3 easy and instant ways to save money online

In today’s world, shopping in “brick and mortar” stores can seem backward, dated, and even boring. Millions of people each year shop from their couches drinking coffee while shopping for clothes, household goods, gifts, and just about anything else you can imagine. There’s even a cool word for it – its called sofalising!

The benefits of shopping online

The benefits of shopping online include the many coupon, rebate and cashback programs out there. If you use a coupon code when shopping online (just Google ‘coupon’ for the product you are about to purchase), your savings can be big. You also get all the benefits of shopping online. There are also no children to drag through stores, nil petrol costs to get there and back, and you’ll avoid the hassle of fighting crowds.

So, if you’re convinced shop online is for you, you next question might be, where can you find the savings?

There are several ways to save money online and there they are:

Use coupons

This is a fairly standard measure for many shoppers. Go to one of Australia’s many coupon sites and look for the store you want to shop with. Alternately, search by category, depending on what you are looking for. Be sure to click “apply” when you enter the coupon during checkout.

In the early days of online shopping, coupon codes were plentiful and generous (frequently you could find $10 off a $10 purchase with free shipping). But good coupons these days are hard to find. Some stores rarely offer coupons while others often offer free shipping on any size order. When you order, or even if you don’t order, be sure to sign up with the website either by registering or signing up for coupons. These direct-email coupons are often some of the best you’ll ever find.

Here are some great coupon sites to get you started:

MyBargainBuddy.com

This site combines good deals and coupon codes for you. Some of the best deals need no coupon at all, but if there’s a good deal and a coupon to go with it then that’s great!

FatWallet.com

Lots of codes here along with active message boards where other deals can be found.

MyCoupons.com

The best part of this site are the message boards, which are filled with people saving money. Check out the posts that have stickies on them at the start of each forum – there are often some good links to printable coupons.

Note: If you are looking for a code for a certain store, don’t assume it doesn’t exist. There are different codes at different sites. Visit several coupon sites before giving up hope on a code for a store you love.

Rebates

Here’s the big daddy of online rebate programs. Go to Ebates.com and sign up for an account. There’s a sign up bonuses before you even get started. When you go shopping, check Ebates before heading directly to an online store. Even if you have a coupon from another site, click through the store link on the Ebates page for even more savings.

Here’s a sample purchase:

  • Let’s say you choose a new jacket from a store and you get $10 off a $75 purchase.
  • Keeping the coupon code on hand.
  • Head to Ebates and find the vendor among the list of stores.
  • Let’s say the store offers 2% back, you can click through the store’s link on the Ebates page, and make your purchase.

Not only do you benefit from the coupon code you applied, but also got an extra 2% back on your purchase. Not a bad deal eh? Ebates will send money to your Paypal account or send you a cheque.

Reward Points

There are many reward point programs out there, but since you can earn points without doing any shopping, some points programs are really worth learning about.

MyPoints.com

  1. Sign up for an account.
  2. My Points will send emails (sometimes daily, sometimes several a day).
  3. Click a link in the mail and automatically get 5 points.
  4. Sign up for an offer or make a purchase through that link and earn even more points, from hundreds to thousands of points on offer.
  5. Click through a link on the My Points site, and you get points for your purchase.

Note: Most reward programs like this offer a certain number of points (2 to 4 on average) per dollar spent. Once you have at least 1,000 points, you can redeem the points for gift certificates for restaurants, gas, travel and clothing.

You can’t use Ebates and My Points in the same purchase, so if a store is linked through both Ebates and My Points, you have to decide which is the better deal for you. Whenever possible, try to combine a coupon code with the My Points or an Ebates deal.

Got some great ways to save using the methods above? Share them in comments below.