 100 stores offering extra cash back for the holidays.</p> <p>One thing I like about the site is its attention to stores&#39; gift card policies. Most stores won&#39;t commission orders that use GCs. However, FatWallet tries to make notes about these policies on the merchant pages. You can click &quot;Cash Back Details&quot; and be shown whether cash back is available for purchase or redemption of gift cards.</p> <p>Perhaps the most exciting innovation, though, is the Black Friday deal finder. This tool is available on the site but also as an iOS or Android app. It lets customers prepare for the big day by reviewing leaked Black Friday ads and comparing prices across different stores. Customers will even able to sort by price range to help them stay under budget.</p> <p>The deal finder also offers two-click shopping for many of the advertised deals. In those cases, customers can purchase items without having to visit the merchant&#39;s site. Instead, they click on the deal, input their payment information, and then click to confirm the purchase. The transactions will still be tracked, even without the usual click-through.</p> <p>FatWallet asks customers to wait two weeks after the shipping date before reporting a missing order. Customers need to open an inquiry within 60 days.</p> <p>Rebates take up to 90 days to become available, depending on how long it takes FatWallet to get its commissions from the store. The payout threshold is $10. Referral bonuses do count toward the minimum.</p> <p>Once you have enough to request payment, you can choose check or PayPal. Payment is issued within 30 days of your request.</p> <p>The only real negative here is that Fat Wallet doesn&#39;t offer a registration bonus.</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to apply for FatWallet</a></strong></p> <h3>Ebates</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank">Ebates</a> has offered cash back since 1998. It has more than 1,600 stores listed for its 12 million members. It has paid out $85 million in the last 15 years.</p> <p>You&#39;ll get $5 for signing up. You can get another $5 for referrals, as long as they make $25 of purchases within 90 days.</p> <p>The site also has frequent bonus offers for referrals. Usually, it&#39;s double the referral bonus if you get three or more qualifying signups. However, it&#39;s doing something a little different this holiday season. If you refer two people, you will get a $40 bonus, for a total of $50. For the more ambitious among you, you can get a $100 bonus for five referrals, a $250 bonus for 25 referrals, and so on. The catch? The purchases must be made by the end of the year.</p> <p>Normally, Ebates features two stores with double cash back. In addition, it has a few stores each week offering higher rebates. During holidays, you will see quite a few stores offering extra cash back. The site is currently having its &quot;November Kickoff Sale&quot; for the holidays, with 21 stores offering double cash back.</p> <p>Ebates offers a unique feature called the Cash Back Button, which you install on your browser. It will alert you to stores that offer cash back when you do product or store searches in search engines. In some cases, it allows you to skip actually clicking through to Ebates.</p> <p>The site also has a blog. It features posts on deals, coupons, fashion, and the plentiful Ebates contests. Recent giveaways include a Keurig coffee maker and a $150 Crate &amp; Barrel gift card.</p> <p>If your rebate does not appear within a week, Ebates lets you open a claim. This ties Extrabux for the earliest possible inquiries. If you&#39;re not quite that on the ball, just make sure you report it within 90 days.</p> <p>Ebates pays quarterly, so rebates become available anywhere from 30-120 days after the purchase. Payments are sent out 15 days after the quarter ends. For example, orders made between October 1st and December 31st will be mailed February 15th.</p> <p>You need to have $5.01 in rebates to be eligible for a payment. This does not include referral, registration, or other bonuses. If you have enough in your account, the system will automatically send you a check.</p> <p>A couple items of concern:</p> <ul> <li>It pays only four times a year. All of the other sites I&#39;ve seen offer the option of monthly payment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>I&#39;m not a fan of automatic payment. I like the option of letting my rebates grow. (On the other hand, this way you never forget to request a payment.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The site&#39;s cash back rates tend to be on the lower side.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to apply for Ebates</a></strong></p> <h3>Extrabux</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank">Extrabux</a> has been around since 2006. It has more than 2,500 stores, which have generated over $4 million in rebates for the site&#39;s customers. As of January 2012, the site had 150,000 customers. Apparently, it has been growing exponentially in the past year.</p> <p>Extrabux seems fond of the number five. You&#39;ll receive a $5 bonus when you open an account. You&#39;ll get a $5 bonus once a referral has made a $5 purchase. You&#39;ll also get 5% of any bonuses your referral makes for the first year.</p> <p>As with Ebates, Extrabux will consider missing rebate inquiries after just one week, and the inquiry period is also 90 days.</p> <p>Once a rebate has posted, it will become available after 90 days. The payment threshold is $10. Referral bonuses do count, but you must have at least $1 in actual rebates.</p> <p>You can receive funds by check, PayPal, or as a credit on your debit or credit card. You have to request payment, and the funds will be sent within five business days. Allow an extra five for payments to credit cards.</p> <p>I can&#39;t find any fault with this site.</p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to apply for ExtraBux</a></strong></p> <h3>Mr. Rebates</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank">Mr. Rebates</a> was founded in 2002. It has more than 2,500 stores and a million members.</p> <p>Normally, the registration bonus is $5. Wise Bread readers, however, get a $7.50 registration bonus by signing up through the link above.</p> <p>Mr. Rebates features a Store of the Week with extra cash back. The site offers extra cash back at many merchants for holidays throughout the year. Currently, more than 500 stores have increased cash back rates for early holiday shoppers.</p> <p>Also during some holidays, the site offers daily giveaways. This fall, Mr. Rebates gave out several iPad Minis for back-to-school season. Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, it will give away five $100 bonuses each day.</p> <p>Rather than a set dollar amount for referrals, Mr. Rebates offers customers 20% of their referrals&#39; rebates for the life of the account. I think this system is far more profitable for us referrers. Despite a relatively modest readership, I&#39;ve earned over $650 in referral bonuses in the last four years.</p> <p>Customers can inquire about missing orders 30-90 days after the order date. Customers can inquire about discrepancies in the rebate amounts after seven days.</p> <p>Rebates take 90 days to become pending. Once you have $10 available, you can request payment by check or PayPal. Referral bonuses do count toward the minimum. In fact, the entire payment can be from referral bonuses.</p> <p>Payments are processed on the first of the month following your payment request.</p> <p>I only found two potential issues:</p> <ul> <li>It doesn&#39;t offer Amazon. Again, not something that I&#39;m affected by, but you may feel differently.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It has one of the longer waits to open a rebate Inquiry.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to apply for MrRebates</a></strong></p> <h3>BigCrumbs</h3> <p><a href=";s=96912" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href=";s=96912" target="_blank">BigCrumbs</a> started in 2005. Of the 9,300 stores listed on its site, more than 1,300 offer cash back.</p> <p>Like FatWallet, the site has its own forum. Frankly, the one on BigCrumbs seems less substantive. Still, it appears to be used relatively regularly, so some customers must find it helpful.</p> <p>BigCrumbs boasts that its rates are higher than Ebates&#39;. It didn&#39;t seem to compare itself to any other cash back shopping sites.</p> <p>There is no registration bonus, but it does have a unique referral system. Bonuses extend to the second generation. This means that you receive bonuses for purchases your referrals make and for purchases <em>their</em> referrals make.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the deal isn&#39;t necessarily as good as it sounds. Unlike Extrabux and Mr. Rebates, BigCrumbs doesn&#39;t have a set percentage for referral bonuses. The bonuses vary by merchant, with some stores (like Macy&#39;s or The Body Shop) not offering any bonus at all.</p> <p>If a purchase is missing, you can open an inquiry after two weeks. Rebates become available between 30-60 days after they post.</p> <p>The payout threshold is $1 and payments are sent automatically. Customers can only receive cash back by PayPal. There is a 2% processing fee, up to $1. Payments are sent out in the middle of the month. This means that purchases made in November would be paid on January 15th.</p> <p>My issues with the site:</p> <ul> <li>There&#39;s once again no registration bonus.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The referral system is confusing and difficult to track.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The referral rates are low. However, it may be that the second generation of referrals helps this. It&#39;s hard to say for sure.