retailmenot en-US How to Get Free Shipping and Online Discounts Across the Web <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-free-shipping-and-online-discounts-across-the-web" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src=" to get free shipping.JPG" alt="shipping" title="shipping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="86" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">I have become a reluctant fan of online ordering, after dealing with some <a target="_blank" href="">grief</a> about it in the beginning. But it still rots my socks to have to pay for shipping, especially when it is pricey. Here&rsquo;s how to get the best of both worlds: the convenience of shopping from home, and free shipping to go along with it.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Since reading Paul&rsquo;s piece about <a target="_blank" href="">Retailmenot</a>, I never place an online order without first checking for coupons, which more often than not, save me more than a little bit of money.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">But that darn shipping&hellip;.how do you avoid these charges, which sometimes negate the value of the item you want to begin with?</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Enter <a target="_blank" href=""></a>. <strong>Simply input the name of the store you plan to place an order with, and up pops a list of coupon codes you can enter for free shipping.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Coupons are not limited to free shipping; a myriad of coupons with various conditions will pop up, depending on the popularity of your chosen online retailer.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Online window-shoppers will not be disappointed either. You can browse by category, <a target="_blank" href="">store</a>, or by <a target="_blank" href="">recent</a> or <a target="_blank" href="">expiring</a> coupons.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">So although I don&rsquo;t condone <a target="_blank" href="">impulse shopping</a>, I do approve of a good deal. If you are disciplined about brandishing your <a target="_blank" href="">credit card</a> and want to do some digging around to save extra money on your next online purchase, then check out <a target="_blank" href=""></a>.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>Note: The author has <u>no</u> vested or affiliate interest in</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to Save 10-20% on Online Purchases, Every Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Sneaky Store Perks That Make You Overspend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Shopping free shipping online discounts retailmenot Wed, 29 Apr 2009 06:50:33 +0000 Nora Dunn 3099 at The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-awesome-art-of-getting-great-deals-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ah, the modern marvels of being able to type a few things in, click your mouse, and have a desired object delivered to your place in a few days. Even tumultuous economic conditions don't mean so-called ecommerce is going away; rather, it stresses being a savvy, frugal shopper, and opens up opportunities for businesses to attract your attention.</p> <p>Whether it's buying or building, <strong>being resourceful helps you score the same great stuff at lower prices, and possibly faster delivery</strong>. (Think MacGyver marrying the A-Team.) The following isn't an exhaustive guide to each and every to-do under the sun, but it <em>is</em> experience-worn advice which I'll gladly impart for your benefit. It mainly concentrates on buying in the US of A, but the principles are mostly true worldwide. I'll also specify for the scope of this article, by &quot;Stuff&quot;, I mean possessions you can carry (like a microwave) or at the most, can transport around (like a car) &mdash; so, not a new house.</p> <p><em>Let's dive in with the spirit of Scrooge McDuck, then!</em></p> <h2>Know where you're looking</h2> <p>Some questions have very easy answers. If you're looking for books and other sundry merchandise, you'll almost always go right with Yes, I know it has competitors &mdash; as well as other sellers which've partnered with it &mdash; but 2 special things call it out:</p> <ol> <li><strong><a href="">Amazon Prime</a></strong> - If you're a shopaholic, even a thrifty one, it's currently US$80/year for free 2-day shipping. Other details apply, but if you buy frequently enough &mdash; say, at least a dozen times a year &mdash; this will have you covered both cost- and convenience-wise. Of course, they do this to make you buy more! So don't spend just because you want to, but consider how it fits your lifestyle, and try their free 1-month trial.