Tips for Frugal Shoppers
In a previous article, I told you how to use comparison shopping sites to score the best online deals. Now that you found an online store through comparison shopping, your next step as a frugal shopper is to find the best online sales deal from the merchant you want to buy from.
The first thing you need to do is head to Dealspotr and login to your account there. If you’re not familiar with Dealspotr and don’t have an account, you can read all about them in a previous article I wrote: See How Easily You Can Save Money & Get Free Amazon Gift Cards Just for Sharing Deals. Go ahead and click the link to read that article before you continue on reading this one. Don’t worry, the link will open in a new tab/window so that you don’t lose your place here. 😉
Searching for the Best Online Sales at Dealspotr
Okay, now that you’ve read my article on Dealspotr and hopefully joined, let’s continue on with how to use Dealspotr to find the best online sales from the merchant you want to buy from. First, make sure you have Dealspotr open in a new tab/window and that you’re logged in to your account there. Done? Good. Now, grab your notebook to jot down some more notes.
Enter the name of the merchant you’re looking for in Dealspotr’s search box. After you enter the merchant’s name, a menu should drop down, and if that store is on Dealspotr, its name will appear in the drop down menu under stores. If the merchant is listed on Dealspotr, click on the store’s name or logo (whichever appears) to view its current deals.
In your notebook, write down the information for the best deals from that merchant. The information you’ll need to write down is the promo code and discount information (e.g. 25%, free shipping, etc.). Be sure to check that the deal hasn’t expired. If a deal is still there and it has expired, it will say expired.
Boost Your Savings With Cashback Shopping
Now that you have a list of the best online sales deals, you can boost your savings by joining cashback shopping sites. It’s free to join the sites, and as a member, you’ll earn a percentage of your total purchase from online merchants back.
To ensure you get the most savings, be sure you check out all the cashback shopping sites you’re a member of. You’ll be looking for the cashback site that offers the most money back for the merchant you want to buy from. For instance, one site may offer 3.4% cashback when you shop with Walmart while the other site offers 6% cashback for shopping with Walmart from their site. Obviously, you’ll want to go with the cashback site that offers 6% back.
Since you have to use the link from the cashback site to get the cashback savings from the merchant you’re buying from, you may be wondering what the purpose of the note taking was for? It’s simple, you’ll use the coupon code for the deal you discovered at Dealspotr to save even more. Make sure you use the coupon code for the deal that offers you the biggest savings. 😉
Before you make your purchase, browse the cashback site you’re making the purchase from to see if they list a better offer than you already have. If they do, you’ll want to take advantage of their offer instead. If that’s the case, most of the time you’ll just click the link they’ve provided to get that bigger discount. By clicking that link from their site, you’ll still receive the cashback as well.
Suggested Cashback Shopping Sites
If you’re familiar with cashback shopping, you may already be a member of some cashback shopping websites. Whether you’re a member or not, here are a few of my favorites, which, of course, you may want to consider joining: Be Frugal, eBates, Extrabux, Memolink, Mr. Rebates, My Points and Swagbucks.
Happy shopping and saving!
The majority of my frugal shopping adventures take place online. I love not having to fight crowds and wait in a long line to pay for my merchandise. But do you know what I love most about shopping via the internet? The deals! Yes, folks, there really are many great sales in the cyber marketplace for the frugal shopper! In fact, many times I’ve discovered that I save more money shopping online than I do shopping at brick and mortar stores in Southern Illinois.
Back when the internet was still new, shipping prices were inflated so much that most of the time it was still cheaper to shop offline. Nowadays, though, shipping and return policies are more consumer friendly, and when I factor in the high price of gas to drive into town, I discover I usually get better bargains shopping online.
Shopping online for deals will take time to get the best bargains, but the time that you’ll spend researching to find the best online deals will be worth it.
How a Frugal Shopper Scores the Best Online Deals
When shopping online for the best deals, you’ll want to compare prices. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours comparing prices yourself, because price comparison sites have done it for you. However, it will take a little time to examine the price comparison websites to find the merchandise you’re looking for at the lowest price. Once you get use to the sites’ layouts, though, it won’t take as long next time you decide to go on a shopping spree.
As I get ready to compare prices, I ensure I have a notebook and pen handy to write down the name of the merchandise I plan to buy. Next, I explore each of the sites, and when I come across the product I’m interested in, I see which merchant sells that item for the lowest price. Finally, I write down the name of the merchant with the lowest price. I also write down the price that online store sells the product for, because later I’ll search for current deals from that merchant.
Confused? Here’s an example, which I hope makes it easier for you to understand… Let’s say I’m looking to buy a Nintendo Wii U 32 GB Deluxe Game Console. First, I head to Google Shopping and type “Nintendo Wii U” (with quotes) into the search box at the top of their page. After clicking to search, I see what I’m looking for, so I click the “compare prices” button. Now I scroll to the bottom of the store listings and see there are 40 stores with this product, so I click “view all 40 online stores.”
Upon viewing all the stores, I see (at the time of this writing) Walmart has the cheapest price at $299.96 (with free shipping, if you have it shipped to your local Walmart).