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There&#39;s only one method of payment. I&#39;m sure cutting out the check option saves money, but it can also alienate some would-be customers.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>This is the only site I&#39;ve seen with payment processing fees.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href=";s=96912" target="_blank">Click here to apply for BigCrumbs</a></strong></p> <h3>BeFrugal</h3> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="" style="float:right;margin:0 5px 10px 10px;" /></a><a href="" target="_blank">BeFrugal</a> began as a coupon site in 2009 and branched out into cash back in 2011. It lists more than 3,000 stores.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.6em;">You get $5 for each referral that has made $25 or more in purchases.</span></p> <p>BeFrugal has a couple of notable highlights:</p> <p>First, it has a coupon guarantee. If you make an order with a non-working coupon, your account will be credited $5.</p> <p>You have to contact customer service within 24 hours, and it has to be an order that actually qualifies for the discount. (Read carefully, folks.) A customer can only get one adjustment for a given store each year, so no getting greedy.</p> <p>More notably, BeFrugal has a 125% cash back rate guarantee. If you make a purchase through the site and then discover a higher rate on elsewhere, that rate will be matched 125%.</p> <p>As with the other guarantee, you need to notify customer service within 24 hours and supply the receipt. You need to provide a link to the other, higher rate. You also need to supply your order receipt and the other cash back site&#39;s link.</p> <p>There is a maximum adjustment of $25, and only one adjustment per member per store. Notice that it doesn&#39;t say per member per store <em>per year</em>. It just says per store. It seems that you only get one shot at that higher rate.</p> <p>If your rebate doesn&#39;t post, you can make an inquiry 10-60 days after the order date.</p> <p>Your rebates become available after 90 days. Once you have $25 of rebates &mdash; registration and referral bonuses don&#39;t count &mdash; you can request payment by check or PayPal.&nbsp;</p> <p>A few issues I have:</p> <ul> <li>This is the highest payout threshold I&#39;ve seen.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The guarantees are interesting features, but I feel like they&#39;re misleading.</li> </ul> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Click here to apply for BeFrugal</a></strong></p> <h2>Which One&#39;s Best?</h2> <p>None of them.</p> <p>Stores and rates both vary by site. If you try to use just one site, there&#39;s a good chance you&#39;ll be cheating yourself. For the best deals, it&#39;s best to use at least two cash back websites.</p> <p>Some people are hesitant to do this. They think the comparisons would become dizzying or would take too long. Bookmarking the sites can help, especially if you can put them in your bookmarks toolbar. Then comparing cash back rates just requires a couple of quick clicks.</p> <p>If that still seems like too much, just use two or three. Based on cash back rates and stores offered, <a href="" target="_blank">Extrabux</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">ShopAtHome</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Mr. Rebates</a> are your best bets. If you want more earning options, substitute <a href=";cm_mmc=CJ-_-2276508-_-2822544-_-Upromise%20Standard" target="_blank">Upromise</a> for one of the three.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Tips for Avoiding Cash Back Newbie Mistakes</h2> <p>Like everything in life, cash back shopping comes with caveats. There are things that can negate your cash back.</p> <p>Remember, cash back sites fund customer rebates with merchant commissions. If a store won&#39;t compensate the site, the site can&#39;t compensate you. So you need to make sure your purchase is credited to the rebate site.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there are a few things that can interfere with the tracking and crediting of orders. I&#39;ve listed the issues in descending order of likelihood.</p> <p><strong>1. Accept Cookies</strong></p> <p>First and foremost, <em>make sure you have cookies enabled</em>! Merchants need those cookies, or they can&#39;t track where the order originated. If they can&#39;t track it, they won&#39;t commission the site, which then can&#39;t give you a rebate. Remember: no cookies, no credit.</p> <p><strong>2. Avoid Outside Coupons</strong></p> <p>This restriction is probably the most confusing because it&#39;s not a hard and fast rule. If you use coupons from outside the cash back site, you may void your rebate. Note the &quot;may.&quot;</p> <p>Offers listed on the cash back site itself are fine. Ones listed on the store&#39;s main site shouldn&#39;t interfere with the rebate. They need to be available to anyone who visits the website, though.</p> <p>Beyond that, you&#39;re getting into murky areas. If you use a coupon you found on the Internet, it may be exclusive to a specific affiliate partner. You can click through any cash back site you want, but the coupon will credit your order to the other affiliate.</p> <p>Oh, and those special offers the store sends you directly? That&#39;s a minefield, too. Some of those are just notifications of great offers. Others are exclusive specials that will credit your order to a marketing campaign instead of the cash back site.</p> <p>I think the best solution is to hope for the best but accept the worst. Most of the time, the coupon is going to be better than the cash back rate. In that case, try to use both, but be prepared to lose out on cash back.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the rebate is better than the coupon, err on the side of caution and just stick with the rebate. Otherwise, you&#39;re jeopardizing more money than you&#39;re saving.</p> <p><strong>3. Don&#39;t Surf</strong></p> <p>Savvy shoppers love to compare prices and cash back rates. It&#39;s a great idea &mdash; as long as you do it before you hit the cash back site.</p> <p>The rebates site you use needs to be your last click in <em>any</em> tab or window. Anything else may credit your order to another site. It&#39;s best to figure out what you want, close other tabs/windows, and then click through the cash back site, completing your purchase in a quick and orderly fashion.</p> <p>If you do accidentally click another link, go back and click the cash back site&#39;s link again. That <em>should</em> override any new cookies.</p> <p><strong>4. Don&#39;t Count on Gift Cards</strong></p> <p>This one&#39;s a doozy. Most stores won&#39;t offer rebates for orders that involve buying or using gift cards. Then again, some will.</p> <p>As I mentioned earlier, FatWallet is an excellent guide for navigating these waters. Mr. Rebates has a &quot;Gift Cards&quot; section that includes stores who accept the purchase of gift cards.</p> <p>It&#39;s worth mentioning that FatWallet and Ebates have a rather unique policy for gift cards. They will commission you for however much of the order wasn&#39;t paid for with a GC.</p> <p><strong>5. Don&#39;t Count on Store Credit/Rewards, Either</strong></p> <p>Store credit is sort of, kind of the same as a gift card. In general, it&#39;s best to assume they&#39;ll mess up your rebate. Store rewards are similar, in that merchants usually consider the orders to be generated by their loyalty or rewards programs.</p> <p>As with outside coupons, you can always try to stack cash back and store rewards. Just don&#39;t use $1 of store rewards that might negate a $20 rebate, OK?</p> <p><strong>6. Cash Back Site First, Shopping Cart Second</strong></p> <p>Some people find it easiest to load up their cart and <em>then</em> click through the cash back site. Bad idea.</p> <p>For most stores, it&#39;s perfectly fine. However, there are some stores that are more finicky. They&#39;ll only credit the cash back site for items placed in the cart after the affiliate link is clicked. Staples is especially bad about that, but there are others</p> <p>It&#39;s best to err on the side of caution, no matter which merchant you use, and just make sure your cart is empty.</p> <h2>Last word: cash back shopping is worth the effort.</h2> <p>You&#39;re now armed with knowledge that most new cash back shoppers don&#39;t know. They have to learn it over time and endure the headache of &quot;missing&quot; rebates. Reading through all these tips is going to save you a lot of hassle.</p> <p>Also, cash back sites know there&#39;s a learning curve to the process. They&#39;ll try to give you the benefit of the doubt (read: courtesy credits) when possible (read: a finite number of smaller rebates) while you learn the ropes.</p> <p>At the end of the day, you still have the opportunity to earn money for just visiting one extra site. Isn&#39;t that worth a little trial and error?</p> <p><em>Do you shop via a cash back rebate site? Which one? What tricks do you use to get the most back from your purchases?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Ultimate Guide to Cash Back Shopping" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Abigail Perry</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Buying Guides buying guide cash back shopping coupons rebates Thu, 21 Nov 2013 11:36:06 +0000 Abigail Perry 1098676 at Turn a Day Off Into Your Most Profitable Day of the Year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-a-day-off-into-your-most-profitable-day-of-the-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man on phone" title="man on phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Keeping up can be hard. In order to cope, we only focus on what is most pressing &mdash; and our wallets suffer the consequences.