</li> <li><strong>Amazon's service</strong> - It's not just about the raw dollar, it's about the smile on your face. I've had questions about my orders and confusion about pricing, and I've consistently received timely, pleasant replies. That peace of mind pays for itself, and serves as a model of what you should expect elsewhere.</li> </ol> <p>I give the obligatory disclaimer that I'm not professionally affiliated with Amazon &mdash; just a happy customer many times over that cites them as an &quot;example megahub&quot; for many goods.</p> <p><em>Let's open it up&hellip;</em></p> <p>You'll want to be familiar with the major deals sites. There are <em>many</em> out there which duplicate the same style and deals, so here are a few I check daily &mdash; they're all stored as bookmarks in my Firefox toolbar, <strong><em>highly</em> recommended for saving time via &quot;Open All in Tabs&quot;</strong>:</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="">Woot</a></strong> - I was drawn to their flavorful copywriting. Aside from their famed &quot;Woot-Offs&quot; and &quot;Bags of crap&quot;, they sell ONE thing a day. Sometimes it's what you're looking for. Often it's not. But they're full of whimsy and fun, and fill a great niche.</li> <li><strong><a href="">DealsPlus</a></strong> - Some deals site make the horrendous mistake of piling on more text than you'll care to parse. DealsPlus is very visual, providing thumbnails and a quick-browse summary of each deal.</li> <li><strong><a href="">Dealhack</a></strong> - In the &quot;More text but not so much that it makes your eyes fall out&quot; dept., they also provide a very thumbnail-ish view, with a vertically-designed navigation. So get your scroll wheel ready and skim down.</li> <li><strong><a href=";view=large"></a></strong> - Again, good use of thumbnails (I find they make browsing a <em>lot</em> easier). Wider layout than Dealhack, and as you gain experience, you'll notice when the same popular deals appear on different sites. But what I like here is the quick summary of the hottest stuff at the very top.</li> <li><a href=""><strong> Forums</strong></a> - Disparate deals sites have forums. Among the best is SlickDeals. They also have their own front page, but I heart their forums because of the unadulterated spontaneity of excitement that punches through the hype. You can smell it in the air &mdash; like the inevitable scramble for cheap hard drives before they're OoS (Out of Stock)! And to make this sound more like a restaurant guide, be sure to check out the offerings of the legendary <a href=";showposts=0&amp;starteronly=1&amp;searchuserid=65229&amp;forumchoice[]=9">Selma</a>, a gothy deal-sharer who's posted 50,000+ times. If you feel lost, look for the thumbs-up ratings and # of thread views you can sort.</li> <li><strong><a href="">FatWallet</a></strong> - Finally, a site without &quot;deals&quot; in the name. They tend to broadcast deals which are broadly advertised by stores themselves (as opposed to &quot;secret coupons&quot;). Part of the reason behind this is that they offer <a href="">cashback &amp; coupons</a>. I haven't really used their cashback, but I think FatWallet's a fine overview of the more commercial (for lack of a better term) bargains.</li> </ul> <p>Be brave to explore beyond these, and let me know what gems you uncover and have missed! For example, <a href=""><strong></strong></a> reigns surpreme in Canada. The jungle o' deals is thick, indeed.</p> <p>By immersing yourself in deals sites, you'll become familiar with which stores are favored by veteran dealhunters. E.g., you'll often see <a href=""></a> and <a href="">NewEgg</a> mentioned for computer gear. And a sensible way to get a grasp on various stores is to see their customer feedback on eBay (if they have a presence there), or search <strong><a href="">ResellerRatings</a></strong>. Don't zoom in on outliers (the occasional bad review), look for <em>consistency</em>.</p> <p>Beyond mere observation, <em>do</em> chat up with your fellow dealhunters &mdash; especially those who know a lot more. They'll save you dollars and hardship.</p> <h2>Know what you're looking for</h2> <p>Were you expecting something less obvious? That's coming up soon! But for now, I'll say&hellip;</p> <p>It's fun to browse bargain sites. It's also time-consuming if you do it too much, and while it may inform you of what fair prices are for various items, it also tends to be unfocused.</p> <p>Give yourself a direction, and at the very least, <strong>take advantage of the &quot;deal alerts&quot; most bargain sites make available</strong>. These come in varying forms, but tend to work like this: you enter keyword(s) and frequency of when you want to be notified. They'll ping (via onsite notice, email, and in some cases SMS) you when new deals are available.</p> <p>This is useful, by the way, if you just missed a substantial rebate on an item and are waiting for it to come around again. Chances are high it will (unless an item's being discontinued). If you don't really want a gadget, don't fall for ad pressure to &quot;ACT NOW BECAUSE SUPPLIES ARE LIMITED!