Although Google Shopping shows that Walmart has the lowest price, I want to check with the other comparison sites to see if they list different online stores with an even lower price (including shipping). That being said, I open a new tab and head to Price Grabber. I do the same at Price Grabber as I did at Google Shopping. Walmart still has the lowest price (including shipping), so I’ll continue doing the same aforementioned steps with each comparison shopping site.
Once I finished looking at all four of my favorite comparison shopping sites, I discovered Walmart had the lowest price. So, being the frugal shopper that I am, here’s what I wrote in my notebook: “Nintendo Wii 32 GB Deluxe Game Console, Walmart, $299.96 with free shipping if I have it shipped to my local Walmart store.”
Now that you know the online retailer you want to buy from head over and read my tips on how a frugal shopper goes about finding the best sales.
There are tons of free printable coupons as well as digital coupons that we can load onto our savings cards, but what about those of us who want to enjoy additional savings or don’t have a printer to print coupons? Good news, you can request coupons by snail mail, and here are the websites I know of that offer snail mail coupons:
RedPlum: Sometimes you’ll find RedPlum inserts in your Sunday newspapers, but if you don’t buy the Sunday papers or you’d like additional RedPlum coupons, you can sign up for The Red Plum Mail package. Be sure you select “add to list.”
Bounce: When Bounce has coupons available by snail mail, you’ll find the link on their “promotions” page.
P&G Brand Sampler: You’ll have to register to get the free Home Made Simple coupon booklet via snail mail. Registration is free, and as a P&G Everyday Solutions member myself, I can honestly tell you that taking the time to register is well worth it. Their coupon booklets are usually filled with great savings!
Minute Maid Coupons by Snail Mail: Residents from the United States and Canada can enter their details in the form on the linked page to request money-saving coupons from Minute Maid.
Tide: When Tide has coupons available, you’ll find them on their “coupons” page.
Another Way to Obtain Coupons by Snail Mail
Google the manufacture’s name to see if they have a website, and if they do, contact them through their website asking if they could send you coupons by snail mail. Before asking for the coupons, state that you’ve tried and liked their product(s), or that you’d like to try their product(s). You can do this for restaurants as well.
I’ll add to this list when I discover new resources, so check back often, bookmark this page or follow me on Twitter for updates. Also, if you know of any other websites where frugal shoppers can sign up/register to get coupons by snail mail, let me know by leaving a comment, and I may even add it to this list giving you credit for the referral.
With gas and grocery prices on the rise, several of us are struggling financially. So what do we do to ensure we don’t lose our homes and our family doesn’t starve? Many have turned to couponing, gardening, canning and other frugal ways to save money.
If I recall right, it was back in 1998 when I first started using coupons. At that time, I was a recently divorced mom escaping domestic violence, and I had three young children to care for. Gas and grocery prices weren’t nearly as high back then, but being a single mom, earning a little above minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) working as a CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) was not easy in those days either. Since things were just as hard in 98, I started couponing to save as much money as I possibly could.
During the beginning of my couponing days, I didn’t know near as much about using coupons as I do now. In fact, I rarely saved money and often wondered if clipping coupons was worth my time and effort. Given that I thought the coupons failed in saving me money, I felt my time was better spent focusing on caring for the kids and working, so I stopped clipping coupons. Only if I knew then what I know now.
Anyway, life continued, I re-married in June 2004, and with the Lord’s help, I managed just fine without the coupons. Then in 2008, my household size increased to seven (including myself). On top of that, the cost of gas and groceries started to go up, and with only two incomes and a house full of seven people, I made it a point to learn how to use coupons to get the most savings. In addition to couponing, I learned many other ways of living frugally, and throughout this website, I’ll be sharing all the information I’ve gained knowledge of and will continue to absorb. Let’s begin with a few couponing tips.
6 Couponing Tips From a Frugal Coupon Mom
1. Compare the price of the name brand product with the price of the store brand item. Sometimes you’ll discover that even after the discount the coupon offers, the store brand will still cost less. I’ll discuss this in more detail within a future article.
2. The buy X and get Y for however much off won’t really save you much money unless you plan to buy X and Y anyway.
3. Only buy what you need. Don’t buy extra just because there’s a good coupon for the product or it’s on sale.
4. Gather all the sales papers from your local stores to see what’s on sale. Make a list of the sale items you might use, and then see if there are coupons for those items. Browse through your coupon binder as well as the printable coupon databases online. Then create your grocery list based on the information you gather. Also, buy the product from the merchant who offers the cheapest price for the same product, and refer back to my first tip as you prepare for your shopping trip. To do this, it’s best to have a pricelist of the store brand products you use the most from each of your favorite stores.
5. Enjoy greater savings by using a manufacturer coupon in combination with the store’s coupon on a sale item.
6. Ask your favorite stores when their double coupon days are, make note of them on your calendar, and then shop on those days.
While these are only a few tips from a frugal coupon mom (me), I hope the advice I shared will help you understand how couponing really can save you money. I only wish I knew all this back in 1998, but there were less mouths to feed than now, so at least I’m armed with this knowledge when I need it the most. 😉
If you know of any other couponing tips, comment and share what you know to help others who are trying to save as much money as they can. Pay it forward, and I’m sure you’ll be blessed for sharing your expertise.