</p> <p>Time management guru <a href="">Steven Covey</a> said that all our tasks fall into one of four quadrants:</p> <ol> <li>Quadrant One: Urgent and important</li> <li>Quadrant Two: Not urgent and important</li> <li>Quadrant Three: Urgent and not important</li> <li>Quadrant Four: Not urgent and not important&nbsp;</li> </ol> <p>Sometimes the unimportant activities trump important activities just because they are urgent. In our lives, one of the things we often neglect to do are the financial quadrant two activities. As a result, you could have one of your most profitable days by taking a day off and focusing on all the non-urgent yet important financial tasks you've been avoiding. (See also: <a href="">10 Monthly Bills You&nbsp;Can Slash</a>)</p> <h3>1. Shop Around for New Insurance</h3> <p>This includes all forms of insurance like house, <a href="">car</a>, <a href="">health</a>, <a href="">life</a>, <a href="">renters</a>, <a href="">disability</a>, and whatever other forms of insurance you have. After signing up for insurance and setting up your auto payments, you might rarely think about those expenses. However, spending an hour or two comparing rates could literally save you hundreds of dollars a year.</p> <h3>2. Call Credit Card Companies, and Ask If They Can Reduce Your Rate</h3> <p>Especially if you've been making payments and the credit card company thinks you're going to transfer your balance, they'll be more likely to <a href="">reduce your interest rate</a>. In fact, the best approach is to watch your junk mail for a <a href="">0% balance transfer</a> promotion and call the credit card company equipped with some motivation for them to drop your interest rate.</p> <h3>3. Switch to a Savings Account With a Higher Interest Rate</h3> <p>Go ahead and take 30 minutes to transfer your funds over to an account with a higher interest rate or an account that has some type of sign up bonus or incentive.</p> <h3>4. Set Up a Budget</h3> <p>One of the biggest reasons why people don't budget is that they don't have the time. Budgeting does take some time to get started, but typically once the ball is rolling, a few minutes a day is all you need to keep up with your budget. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour to <a href="">get your budget set up</a>.</p> <h3>5. Do Some Investing Research</h3> <p>If you're investing, do you have the lowest online brokerage, or are you <a href="">overpaying on trading fees</a>? Have you rebalanced your portfolio lately? Take the time necessary to review your investments.</p> <h3>6. Get Your Couponing System Up and Running</h3> <p>One of the intimidating things about couponing is creating and implementing a good system for tracking your <a href="">coupons</a>.</p> <h3>7. Read Money-Saving Articles</h3> <p>Set aside a little bit of time to search for money saving articles in areas where you're overspending. Spending too much on food? Google how to save money on groceries or how to cut dining out expenses. There's a good chance that you'll be able to come up with some good ideas that will save you at least $100 per year.</p> <p>Moral of the story &mdash; turn your time into money.</p> <p>Saving money can be more profitable than earning money (because you don't pay taxes on money you save). As a result, you'll benefit tremendously by taking a day off work to catch up on all those financial tasks you've been neglecting for months. I bet you could easily find a way to save over $500 per year with just one day off.</p> <p><em>What other things do you think people could do to save money during a day off?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Turn a Day Off Into Your Most Profitable Day of the Year" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Craig Ford</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living cost cutting coupons interest rates time off Wed, 14 Nov 2012 10:36:43 +0000 Craig Ford 955320 at 5 Reasons Why I Don’t Clip Coupons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-why-i-don-t-clip-coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man with arms crossed" title="man with arms crossed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>People love coupons. According to the Nielsen Clearing House (NCH), an industry leader in coupon marketing and redemption, 78% of consumers report using coupons on a regular basis. I&rsquo;m not one of these people. Though clipping coupons is usually the first thing that comes to mind when folks think of frugality and thrift, I argue that it&rsquo;s time to put down the scissors. Here&rsquo;s why. (See also: <a href="">Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I'll&nbsp;Pass</a>)</p> <h3>1. You Usually Have to Buy Something to Get a Coupon</h3> <p>Though some coupons are free or accessible online at no charge, most of them are still found tucked in that old standby, the Sunday paper. I don&rsquo;t read the paper, and I don&rsquo;t want to have to buy something in order to be offered the chance to save money. It seems contradictory and is a bit too complicated for my taste.</p> <h3>2. Coupons Attempt to Modify Behavior</h3> <p>Manufacturers want me to save 50 cents on that pint of ice cream for one reason only &mdash; to get me in the habit of it. It&rsquo;s simple. And it&rsquo;s a claim that the manufacturers and the coupon industry would be the first to admit. Coupons exist to suggest new products and to habituate shoppers to particular products and brands. Then later, at 3:00 in the morning when I need that pint of rocky road in the very worst way &mdash; poof! No more coupons. No thanks.</p> <h3>3. Coupons Encourage Over-Buying</h3> <p>Often, the savings that we get from a coupon only applies when <a href="">buying multiple items</a>. Even though each item may be cheaper in the long run with the coupons, why should I have to buy multiples? What if I don&rsquo;t end up liking that new brand of coffee? What if that brand of cheese has a bad aftertaste? Who should be the lucky recipient of all my surplus java and Colby Jack?</p> <h3>4. The Savings vs. Time Investment Is Low With Coupons</h3> <p>Couponing requires the regular purchase of a newspaper at best. At worst, it requires joining some coupon exchange club and buying a handy organizer. Then I have to clip, file, and wait for double coupon day. And while I&rsquo;m at it, I should also join my grocery store&rsquo;s loyalty program to boost my savings even more. With this much effort, are the savings really worth it? Wouldn&rsquo;t buying generic save me just as much without all the hassle?</p> <h3>5. Coupons Typically Push Pre-Packaged, Processed Foods</h3> <p>I seldom see coupons for <a href="">apples or broccoli</a>.<b> </b>Maybe they exist, and I&rsquo;ve just blinded myself to the entire category of things that require clipping. But it seems to me that coupons generally push convenient, pre-packaged, and processed food. I&rsquo;m not a health nut, but the last thing I need is another excuse to buy a frozen pizza and Pop Tarts.</p> <p>Perhaps I&rsquo;ve overstated my case, and I certainly don&rsquo;t mean to disparage diehard couponers out there. It&rsquo;s just that I can&rsquo;t quite see what all the fuss is about. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong; I&rsquo;m all for saving money. I&rsquo;m just not sure that couponing achieves that goal in the long run. Looking for sales on things I&rsquo;d buy anyway, stocking up when I find a smoking deal on something I really love, gravitating toward generics and store brands whenever possible &mdash; these are my tried-and-true tactics.</p> <p>Still, NCH says I&rsquo;m firmly in the minority of shoppers with my coupon-free wallet. Heck, 1.75 billion coupons were redeemed in the first six months of 2011 alone. That&rsquo;s a whole lot of clipping, and I must be missing something. If you&rsquo;re serious about couponing, please fill me in &mdash; I&rsquo;m free most Sundays.&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Reasons Why I Don’t Clip Coupons" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping coupons Processed foods time vs. money Tue, 20 Mar 2012 10:24:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 911613 at I Pay for Things You Get for Free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/i-pay-for-things-you-get-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Incredulous man" title="Incredulous man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can this be a post from the same Paul Michael who insists you should never pay full retail price for anything? The same blogger who preaches about finding deals, hunting for bargains, and taking the time to compare prices when you shop?</p> <p>Well, yes it is. And my latest tip for saving money is to spend some of it on something that you usually find for free! (See also: <a href="">10 Ways to&nbsp;Save Time by&nbsp;Spending Time</a>)</p> <h3>My Next Big Money-Saving Tip &mdash; Paying For Coupons</h3> <p>We all get coupons in the mail, our email, in our newspapers, and online. There are sites devoted to coupon codes, like <a href="">Retail Me Not</a> and <a href="">Mommy&nbsp;Saves Big</a>. I use them all the time. But they don&rsquo;t always have what I&rsquo;m looking for.</p> <p>Case in point &mdash; recently I was shopping for a new monitor for my wife&rsquo;s computer. I found a great deal at Office Max, but I wasn&rsquo;t happy. There was a &ldquo;promo code&rdquo; box in the checkout area, and that&rsquo;s like a red rag to a bull. I have to put a code in there, because if it exists, it means codes exist that can save me money.