&quot; because if something's really in demand, they'll want to sell more of it. I rebate-waited and got my Logitech diNovo Edge keyboard for US$50 cheaper &mdash; a price that'd command a fair meal!</p> <p>Emphasis on <em>rebate-waited</em>, because&hellip;</p> <h2>Mail-in rebates will make you wait</h2> <p>a LONG time. Not always, but often enough for it to be a point of consideration, especially if finances are tight. You may see estimated expectations of &quot;6-8 weeks&quot;, and these tend to be pretty common. Thankfully, some companies like Logitech do email you to check your rebate status online, along with an estimated mail date for your cheque.</p> <p>That's why <strong>if you can't wait, don't depend on mail-in rebates</strong>. And be wary of companies that've been called out by expert dealhunters as scams, because while the majority aren't, lack of communication does create that perception. Thus, my fave kind of rebate is the instant rebate.</p> <p>You may be wondering then, besides the understandable processing time, why so long a wait for MIRs? <a href="">Wikipedia has the backstory.</a></p> <h2>Be smart about coupons &amp; price comparison</h2> <p><a href=""><strong></strong></a> isn't just a beautiful site, it makes it very easy to look for discount coupons. I've regretted not checking here in the past because I discovered a substantial savings <em>after</em> I bought something &mdash; talk about buyer's remorse! So whenever I have a significant (obviously relative, but a good rule of thumb is above US$200) purchase, I fire up RetailMeNot and do the groundwork.</p> <p><strong>For price comparison, </strong><a href=""><strong>Shopzilla</strong></a><strong> and </strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong> are your friends.</strong> Use them and if they're really useful, you'll keep using them.</p> <p>Major search engines, like Google, also have their own price comparisons, and links to <em>many</em> others. Through experience, naturally find what works for you.</p> <p>After practicing coupons &amp; price comparison for a few weeks, odds are high you'll spot diminishing returns. For instance, it's not healthy to spend half an hour trying to save US$2. <strong>Aim for the big savings, stack coupons whenever possible (<em>mmmm</em>, compound discounts), and be quick.</strong></p> <h2>Be quick (Part II)</h2> <p>Hot deals often sell out very quickly. (Not to be confused by artificial pressure like &quot;ACT NOW!&quot; mentioned above.) That's why it's important for you to have a solid understanding of the context you're involved in: for example, on deals forums, you'll notice a few of the same posters grab deal after deal and boast about it. (There's a certain social bonding that comes when you become an involved member of deal-communities.) This, like any other acquired skill, comes with extended practice. Have your alerts set up so you can pounce on deals that matter. <strong>The most advanced dealhunters use automation, like </strong><a href=""><strong>macros</strong></a><strong>, to cut down on tedious steps and jump to the front of the virtual checkout line.</strong></p> <p>What also counts for a lot: <strong>have accounts pre-setup with payment info at the sites you want to shop from</strong>. You want to be selective with who you give your personal info to, but if it's a reputable store, your data should be safe, in all practical likelihood. This saves you the trouble of having to fumble with a credit card # when it comes down to crunch time. I once missed out on a hot MP3 player sale at Woot because I hadn't signed up for an account yet &mdash; I learned my lesson!</p> <h2>Don't be fooled by fake free shipping</h2> <p>If an item is a fine price <em>and</em> has free shipping, then <em>praise be!</em> But, <strong>sometimes &quot;free shipping&quot; is deceptive, because the shipping cost is absorbed in a jacked-up item cost</strong>. For example, I saw a pair of headphones on eBay for US$20 that claimed &quot;free shipping&quot;. The same pair could be found elsewhere for US$15 with approx. US$5 shipping clearly stated, so it's really not a better deal.</p> <p>The inverse is also true: beware of inordinate shipping costs. And taxes. A number of stores charge <a href="">sales tax</a> if you buy in-state/province/region &mdash; <a href="">see Amazon's policy</a> &mdash; and while sometimes this is unavoidable due to a lack of alternatives, it's worth keeping in mind. While tax laws are out-of-scope of this article, you won't ever regret being prepared and being aware.</p> <p>Do your best to <strong>find out a store's shipping costs <em>beforehand</em></strong> so you can factor that in ASAP.