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I LOVE online shopping, especially around the holidays! I joke that shopping online is changing my life so much that it’s allowing me to slowly ease into the hermit life I’ve always dreamed of! When I was in my early 20s, pre-kids, I would go to the mall with my girlfriends multiple times a month and loved it! This was back when I could afford incredible shoes, multiple purses, and pre-mom bod where I knew my size in every store, and that size didn’t make me cry! I was shopping for fun, with unlimited time, so never needed the help of a store clerk. I could go to the grocery store and just quietly wander the aisles, throwing whatever looked good into my basket.
Oh, how life has changed in 10 years! I cannot walk into the mall without getting irritated. Just today, I was shopping with my mom at the mall and found myself getting grumpier and grumpier with every inept store clerk who wouldn’t come out from behind the register to help us, and every item we tried to find in a certain size only to find that sizes we needed were out of stock. “You can order it online,” a clerk said… umm, duh! The last time I shopped in a Walmart I asked a clerk where the children’s books were, and he sent me to DVDs! Going to the grocery store, or God forbid Costco or Target, with two boys “helping” is just out of the question. Either they’re running hog wild, causing the anxiety of being that judged mom to start creeping up, or someone is pitching a fit over a toy or candy that I said “no” to, causing us to leave without half our list.
Let’s just be honest, with everything on a mom’s plate these days, who really has time to get to all of the running around anyway? The world of online shopping has really changed my life as a mom! Not only does it (usually) solve the problem I have with clerks who don’t know up from down, and the issue with out of stock sizes isn’t as prevalent, but it actually has saved me money. What? For real! When I’m shopping online, I go looking for something specific and buy just that (ok or maybe one or two other things) but the impulse bins and perfectly positioned end caps are not in my face begging me to get more stuff!
But there is something else I use to help me save money online that is not available to me when I shop instore. I use a mix of different apps and websites that either save me money upfront or rebate the money back after the sale, and some have Google extensions! Yall, I love my Google extensions on my toolbar!
If you don’t know what these are, they are tiny buttons that you load onto your Google search bar that act as shortcuts or alerts for you. I have a button for Pinterest so I can quickly save a blog post from another blogger that I liked, and I have several for shopping!
Have you ever ordered something online just to find an email later in the day that says “Use code SAVE20 for 20% off at checkout,” but you already purchased everything you needed? Can you hear Alanis Morissette singing “Ironic?”
Honey is a site that automatically searches the online store you’re shopping to find coupons or discount codes to apply for you! It’s able to search over 30,000 different sites, including Amazon. It exists just to save you money, and with the holiday shopping season upon us, I can use all the money saving help I can get!
When it searches Amazon, it looks for the best price on the item from all of the Amazon sellers, allowing you to compare and see if that item on Prime is your best bet, or if waiting out and paying a little on shipping may work better for you. It also gives you the option to watch the item for a better deal! Honey is free to join, and has helped me save over $100 in just 6 months! Check Honey out here!
Ebates is an online shopping platform that allows users to browse stores offering rebates of anywhere from 1% cash back to 10% and higher! You cash back comes back to you in the form of a check or via PayPal after you reach a set amount in a month.
I’ve had an Ebates account for a long time, but didn’t always use it. When it was first introduced, you had to remember to go to your online shopping sites via Ebates and that just didn’t work for me! They’ve since made some amazing changes for the better! You can still go directly through their website to search offers, then click through to the store you choose, or you can download the Google Extension!
As you navigate from store to store, your Ebates Extension will alert you when a cashback offer is available from your particular retailer. Simply click the button and the page will sync with Ebates, then refresh itself and you’re ready to start saving!
Ebates also offers an app to help you shop via your mobile phone. Another cool way to use the app is to link your Ebates account to your credit card, then when you’re actually shopping in a store you can search the app to see if that store is offering any rebates. If it is, click the button to link it to your card and your rebate will be applied once you check out!
It is so easy to use, and is free money! To set up your Ebates account, click here!
Ibotta is a site that works similarly to Ebates in that you get paid cashback to shop! The difference is that the focus here is more item specific, with some stores available as well.
Before you go grocery shopping, pull up Ibotta and check to see if any of the items you need are available for a cashback rebate. After you check out, snap a picture of your receipt and Ibotta will verify that the correct items were purchased, then apply the amount to your account.
Some items are store specific so it helps to narrow down by where you will be shopping, and others are for certain items. This site is best for those who aren’t overly brand loyal, but for those who are, they do have a great variety of brands to choose from! Click here to register for Ibotta!
Shopkick is a great phone app that allows you to earn “kicks” while shopping that adds up to gift cards! I always use mine towards Amazon cards since that’s where the bulk of our spending goes!
What’s cool about this app is that you can earn “kicks” several different ways: simply walk into the store with the app microphone enabled, scan items while shopping using the QR reader, link your store card to your account, upload your receipt, and more!
The app will alert you where “kicks” are available and how many are available in each store. You can also earn them by watching videos, and shopping online! You can check Shopkick out here!
Swagbucks is one that is highly recommended by a just about everyone! There is no question as to why: there are literally endless ways to earn money back! From online shopping to taking surveys while you watch tv, there is always an opportunity to earn cash back.
It also has a Google Extension that works exactly the same as Ebates, alerting you when you are on a site that offers cashback! Sometimes retailers will only allow 1 cashback app to capture the sale, and when that is the case, I review all the offers to see which one works more in my favor.
I’ll admit, Swagbucks overwhelms me quite a bit. I work best when I only have a couple of options on any task I’m doing, and I rarely take the surveys, but if you’re someone who can take surveys and watch videos, this site could totally be your jam! I do have points on it because there have been several times when shopping that my Swagbucks points are better than what the other sites are offering. Check out Swagbucks here!
I worked in Real Estate during the 2008 Recession (and it’s aftermath) and saw first hand what credit card debt could do to families (my own included), so I am very careful when discussing them with other people. We only have two outside of our debit cards because that’s all I can remember to pay! I canceled all of our store accounts years ago because I know us, and I know we will forget to pay something if there are too many payments to be made. I also know we will spend the money if its available!
That being said, rewards-based credit cards are a great way to earn points towards savings or even cash back. In order to do so responsibly, I strongly suggest picking your top 2 or maybe 3 companies and rolling with those. Don’t spread the love any further or you won’t actually earn much back because you’ll be spread too thin. We personally have AAdvantage Rewards & the Disney Rewards Visa (cause duh, I love Disney).
My AAdvantage Rewards has a Google Extension that works exactly like Ebates! A lot of the time I can take advantage of both the Ebates cash back AND the AAdvantage miles! It’s such a great way to maximize your savings for your purchases.
The other great thing about AAdvantage is that you don’t actually have to carry the credit card to earn miles! The Google Extension is purely for shopping, regardless of what card you use! You can also link your debit card, or any credit card of choice to AAdvantage Dining and earn miles when you eat out!
Do you use any rewards based websites? What are your favorites?Follow Our Story