</p> <p>After searching for about 20 minutes online, I found nothing. The coupons I had were either old, already used, or incompatible with the item I bought. But I know some big money-saving coupons are out there. In fact, I cursed my name because only a few weeks ago I had thrown away an Office Max coupon for $30 off $150. And then it hit me&hellip;&nbsp;</p> <h3>eBay Had The Coupon I Needed</h3> <p>I went to eBay and typed in &quot;Office Max 30 off 150.&quot; Boom, there it was. A coupon that was unused, not expired, for $30 off a $150 purchase. And as I read the details, it was revealed that the coupon code would be sent to me within a few hours. Score!</p> <p>The price was $5.99 Buy It Now. There were a few other auctions starting at 99 cents, but I was in no mood to hang around for days. And I was still $24 up on the deal, if it worked of course.</p> <p>I paid the fee and within a few minutes my legitimate code was sent to my email. I typed it into the code box and $30 was instantly taken off my final price. Spend $6, get $30 in savings&hellip;that&rsquo;s a better deal than most <a href="">Groupons</a>.</p> <p><img width="605" height="452" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>So Why Pay When You Can Just Clip Your Own Coupons?</h3> <p>Well, there are several reasons for this. Of course, you should always clip coupons when you see them, but here&rsquo;s why paying for coupons actually makes a lot of sense.</p> <h4>Foresight</h4> <p>Most of us can&rsquo;t see into the future, we can only anticipate. And if we clip every single coupon we think we might need someday, we&rsquo;ll turn into those extreme couponers that have basements filled with stacks of newspaper ads and circulars. For instance, I had no idea that Office Max would have had the monitor I wanted at the best price; I usually shop at Newegg, Amazon, or another online store. I didn&rsquo;t have an Office Max coupon handy, but by <a href="">buying one from eBay</a> I instantly got a code that saved me $24 after my $6 outlay.</p> <h4>Locality</h4> <p>Different parts of the country get different coupons, and those coupons vary by amount and expiration date. You may be in an area that gets a $5 <a href="">coupon code</a>, another may get $10. Your offers may run out sooner than in other areas. But with eBay, the whole nation is opened up to coupon hounds. Just find the one you need, and within minutes (or days, if it&rsquo;s a physical coupon) you get something you can use. Please note, though, some coupons are restricted to certain areas, so make sure you check that before buying.</p> <h4>Expediency</h4> <p>There&rsquo;s nothing quite like instant gratification. You get the exact coupon you want, when you need it, and you instantly pay less for the product you're buying.</p> <p>However you get them, you&rsquo;re saving money! Think of it this way &mdash; if you have a coupon on you, great, use it! But if you don&rsquo;t, you have a few options. You may have to wait until you get home to dig out the coupon you&rsquo;re looking for, and by then the deal may have passed you by. But if you pay $5 for a coupon that saves you $20, you&rsquo;ve still saved $15. And that other coupon you have tucked away at home is still good.</p> <p><em>Editor's Note: The comments of this writer are not meant to be considered legal advice.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title=" I Pay for Things You Get for Free" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks Shopping coupons eBay finding good deals Fri, 23 Sep 2011 10:24:58 +0000 Paul Michael 714852 at Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/extreme-couponing-5-reasons-why-i-ll-pass" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="coupons! coupons! coupons!" title="coupons! coupons! coupons!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s the latest, greatest (although that&rsquo;s debatable) topic around the water cooler. A show called &quot;Extreme Couponing&quot; highlights people who buy hundreds of dollars worth of produce from the grocery store and pay for 95% of it with free coupons. (See also: <a href="">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</a>)</p> <p>I hear this all the time:</p> <p>&ldquo;It was amazing! The bill came to $894, and they paid like $12 after coupons!&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Really? No way!!!&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Yeah, I&rsquo;m so doing this now!&rdquo;</p> <p>Now, is that true? Yes, it is. I have seen people walk to the counter with shopping carts full of stuff, and they only have $50 in their purse. They come out with change.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s another truth. Your average shopper is not going to walk into a store with a bag full of coupons and walk out with their week's worth of groceries for a fraction of the price. Extreme couponing, like anything else that seems too good to be true, has a few catches involved. And they&rsquo;re not small catches either.</p> <h3>1. It&rsquo;s a Full-Time Commitment</h3> <p>You can&rsquo;t clip a few coupons on Sunday and expect your next shopping bill to be 90% less. If that were the case, everyone would do it and most manufacturers would go out of business very quickly.</p> <p>This takes a lot of time, patience, organization, research, and dedication. You have to stockpile hundreds of copies of the weekly coupon circulars. You need to know when things are going on sale and when the stores are doubling coupons. You need to know more about the products in the grocery stores than the managers of those stores. And even then, when you are that buttoned up, it&rsquo;s not what you&rsquo;d expect.</p> <h3>2. You&nbsp;Have to Stockpile a LOT of Stuff</h3> <p>All of these extreme couponing people, without exception, have filled their homes with mountains of products.</p> <p>I saw a lady buying 77 bottles of mustard because she had 77 coupons for them. My family uses maybe two bottles a year. Yours may use four per year. They may use one every month. It will still takes years to get through them all. But every time they are featured in a coupon, the bottles come home. Does anyone need hundreds of bottles of mustard? I know I don&rsquo;t.</p> <p>One woman has a grocery store in her basement, stocked with hundreds of bottles of laundry detergent, ketchup, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and all sorts of other stuff. The rest of her family comes to shop in the basement for free. Great for them. But are you prepared to devote all of your <a href="">storage space</a> to products you never have a hope of using, just to save money?</p> <h3>3. You Become a Slave to Coupons</h3> <p>Imagine waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. You realize, to your horror, that you didn&rsquo;t use a coupon. It&rsquo;s double coupon day too! That means the store is actually paying you to take a bottle of Aspirin. So you drive to the store in your PJs and pick it up. Yes! A free bottle of Aspirin and 12 cents in change.</p> <p>I, for one, am not prepared to give up my life to coupons. But this is what happens. It&rsquo;s sad to say that extreme couponers are addicts. You just have to look at what they put into it and what they get out of it, plus the stress they go through if they don&rsquo;t get a coupon or spend it.</p> <p>Like any other addiction, that, to me, is not healthy. People who spend most of their time at the gym may look healthy, but they&rsquo;re addicted to the rush of the workout. And that&rsquo;s unhealthy, too. So just because they&rsquo;re saving money, it doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s a good addiction to have. The rush they feel when they see the register start chalking up the discounts is the same rush you see on the faces of people at slot machines. They&rsquo;re hooked on savings, regardless of what it is they&rsquo;re actually saving money on.</p> <h3>4. You Spend Hours at the Grocery Store</h3> <p>Hours and hours. Way more than an average shopper. And when the time comes to check out, you&rsquo;re about to become very unpopular, because everything has to be checked out in the right order to get the maximum discounts. You may even have to split your order into separate loads to make it work. Life is short. Don&rsquo;t spend it all in the grocery buying 58 bottles of shampoo.</p> <h3>5. You Are Taking Much More Than You Need</h3> <p>Here&rsquo;s something that really got to me. On a recent episode, a woman discovered that she was basically being paid to take product out of the store. The double coupon meant that she&rsquo;d get credit back to spend on other things. That part is smart.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s the selfish part. She cleared the store of ibuprofen. Boxes and boxes of it went into her cart. Thanks to her, no one else was getting it that day, or that week depending on when the shelves are restocked. And that happens a lot with these extreme couponers. They clear out the shelves to take advantage of coupons.</p> <p>What happens to all the stuff they take? Does it get used? Does it expire and get <a href="">thrown away</a>? Does it get given away? It&rsquo;s just consumerism gone awry. By all means, get the stuff you need for cheap or free. But 77 bottles of mustard? 100 bottles of medicine? All the canned dog food in the aisle? It&rsquo;s greed. Pure greed.</p> <p>Yes, I know I will get naysayers on this one, but this is sickening in so many ways. Watching these people devote their lives to coupons, buying more than they need, and losing sleep over a few bucks, it&rsquo;s madness.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m all for saving money and using coupons, but you can take things too far. This is just depressing.