</p> <h2>Look for gems with eBay's Buy It Now</h2> <p><a href=""><strong>eBay</strong></a> is synonymous with popularizing and dominating online auctions. While it's still famous for auctions, gems (not just in the mineral sense) can be found by way of many smaller stores which are trying to build their presence and business via eBay's big visibility.</p> <p>Often, this is new or refurbished/B-stock material with warranty which is sent to you not from an individual, but a company. And it has a &quot;Buy It Now&quot; graphic to indicate such. (It may or may not have a corresponding auction if you want to try your hand at getting it for lower.)</p> <p>Buy It Now can be good for rarer, but not highly obscure goods. There're sometimes <strong>package deals</strong> &mdash; like a digital camera that comes with a case + memory card + mini-tripod + extra battery at the same cost of the camera alone elsewhere.</p> <p>In my web browser, I often have one tab opened on eBay and another opened on Amazon, and I do searches and compare. To supplement my info when it's tough to tell, I use the comparison shopping resources mentioned above.</p> <p>While it's past, much of a dealhunter ballyhoo was made about <a href=";t=952519"><strong>Microsoft's 25% cashback through eBay</strong></a> (apparently, it was 35% last time it came 'round). Being on top of opportunities like these can sweeten already honey-soaked deals. Make sure you read the terms and conditions and revel in the savings.</p> <h2>Do your best to assure the clothing fits</h2> <p>Measure yourself accurately. <a href="">My wife</a> stresses how important this is, because we've been subject to inaccurate pictures and vague sense of scale when buying clothes online. I thought a pair of pants, despite the specs, would fit me snugly. Turns out they're baggy as heck! While I haven't opted for an accompanying pair of suspenders since they're surprisingly comfy, my position still stands.</p> <p>A good &quot;fit&quot; is also transferably applicable to non-clothing goods which you may feel compelled to see in-person, like TVs and flat panel monitors: a JPG picture can't give you its actual display quality, but if your local store's stock costs much more than what's online, it's fair to compare. (A store's physical presence can add to the cost.)</p> <p>Some stores offer 3D 360-degree views of their merchandise, but this is still a novelty, rather than a common staple. Still worth looking out for.</p> <h2>Keep customer service and return policy close</h2> <p>I'll often tell you: it's not just about the $$$. Saving a few bucks isn't worth it if you have a problem with your order and the merchants turn out to be jerks! <strong>You'd rather much have prompt, friendly &quot;service with a smile&quot; than being unheard or being treated rudely.</strong></p> <p>Consumer reviews often keep track of this, combining real stories with numerical ratings. And your own experiences will be the most visceral. <strong>If you're cautious, why not send an email or make a phone call <em>before</em> buying anything?</strong> Test the waters. See how they respond and if that makes you comfortable. Above any human-constructed currency, feeling good and expressing our identity through what we buy is an intriguing psychological phenomenon, and great customer service goes a long way towards reinforcing our beliefs.</p> <p>If a store has a brick-and-mortar presence (like Old Navy), then you'll likely be able to return merchandise to a nearby store. If you live in the boonies, it may not as be as convenient, but good to know. If a store only allows you to mail a package back, verify who'd be responsible for postage costs beforehand, and be intimate with their <a href="">RMA</a> policy. <strong>A key keyphrase is: <em>hassle-free</em>.</strong></p> <h2>Get ready to recycle</h2> <p>If you buy stuff online, it's going to come in a box. And if it arrives at your house, soon, you'll have a whole extended family of boxes, <em>yes sirree</em>, with itty-bitty baby boxes, and big grandparent boxes. So you'll either want to use those boxes to do something else, or have them recycled or otherwise disposed of.</p> <p>It's an omnipresent, yet understated part of getting great deals.</p> <h2>Time-shift your holidays</h2> <p>Lastly, I'll suggest something unorthodox which you may not be able to do, especially if you're under social pressure from your family &amp; friends. But consider liberating yourself because of this: when is Halloween and Easter candy cheapest? <em>No</em>, not in the stretch leading up to the holiday &mdash; look at the markdown prices <em>after!</em> This is easily observable in both offline and online stores, but it goes to show: <strong>when something's out of style/season and perceived value is less, prices plummet</strong>.</p> <p>By being &quot;out of sync&quot; with society at large and other cultural waves, <strong>you can create your own opportunities to acquire the same stuff at much-reduced prices</strong>. Granted, I feel strongly about this because my family used to wait until after Christmas to grab boxes of bonbons and ornaments to prepare for the <em>next</em> year, but there's much truth&hellip; once you break free of generic trappings. (And I'm partially referring to Boxing Day sales, but saturated marketing of Dec. 26th has created its own traps.)