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass. " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Entertainment Shopping bulk shopping coupons extreme couponing Mon, 16 May 2011 10:36:27 +0000 Paul Michael 541642 at 3 Things to Consider Before Launching a Groupon Campaign <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank"></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/3-things-to-consider-before-launching-a-groupon-campaign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="83" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="3 Things to Consider Before Launching a Groupon Campaign" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><p>Today's hot Internet property is&nbsp;<a href="" _mce_href="">Groupon</a>, the social media coupon marketer many small businesses are adding to their marketing mix. &nbsp;Many small businesses have benefited from the Groupon's ability to generate foot traffic and introduce them to new customers. But be forewarned: a Groupon campaign can be a monster that quickly sends you thousands of customers regardless of your inventory levels or readiness to process them. So, before you make the decision to augment your marketing efforts with a Groupon campaign, you have to do your homework.</p> <p><strong>Know the Basics</strong></p> <p>These are the basic terms of a Groupon campaign<strong>:<br /> </strong></p> <ul> <li>Steep discount required &mdash; Groupon asks for a discount of at least 50 percent;</li> <li>You can limit the window of availability but not the number of people who purchase the deal (a minimum number of customers that must purchase the deal can also be set);</li> <li>Groupon is going to take at least 50 percent of the revenue generated;</li> <li>If the price of your deal is less than $10, Groupon keeps all the revenue;</li> <li>You don&rsquo;t get the revenue right away &mdash; Groupon pays you over 3 installments;</li> <li>There is a substantial human resource burden required to process in-store redemptions;</li> <li>Forty-two percent of respondents in a&nbsp;<a href="" _mce_href="">recent study</a> said they would not use Groupon again.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Learn from Others</strong></p> <p>Unfortunately, there&rsquo;s no shortage of stories illustrating the disaster that ensues when a poorly planned Groupon promotion is launched.</p> <p>Take&nbsp;<a href="" _mce_href="">Jesse from Posies Bakery and Café</a> in Portland Oregon. Although there were plenty of warning signs, the temptation of growing her business was too great. When the promotion ran, her staff was overwhelmed by sometimes rude Groupon customers and her cash flow was smothered by the steep discount. Groupon&rsquo;s CEO did <a href="" _mce_href="">respond</a> to this story after it went viral and cited other businesses in the Portland area that have had successful campaigns.</p> <p>On the other hand,&nbsp;<a href="" _mce_href="">Elizabeth Lunney</a> from ABC Language Exchange in New York learned some tough lessons but was able to adapt and make this platform work for her business. This is mainly due to the fact that her language courses come at a high price point, which is more attractive to Groupon based on per coupon revenue, and costs for her service are fixed. With careful planning, ABC was able to put new Groupon customers into empty classroom seats (teachers are paid hourly, not per student); even with the steep discount, the additional students didn't upset Lunney's cost structure. Lunney was also able to negotiate lower percentage payments to Groupon, which may not be possible for small business owners selling low-priced goods.</p> <p><strong>Do the Math</strong></p> <p>So, nevermind the hype surrounding Groupon and the great pitch you&rsquo;re getting from their salesperson, you have to make an educated decision. The only way you&rsquo;ll know if a Groupon campaign fits your business is to run the numbers. Consider the following scenario:</p> <ul> <li>You&rsquo;re going to offer your $100 product/service for $50;</li> <li>After paying Groupon, you&rsquo;re left with $25;</li> <li>You&rsquo;re not going to get all of the revenue at once.</li> </ul> <p>Then ask yourself if the revenue matches your business model:</p> <ul> <li>What are your fixed costs/variable costs?</li> <li>Can your business handle an influx of hundreds or thousands of new customers?</li> <li>Will these customers purchase more than the face value of the coupon?</li> <li>Will these customers return or are they professional &ldquo;couponers&rdquo;?</li> <li>What happens to your brand when you drop your price by 50%?</li> <li>What happens to customer service levels during this flood?</li> <li>Will this be profitable?</li> </ul> <p>Let&rsquo;s face it; business success is based on profitability. Developing a strategy that attracts unprofitable customers, cannibalizes revenue from your current loyal customers (and potentially alienates them) is counterproductive.</p> <p>Establish your marketing goals and then run the numbers against them. A Groupon campaign could work for your business, but maybe it would be disastrous. Either way, however, it&rsquo;s still incumbent upon the business owner to understand the risks and walk away if the numbers don&rsquo;t make sense, even if it's the hottest marketing strategy in town.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">John Joyce</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Small Business Resource Center coupons groupon marketing promotion small business social media Sat, 02 Apr 2011 20:07:23 +0000 John Joyce 510554 at Get a Deal Every Time You Shop with These Tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-a-deal-every-time-you-shop-with-these-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="only bargains sign" title="only bargains sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I have a few handy skills. Certainly not a plethora, but a handful that serve me well. And one of them is the ability to track down a bargain. Over the years I have become something of a go-to person amongst my friends and relatives. When they&rsquo;re looking to buy a product or service, they often call me first to see if I know of any deals or special offers. If they can&rsquo;t find an item, they ask me if I can. Even if something is sold out in 99% of the stores, I can usually track down that 1% that have it.</p> <p>Do I have secrets? Am I super-lucky? Not really. I have just amassed a set of tools, almost all of them online, that help me find the deals quickly and easily. And now, I&rsquo;m sharing them with you. They can be a real help when you&rsquo;re shopping for a last minute item, have a very tight budget, or just hate paying sticker price for anything. (See also: <a href="" title=" Deep Discounts on Schedule: The Best Days to Shop">Deep Discounts on Schedule: The Best Days to Shop</a>)</p> <h3>1. Search every Craigslist at the same time</h3> <p>Craigslist revolutionized the way we all shop classified ads (as the newspaper industry quickly found out to its detriment). You post ads for free, <a href="" title="The 25 Best Things to Buy on Craigslist">search ads for free</a>, contact the seller or buyer directly and do the deal without any hassle. But most people search their local Craigslist, which limits the bargains you can find and the net you can cast when trying to track something very particular down.</p> <p>A site called <a href=""></a> does away with the local search and puts your query out there across every Craigslist site. I recently purchased something from someone in Los Angeles. No one in my state had what I was looking for. He shipped it quickly to me and was happy to do business out of state. Not everyone is, but most just want to make the sale. Check it out, bookmark it, and use it often.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="400" height="133" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h3>2. Search every eBay site at the same time</h3> <p>Although <a href="">eBay</a> has a much broader reach than your local Craigslist site, it still confines searches to the eBay in your country. But why? I have bought many, many items from the UK eBay, especially music and movies, and who knows what else is lurking out there on other eBay sites. So, why not search them all? You may find a better deal, better prices or faster shipping options.</p> <p>To search every eBay, you first need to have an eBay account. When you are logged in, go to the <strong>Advanced Search</strong> page. Enter the usual search keywords and other requirements as you normally would in a regular eBay search. But, when you scroll down to the Location field, select &quot;Items available to&quot;, then choose &quot;All Countries/Regions&quot; from the drop-down list. When you do your search, you can see items matching your search from every eBay site out there. Nice.</p> <h3>3. Find products locally that are in stock</h3> <p>During peak shopping seasons, like Christmas or Halloween, stores will quickly sell out of the items you want to buy. This happens every year with the &ldquo;must have toys&rdquo; and gadgets that people have on their wish lists. I spent months tracking down a Wii for my wife a few years ago, and this tool would have come in handy. It&rsquo;s a site called <a href=""></a>. You may have heard of it in the news recently because eBay just purchased it for a cool $75 million. Hopefully, the service remains just as good under the new management. All you do is type in the name of the item you&rsquo;re looking for and you&rsquo;ll get a list of results showing stores in your area that have it in stock! Saves a lot of calling around and emailing.</p> <p><a href=""><img width="400" height="242" src="" alt="" /></a></p> <h3>4. Use an auction sniper service</h3> <p>There are quite a few of these around, including <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a> and <a href=""></a>. They all work in basically the same way, and it can save you a ton of time and money. Simply input the item number of the auction you&rsquo;d like to win, the maximum amount you&rsquo;d like to pay and, the cool part, when you&rsquo;d like your bid to post. I usually go for 3 seconds. Instead of seeing a bidding war ensue, you can sit back and get on with your life, while the service puts in a last-minute bid for you.</p> <p>Of course, this is not a guaranteed win. Sometimes, there can be communication issues and the service cannot place the bid in time. Sometimes someone else is using an auction sniper as well. And it you absolutely have to have the item, no questions asked, then relying on an auction sniper is not your best bet. But if you want to grab an item without seeing the price skyrocket over the days (or weeks) then this is for you. It also helps to avoid fake bidding, when people will actually try and inflate the price of the product they&rsquo;re selling by bidding against you as someone else.</p> <h3>5. Always do an online price comparison</h3> <p>These were all the rage a few years ago, but with the popularity of the Google Shopping tab, and some of the sites mentioned above, people don&rsquo;t often use the price comparison shoppers any more. That&rsquo;s a big mistake in my book. Sites like <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, <a href=""></a>, and <a href=""></a> have taken a lot of the hard work out of finding great deals. Just put the item in that you want and you&rsquo;ll see who&rsquo;s selling it for less. Remember though, always do a total price comparison, quite often shipping and handling can turn a good deal into a bad one, or an average deal into a great one.</p> <h3>6. If you have the technology, compare prices in store</h3> <p>How so? Well, if you have a smart phone you can use it to your advantage. Apps like <a href="">Redlaser</a> and <a href="">Shop Savvy</a> allow you to scan the barcodes of products using the built-in camera. They then search the web for that product and return the results, so that you can find the best deal. If that&rsquo;s not for you, you can always use the internet on your cell phone to do a quick product search on the sites mentioned in part 5. Several stores have computers inside the store that will enable you to search the web and compare prices. And if all else fails and you&rsquo;re still not sure, call someone who does have access to the web and won&rsquo;t mind helping you out. Remember, if in doubt, walk out.</p> <p><img width="400" height="382" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>7. If there&rsquo;s a coupon code box, there&rsquo;s usually a code out there</h3> <p>The coupon box is a double-edged sword to be honest. On the one hand, its presence means that the site accepts coupons. But that also means you an burn a lot of hours trying to find them, when there may not be any valid coupons available at the time. I usually try <a href=""></a> whenever I see a coupon box. There is usually a discount code on there for the site I&rsquo;m buying from. If not, I&rsquo;ll do a quick hunt online. But if I haven&rsquo;t found one after five minutes, I drop it and buy without using a coupon. I have learned the hard way, after obsessively searching for hours to find a coupon that gets me a 2% discount, that it&rsquo;s just not worth the effort if you don&rsquo;t find a coupon quite quickly. Also, remember to look for printable coupons to use when you shop in store.</p> <h3>8. Always check the daily deals sites</h3> <p>There are way too many to list here, but some of my personal favorites are <a href="">slickdeals</a>, <a href="">buxr</a>, <a href="">dealhack</a>, <a href="">dealnews</a>, <a href="">freestufftimes</a>, and our very own <a href="">Wise Bread deals</a> section. Some of the deals are awesome, but stay focused. Sometimes the deals are so tempting that you buy stuff you really weren&rsquo;t looking for, and that can get expensive. Keep your eyes on the prize.</p> <p>Those are my favorites, and they work wonders for me. Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Get a Deal Every Time You Shop with These Tools" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Technology bargain cheap coupons deal hunter online save money technology Thu, 16 Dec 2010 18:30:58 +0000 Paul Michael 395458 at When Deals Matter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-deals-matter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="128" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some people are into deals. They collect and organize their coupons, they check prices on the internet, they shop multiple stores, they keep an eye out for surplus or discontinued items on sale, they buy used, they buy at auction, they negotiate with sellers. These are all good strategies, but they all take effort. This post is on figuring out when the effort is worth it.</p> <p>Obviously, whether it's worth it comes down to the interplay of two factors. First, how much effort is it? Second, how much can you save?</p> <p>The first factor is complicated by the fact that some people enjoy some aspects of the wheeling and dealing. If sorting your coupons is better than comfort food, it almost doesn't matter whether you save much money or not. If searching for deals is as much a hobby as it is a way to save money (and doesn't tempt you to buy stuff you don't need just because it's cheap), then looking for deals can be a lot less expensive than scuba diving or stamp collecting.</p> <p>The second factor is a bit more amenable to analysis. It comes down to three things.</p> <h3>1. Size of the purchase</h3> <p>Getting a deal simply matters a lot more on a big purchase than a small one. Even a 50% discount on a box of generic tea just doesn't matter at the level of your weekly grocery bill, let alone at the level of your monthly grocery budget. On the other hand, 3% off the price of a new car or a new house is worth quite a bit of effort, because you're talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars.</p> <p>That's not to say that you shouldn't put a little effort into minimizing costs on all your little purchases as well. Something like keeping a price book, that lets you know when you're seeing a really good price so you can stock up, is just good sense. But don't let the idea that you're &quot;saving money&quot; draw you into wasting time that could be put to better use; keep the effort commensurate with the return.</p> <h3>2. Size of the discount</h3> <p>There are some items where bargaining is expected and large discounts are possible &mdash; houses, cars, oriental rugs. You have to know the market and push for a discount or you'll overpay.</p> <p>Other items &mdash; large commercial transactions, for example, but also things like cell phone and cable TV plans &mdash; have very complex pricing structures. You can save a great deal of money if you know exactly what you need and put some effort into putting together a deal (or finding a plan) where you minimize the amount you pay for stuff that you don't care about.</p> <h3>3. Recurring expenses</h3> <p>This is really just a special case of &quot;large purchases,&quot; because over the course of a few years, even a small monthly expense turns out to be a large purchase. In fact, specifically because each individual payment may be modest, this is the area where there's often a surprising amount of payoff for putting some effort into finding a deal.</p> <h3>Balancing</h3> <p>Personally, I don't get much enjoyment out of searching for deals. My inclination toward <a href="">frugality has its roots in simplicity</a>, so anything that complicates my life has to save quite a bit of money before I find it worth any effort.</p> <p>Because of that, I have to push myself to put in a certain minimum level of effort looking for deals on the large and recurring expenses.</p> <p>If you're intrinsically motivated to look for deals, you may need to push for balance from the other direction: Resist the urge to constantly look for deals on small, ephemeral purchases. (Instead, put the time into efforts that yield more value &mdash; earning money or spending time with your family or making music.)</p> <p>Either way, you don't need to fight your natural inclination too hard. There's a broad middle ground where there's no objective reason to prefer one choice over another. Within that broad center, find a spot where you're comfortable, then quit worrying about it.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="When Deals Matter" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Philip Brewer</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Personal Finance articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Shopping bargains coupons deals Mon, 20 Sep 2010 13:00:07 +0000 Philip Brewer 241590 at Fess Up to Your Addictions: How to Satisfy Them on a Frugal Budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fess-up-to-your-addictions-how-to-satisfy-them-on-a-frugal-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="coupons" title="coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="257" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This past year, I've turned into a bit of a frugal diva: I've devised a monthly budget that I stick to religiously, analyzed my spending through pie charts and graphs, and said &quot;no&quot; to things that I wanted to say &quot;yes&quot; to (like a trip to New York). However, there are just some things I can't deprive myself of, like Starbucks coffee or dinner at Chili's. But because I've become such a penny-pincher, I can't bring myself to pay full price for these indulgences. So, I've been on a mission scouring the Internet for <a href="">coupons,</a> became a member of rewards programs, and kept an eye out for sales, discounts or less expensive options. Along the way, I've learned some tips that save me money and still let me splurge from time to time.