</p> <p>This is awesome news if you're flexible about traditional holidays. Clearly not for everyone &mdash; but <strong>if you can be an exception, consider yourself exceptional</strong>.</p> <h2>Happy buying!</h2> <p>While the above should never be considered an end-all or be-all since the Art of Getting Great Deals Online will continue to adapt and evolve, I hope my personal experiences and specific suggestions will <em>enlighten</em> you to discover the joy of consumerism in refreshing and eclectic ways.</p> <p>Devoted dealhunters know that saving money goes beyond lopping off a fraction of the price &mdash; it's a <em>way of life</em>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Modifiers: 5 things that change an item&#039;s final price</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Best Discount Shopping Days of the Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Retailers With the Absolute Best Customer Service</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Amazon Prime Perks You&#039;ve Forgotten to Use</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping alert Amazon clothes coupon customer service deals eBay fake free shipping holiday macro mail-in rebate mir recycle retailmenot Fri, 24 Apr 2009 00:11:19 +0000 Torley Wong 3081 at Modifiers: 5 things that change an item's final price <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/modifiers-5-things-that-change-an-items-final-price" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Dice" title="Dice" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On <em>Who Wants to Be a Millionaire</em>, Regis Philbin's famous catchphrase was &quot;Is that your final answer?&quot; You should keep the same thing in mind when buying stuff, because spending a few seconds to check could <strong>save you a substantial stash of moolah</strong>.</p> <p>Not counting &quot;used&quot; (B-stock and refurbished) goods and store cards, <strong>here are 5 modifiers which affect the final price of what you</strong> <strong>buy</strong>, whether it's in person or on the Internet:</p> <h2>1. Coupons &amp; promo codes</h2> <p>How easy! Surely you've heard of these &mdash; magical slips of paper that give you a spontaneous discount at the register. Or online, it's even easier (and saves trees): just paste the code into the order form at checkout.</p> <p>Offline, there's no shortage of flyers being mailed to the point where it becomes overwhelming. If you don't already have a few favorite stores, <strong><em>focus</em> on your options and weigh not just individual item coupons, but the overall shopping experience</strong>. (It doesn't make sense to save a few cents and be let down by unhelpful staff.) Find out if you can be apprised of specials online, since they tend to be more searchable. For example, Costco has paper coupon booklets, but they (and many Costcoholics, apparently) also post them on the web, which makes them easier to find or even setup an automatic alert for. This includes big things you're waiting for the price to drop on &mdash; such as an HDTV or fridge.</p> <p>Clipping paper coupons is a time-honored art which my Mom excelled at, the details of which are beyond this article's scope. But one principle which must always be stated is: most coupons for lower-priced goods (like food) don't make much of a difference in isolation. It's in aggregate that the savings add up. However, while you can make more money, you can never make more time, so <strong>consider whether the laborious task of scouring booklets and compiling your coupons &mdash; a crimp on convenience &mdash; is worth the cost</strong>. This is highly individual and needs to meet your needs, as some people enjoy coupon-clipping as a hobby. <em>Don't knock 'em! </em></p> <p>Online, <a href=""><strong>RetailMeNot</strong></a> is essential. It's user-powered, meaning many people submit promo codes and other people vote on their accuracy. Stale/expired coupons sink into the red while hot ones rise upwards. Some vendors feel threatened by this collective knowledge so they've asked RetailMeNot to exclude them, but other companies actively participate in promos. Be skeptical, however, as they may make something look better than it actually is. That's marketing for ya.</p> <p>Always look out for <strong>stackable coupons</strong>. Some deals mavens have mastered combining them, such as:</p> <ul> <li>a time-unlimited $50 off +</li> <li>a one-week special which removes a further $25 +</li> <li>extra 10% off if you buy 2.</li> </ul> <p>The math can get confusing, but don't let that deter you from savings, because web checkout forms usually assist with calculations.