</p> <h2>Revel in Rewards Programs</h2> <p>Working as a Starbucks barista 10 years ago has made me a life-long, loyal customer. However, I'm not one to spend my money recklessly, so their $4.00 drinks obviously don't fit well into my budget.</p> <p>My frugal solution is to satisfy my addiction for less: I became a Starbucks Gold Card member, which entitles me to free additions, such as syrups and choice of milk. Every 15th drink, I earn a free one. Because I'm there so often, this equates to two free drinks a month. I guess you could say there is a benefit for being a glutton.</p> <p>Rewards programs such as these help reduce the damaging effects of spending money. For instance, I use my debit card for my day-to-day purchases. My financial institution offers a rewards program that allows me to earn points: 1 point for every $2.00 spent. A few times a year, I redeem my points towards cash gifts or gift cards. I easily make up the difference of the $25 annual fee the rewards program charges, and then some.</p> <h2>Coupons Equal Cash Savings</h2> <p>Why pay full price for something if you can find a coupon to help save a few bucks? That's been my philosophy this past year. If there's something I need, I first search for a coupon, usually online.</p> <p>Recently, I needed to purchase a few new shirts since my old ones were becoming embarrassingly ratty. A local department store was having a one-day sale. I thought it would be a terrific opportunity to not only take advantage of the sale, but see if I could conjure up a coupon as well.</p> <p>Lo and behold, I found a 20% off coupon online that could be used in conjunction with their sale prices, most which were already deeply discounted up to 50% off. Since I planned to only purchase a few shirts, I made sure to stick to my plan and not buy items I didn't need. That can be one of the downfalls of coupons and deeply-discounted sales; it's easy to get caught up in the low-ball prices and purchase excessively.</p> <h2>A Gaggle of Options</h2> <p>Thanks to the invention of the Internet, options are seemingly endless at the touch of your fingertips. Not long ago, hotel and flight options were limited to a few select name-brand entities. Today, however, it's a completely different story.</p> <p>My sister recently announced her engagement. Since she lives almost 3,000 miles east of me, I will obviously be traveling to her wedding. Luckily, I have a year to plan my trip, budget my money, and find the best deals on flights and a hotel. I recently became aware of a website where people rent out their apartments to travelers, called For half the cost of a hotel room, I can rent an entire studio in Manhattan. According to previous traveler reviews, I should be able to find a nice place at a very reasonable price, something that would have been much more difficult to do 10 years ago.</p> <p>There's no need to completely deprive yourself of luxuries when you're on a budget. Using some of these options to help save money and still fund some addictions or fun activities is just a smarter way to live.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Fess Up to Your Addictions: How to Satisfy Them on a Frugal Budget" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Little House</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Budgeting articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting budgeting coupons money rewards saving Thu, 12 Aug 2010 12:00:09 +0000 Little House 201246 at 5 Dead Simple Reasons Why People Are Frugal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-dead-simple-reasons-why-people-are-frugal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every time we discuss the subject of frugal living, someone somewhere always brings up opportunity cost. It goes something like this. &quot; time is worth a whole lot more. If I'm going to spend the time clipping coupons, I might as well spend some time working on my side business.&quot; Valid point no doubt, but there are many reasons why we share and practice frugality. Aside from the direct benefit of saving those couple of dollars, we pinch pennies when:</p> <h3>1. It bothers us otherwise.</h3> <p>It's not that we can't afford a new pair of shoes, but <a href="">why buy when we can get it fixed</a>? If we can make/build/do it ourselves, why pay and rely on someone else? I understand that you don't want to bother with learning how to live like us, but it bothers us to live like the way you do.</p> <h3>2. We are just used to it.</h3> <p>Some of us are wired that way, and others amongst us learn to just do it. The truth is that most of the time, we just automatically opt for the cheaper alternative. You are used to spending money at Starbucks, we are used to brewing our coffee. Frugality is not necessarily a <em>better</em> way, but it is a <em>different</em> way.</p> <h3>3. We are just watching TV with our free time.</h3> <p><a href="">Clipping coupons</a> and researching the best deal takes time. Haggling takes time, and trying to reuse everything takes time. Being frugal takes time, but if we are just in front of the TV otherwise, we'd take a more comfortable retirement any day of the week. You have fun being a couch potato, and we get a kick out of getting a good deal. We don't question you. Maybe you shouldn't question us.</p> <h3>4. We hate complexity.</h3> <p>Some of us actually realize that the more we buy, the more cluttered our house becomes. Not only is it a big waste of money, it's a huge hassle to clean, organize and store everything. Sure, we can make the money and spend it too, but that's so complicated if you think about it. We rather make do with what we <em>already</em> have.</p> <h3>5. We simply love doing it.</h3> <p>We are frugal because we love doing it. We are proud that we aren't being wasteful, and <a href="">we truly enjoy spending less than everyone else</a>. You may love going to shopping, but we love working on our vegetable gardens. You may not <em>get</em> us, but we don't <em>get</em> you either. Isn't that fair?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Dead Simple Reasons Why People Are Frugal" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">David Ning</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle coupons Wed, 21 Jul 2010 13:00:13 +0000 David Ning 181802 at Selling Your Groupon Coupons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/selling-your-groupon-coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Coupon Carnival" title="Coupon Carnival" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Social shopping sites like <a href="" target="_blank">Groupon</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">LivingSocial</a>&nbsp;are all the rage these days. Instead of hunting for a deal on your own,&nbsp;<a href="">these sites</a> create deals for a certain number of people. If that number is met and enough people are interested, the deal is on.</p> <p>Otherwise, no deal.</p> <p>Groupon is becoming so popular that <a href="" target="_blank">stores are complaining</a> they can't handle the amount of traffic a Groupon deal can generate.&nbsp;</p> <p>So what happens if you see a fantastic deal but you can't take advantage of it for whatever reason? Well, you could try to get your money back (Groupon offers full refunds), but that won't always work. And if it's a really good deal that a lot of people want, wouldn't it be cool if you could sell it to the highest bidder?</p> <p><strong>Now you can.</strong></p> <p>Enter sites like <a href="" target="_blank">CoupRecoup</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">DealsGoRound</a>. They bring together people who have deals they want to get rid of with people who missed out on said deals and want in. If you have a coupon you no longer want, you can sell it. If you want access to a deal that you missed, you can buy it.</p> <p>It makes sense that sites like these would pop up with the soaring popularity of services like Groupon, but there are concerns about security and fraud. Duplicating Internet coupons is a pretty simple task, and are stores really going to triple check coupons to make sure they're legit?</p> <p>I'm curious to hear what Groupon users (and other social sites) think about sites like CoupRecoup and DealsGoRound &mdash; are these valuable services that you'd use or it just extra work for no real payoff?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Selling Your Groupon Coupons" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carlos Portocarrero</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Consumer Affairs articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs coupons groupon Fri, 02 Jul 2010 13:00:05 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 143976 at 7 Ways to Cut Your Food Bill Without Clipping a Single Coupon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-cut-your-food-bill-without-clipping-a-single-coupon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="detergent" title="detergent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Another new year, and many have embarked on annual quests to save more money. Brown bag lunches are back in style and there are fewer trips to Starbucks. Would-be coupon mavens pore over the coupon inserts with scissors in hand. Give it a few weeks and many of these same people will have already fallen back into their spending ways of 2009, thinking about new savings strategies over a Tall Caramel Latte.</p> <p>As for the would-be coupon mavens, I'll be honest, I like to clip coupons, but it's not for everybody. It takes time to clip, sort, file, match, shop, then repeat week after week. Since groceries take such a big bite out of the monthly budget, here are seven ways to cut your food bill by at least 25% without using even one coupon.