</p> <h2>2. Cashback</h2> <p>Cashback often comes in the form of: you need to sign up, then click on a special link which tracks you when you buy something. Then, after an elapsed amount of time (so the participating company can reap a net profit), you get your cash back (literally). Under this are all manner of economic and social complexities, such as partner sites receiving commission payments.</p> <p>Cashback tends to be smaller amounts like 2-10% and there are many flavors &mdash; <a href=""><strong>FatWallet</strong></a> is one of the more popular sites to have strategically turned cashbacking into a community &mdash; but there are occasional jackpots. For instance, eBay's Buy It Now thru Microsoft Live Search once <a href="">rose as high as 35%</a> (!), and while I missed out on that, the cashback amount was at a still-respectable 25% when I opted for some pricey music gear. I ended up saving myself over $600 (it took a rolling 60 days to receive all my money after the orders had taken place).</p> <p>One downside of cashback programs, including the eBay-Microsoft one: at-face prices may be inflated slightly or hugely, so <strong>be careful the cashback doesn't merely reduce the price to its usual parity</strong>.</p> <p>Like coupons, take advantage of compound savings whenever possible: there've been a few times where I didn't just stack coupons, there was also cashback, sweetening the deal further. And sometimes there are rebates on top of that.</p> <h2>3. Rebates</h2> <p>Rebates come in different flavors, but they all have one thing in common: motivating you to take action (buy!) when you might normally not be so interested.</p> <p>MIR stands for Mail-In Rebate, another way of enticing you to buy an item with a lower final cost, but you need to wait weeks, or even months to get a check in the mail as compensation. If money is tight <em>today</em>, be sure to factor that in. The waiting game can be tense and rebate programs often have strict rules, such as how your claim form is filled out, and what you need to include from the original packaging &mdash; commonly both a copy of the receipt and original UPC (bar code). Let me assure you, it sucks to go through that trouble, miss out one detail, and receive a rejection letter instead of money. Some rebate programs are shady and unresponsive, so search for others who've dealt with certain companies before.</p> <p>This is why I prefer instant rebates &mdash; just like a coupon, but even easier, because it's automatically applied at checkout. All you have to do is buy. Ah, consumerism.</p> <h2>4. Shipping</h2> <p><strong>Don't be fooled by &quot;free shipping&quot;. It sounds tasty but often isn't true, as the cost is eaten up by a premium on the item itself.</strong> This applies everywhere from Amazon to eBay to Zappos.</p> <p>But it's also true some places have substantially better shipping deals than others, all costs considered. Some may spur you to buy over a certain amount, e.g., &quot;All orders over $99 get free ground shipping&quot;. This is tied to the economy of scale, since it takes about the same time to process most orders, but if you have a more expensive order, you (or at least your money) are viewed as more valuable to the company's bottom line.</p> <p>In those cases, if your order is close to the minimum for free shipping, it may make sense to buy a small, sub-$10 item (also known as a &quot;<a href="">filler</a>&quot;) to push you over the limit. But <strong>don't force yourself to buy more than you actually need</strong>, 'cuz then you won't be saving at all.</p> <p>I previously wrote, &quot;<a href="">Is it worth paying more for faster shipping?</a>&quot;. Check it out if you'd like related info.</p> <h2>5. Tax</h2> <p>Death and taxes may be certain, but at least you have a say in controlling the eventuality of the latter &mdash; like <strong>not paying sales tax if you order from out-of-state</strong>. After <a href="">writing about the Mac mini for Wise Bread</a>, I found out <a href="">PowerMax</a>, located one state to the south in Oregon, wouldn't ding me for $75 sales tax unlike Apple's own store. Sales tax becomes even more prohibitive on expensive orders: with high-end electronics, it easily runs into the hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>The point here isn't to deprive the government, but make the smartest decision based on what's legal and available. Be resourceful like MacGyver.</p> <h2>The most important lesson I've learned about modifiers...</h2> <p>is <strong>don't get excited until <em>you</em> see the final price</strong>. So often, I've thought &quot;That sounds like a bargain!&quot; but by the time I get to the register, all these additional hits, surcharges, and in the case of airlines, hidden costs have added up and stabbed me in the side.</p> <p>Online, don't be afraid to do a simulation by adding items to your cart and rushing to the checkout to see what it really costs. Some stores add additional friction (whether by dumb design or accident) and require you to signup for account &mdash; in which case, if you're understandably concerned about your privacy and getting spammed, have an alternate email address on hand to test the waters.</p> <p>If you're new to this, the first few times of keeping the above 5 modifiers and other elements straight can be confusing. But persist, know what you want, and <strong>get it at a better price than you originally thought possible</strong>.</p> <p><strong><em>What are your fave modifiers? Have a modifier that I missed? Share your knowledge with us!</em></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Awesome Art of Getting Great Deals Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Little Known Amazon Shopping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Is it worth paying more for faster shipping?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">DON&#039;T Buy It Now on eBay without using cashback</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Amazon cashback costco coupon eBay fatwallet modifier powermax promo rebate retailmenot shipping tax Zappos Sun, 22 Mar 2009 14:29:46 +0000 Torley Wong 2950 at The one site you must visit before buying anything online. Period. <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-site-you-must-visit-before-buying-anything-online-period" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Buying online" title="Buying online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Friends, deal hounds, bargain hunters, lend me your ears; if ye don't know about the best coupon site on the web, bar none, then this will indeed be a most glorious day for thee (sorry, I'm really not Shakespeare). But in all seriousness, there is one site I have bookmarked that I visit before I buy anything online, ever. And you should, too.</p> <p>The site in question is called <a href=""></a> It's brought to you by the same folks who invented <a href=""></a> (a great way to get logins for sites without having to register).</p> <p><img width="335" height="84" title="RMN" alt="RMN" src="" /></p> <p>I have been using it with immense success for over a year and it's already saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. I personally believe it's the ultimate coupon code site, which is saying a lot in a day and age when those sites are everywhere.</p> <p> is very user friendly, has a great user interface, complete with thumbnails of the sites you're looking for, and has more codes in one place than any other site I've used.</p> <p><img width="240" height="240" title="Screenshot" alt="Screenshot" src="" /></p> <p>Better still, people vote on the success of the codes submitted. Some get a 100% success rate, others 60% (when you get one of those lesser codes to work, a strange sense of Mr. Burns rubbing his hands with glee comes over you). I also have a Widget installed on my Mac desktop for even quicker access to the savings. When there are deals around, there's no time to lose. Expiration dates come around all to quickly.</p> <p><img width="350" height="238" title="Widget" alt="Widget" src="" /></p> <p>I would write more, but there's really no point. It's simple to use, it's essential for anyone shopping online and it's a site I visit and use daily. And before anyone asks, this is not a paid endorsement...unless you count the serious cash the site has already saved me.</p> <p>Onwards people...the coupons are waiting, you will save money.</p> <p>(<a href=";eurl=">video below </a> courtesy of ABC 15)</p> <p><object width="425" height="355" codebase=",0,29,0" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000"> <param value="" name="movie" /> <param value="high" name="quality" /> <param value="false" name="menu" /> <param value="" name="wmode" /><embed width="425" height="355" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="" menu="false" quality="high" wmode="" src=""></embed></object></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>NOTE: For those of you with Firefox, there is a retailmenot add-on that is invaluable. You can <a href="">download it here</a> , as always it's a free download. Gotta love Firefox.</p> <p><img width="500" height="147" title="toolbar" alt="toolbar" src="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Ways to Convince a Store Clerk to Give You a Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Get a Deal Every Time You Shop with These Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">When Deals Matter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Mr. Cheap Stuff: Who do you think you are?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">12 Everyday Money Tasks You&#039;ve Been Doing Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping bargains codes coupons retailmenot save money Thu, 28 Feb 2008 17:35:19 +0000 Paul Michael 1860 at