</p> <h3>1. Shop the Grocery Circulars</h3> <p>Everything on the front page is half off. Buy one, get one free deals are big too. You probably won't see prices as low for two or three months, so stock up. If you don't get the newspaper (the circulars are often in the Food section), head to <a href="">Sunday Saver</a> and search for stores in your area. Cherry-pick the best deals at a couple of stores. Sure, this involves some driving, but you're already saving time by not clipping coupons, so grab your keys.</p> <h3>2. Make a Shopping List</h3> <p>Study after study has shown that shoppers are less likely to make impulse buys and purchase items already lining their pantry if they shop from a list. It can be as simple as a piece of notebook paper taped to the refrigerator. Or, try out a free online service like <a href="">ZipList</a>. iPhone and iPod Touch users can also find a variety of free and paid shopping list apps like <a href="">Grocery Gadget</a> and <a href="">Shopper</a>.</p> <h3>3. Keep Your Loyalty Card Current</h3> <p>Most of us use store loyalty cards (e.g., Kroger Plus Card) to take advantage of weekly specials. Just make sure the grocery stores you shop have your current mailing and email address on file, or you may find yourself missing out on even better specials promoted to members only, like free product deals. At some stores, like Harris Teeter, you'll need to take the extra step of registering your card online for the most exclusive weekly deals.</p> <h3>4. Be Brand Flexible</h3> <p>I'll be honest, there are some brands, like Pampers and Pantene, which I'll stay loyal to forever. But there are many more that I don't mind straying from if I can get a better deal elsewhere, even with the store brand. Toilet paper and shave gel spring to mind for me here.</p> <h3>5. Befriend the Butcher</h3> <p>As a mother of four, meat is one of the biggest parts of my weekly food budget, so making friends with the butcher is a must. Find out what time of day and which day of the week the must-go priced meats are set out for purchase. These can be a fantastic bargain. I received a chest freezer for Christmas this year, and no doubt it will be filled with meat specials this year.</p> <h3>6. Shop Alone</h3> <p>I love to grocery shop alone, mostly because it enables me to hear myself think once a week. On a more thrifty level, I shop alone for two reasons. One, I reduce the temptation to cave to little voices asking for fruit snacks and cookies. Two, I'm more aware of the prices ringing at the register. Kerry Taylor at <a href="">Squawkfox</a> estimates that every 12th item in her cart is scanned incorrectly, and not in her favor.</p> <h3>7. Make a Weekly Food Run</h3> <p>All those quick trips to the grocery store every few days add up, so shop once a week to keep the food bill in check. Try to shop early in the sale cycle since the most heavily discounted items can get scooped up quickly, and many times the shelves are not re-stocked.</p> <p><strong><em>How do you save money at the grocery store?</em></strong></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Ways to Cut Your Food Bill Without Clipping a Single Coupon" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Erin Gifford. Read more articles by Erin at <a href="">Coupon Cravings</a>:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">7 Moves to Save on Make-at-Home Meals</a></li> <li><a href="">4 Ways to Use Coupons to Get Free Groceries</a></li> <li><a href="">6 Ways to Save Big on Magazine Subscriptions</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Erin Gifford</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Shopping coupons groceries Tue, 16 Feb 2010 15:00:02 +0000 Erin Gifford 5282 at The Best Places to Get Coupons Online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-places-to-get-coupons-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="coupons" title="coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-dealista-file"> <div class="field-label">Dealista MP3:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="" target="_blank">Dealista #20: Best Coupon Sites</a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>This article shares tips from the newest episode of </em><a href=""><em>Dealista</em></a><em>, our podcast that'll help you get more for less.</em></p> <p>You could sit and wait every week for your Sunday paper to shower you with coupons for your next money-saving shopping trip&hellip;or, you could go out there and get them yourself. Online! We check out some of the best sites for getting both printable and traditional coupons via the web.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Coupons</a></strong> &mdash; Just plug in your zip code and see what offers are available to you! In addition to getting printable coupons for cents (and dollars) off cereal, coffee, diapers and more, you can see what restaurants are offering deals in your area. Another nifty feature? Skip the printing and just upload the coupons to your store chain savings card (like Kroger, for example). Take your card with you when you check out and let the cashier scan your card. No need to stuff coupons in your purse or wallet!</p> <p><strong><a href="">RedPlum</a></strong> &mdash; Owned by Valassis, the same people that put coupons in your Sunday paper, this site offers printable coupons, articles, freebies, and giveaways. Get even more savings by purchasing a Sunday paper <em>and</em> printing the maximum number of coupons from the website!</p> <p><strong><a href="">Target</a></strong> &mdash; This retailer lets you double-dip by taking typical manufacturer&rsquo;s coupons and special Target store coupons that you can print right from their website! Available for items that wouldn&rsquo;t normally give you printable coupons from your paper (like broccoli and store brand juice), these can be combined with manufacturer&rsquo;s coupons and weekly sales or <a href="">clearance discounts</a> for the most savings.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Smart Source</a></strong> &mdash; Another major company that offers paper coupon inserts, Smart Source has taken its gig online! Print higher valued coupons (like $1.00 off or more) and special purchase coupons (savings on new release DVD&rsquo;s, for example) before they run out.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Valpak</a></strong> &mdash; Remember when you used to get that little Valpak envelope in the mail? Another player in the online printable game, this company has become super savvy by giving you the best offers by your location. They still give you the chance to look for savings on plumbing, car washes, and maid service, but by clicking on the &ldquo;grocery&rdquo; tab, you can skip all the service offerings and get straight to the savings most likely to be on your shopping list.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Facebook</a></strong> &mdash; Now you can save money on milk while you secretly check out your ex-girlfriend&rsquo;s new beau. Many companies are giving their Facebook fans exclusive savings and freebies just by joining. Check out your favorite freebies sites and <a href="">Wise Bread&rsquo;s Daily Deals</a> to see how this social media site can score you free or low-cost coffee creamer, shampoo, and more!</p> <p>In addition to these sites that give you savings for many brands, some major companies host coupons on their own sites. Two of the largest ones include:</p> <p><strong><a href="">EatBetterAmerica</a></strong> &mdash; This site is owned by General Mills, and will offer printable savings on brands like Nature&rsquo;s Valley, Bisquick, and Yoplait.</p> <p><strong><a href="">PGEveryDaySolutions</a></strong> &mdash; A site of Proctor and Gamble (P&amp;G), you&rsquo;ll find coupons from Febreze, Tide, Crest, and more! (The coupons will be mailed to you!) Sign up for samples, as well.</p> <p>Think you&rsquo;re ready to go online and start couponing? There are a few tips you&rsquo;ll want to keep in mind before you start:</p> <p><strong>Prep Your Printer</strong> &mdash; Once you click the &ldquo;print&rdquo; or &ldquo;clip&rdquo; button on the website, your printer will need to be ready to go. If you&rsquo;re out of ink or paper, or the printer is offline (or you send it to the wrong one), you&rsquo;ll miss out, since they rarely prompt you the way a normal document will. Since you only get one or two chances per coupon, be ready!</p> <p><strong>Know Your Limit</strong> &mdash; Many coupons can be printed once or twice per household or IP address. A few can be printed time and time again. Know how many you can print, and plan the best savings by taking advantage of multiple purchases.</p> <p><strong>Update Your Profile</strong> &mdash; For offers that will be mailed to you, be sure that your profile is updated with the correct address for mailing. If possible, check out your profile before you make your request, since changes might not be able to be made once you hit &ldquo;submit.&rdquo;</p> <p>Printed coupons can be a huge benefit to the savvy shopper, but only if your store takes them. Call ahead to get their coupon policy before you waste money on paper and ink!</p> <p><em><a href="">Dealista</a> is a collaboration between Wise Bread and <a href="">Quick and Dirty Tips</a>, the producer of popular podcasts such as <a href="">Grammar Girl</a>, <a href="">Money Girl</a>, <a href="">Winning Investor</a>, and <a href="">Mighty Mommy</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you enjoyed these tips you can find more in <a href="">our show's archive</a>.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The Best Places to Get Coupons Online" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Shopping articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Shopping coupons dealista groceries online printable coupons saving shopping Mon, 11 Jan 2010 22:38:58 +0000 Linsey Knerl 4594 at