How To Save Money Online

Online shopping is very popular right now - here are some ways to save BIG with your online purchases (so good to know for the holidays!)

There are so many opportunities to save money online — and not just with shopping. Here are some of the ways I save through the Internet.

Find Deal Websites:

This is probably the BEST way to find legitimate deals. Most of the time when I find a good deal or get a free sample of something, it’s from one of the trusted deal sites I visit on a regular basis. The authors of these sites spend all day trying to find legitimate deals and then posting them, so you don’t have too. These are especially handy during the holiday season, when there are deals up the wazoo. I recommend finding one specific to your state, as they are more likely to post deals that are relevant to your area. I just visit a few, and like a couple on Facebook, because quite often some of the deals are the same — but not always! Here are a few of my very favorite ones:

Freebies2Deals: Seriously, I’m obsessed with this one. She doesn’t post anything that is going to run out in like 10 seconds, and everything is legitimate. Plus she has tons of giveaways, which is always awesome! There was also a mobile app released recently, which makes finding deals on the good easy. I’ve bought a few of Baby J’s birthday presents recently because of some of her posts.

The Thrifty Couple: This site recently made the switch to not posting as many deals, but to focus on helping people live more within their means! They still do post the best weekly diaper deals, as well as restaurant deals, which I think is super helpful.
Utah Deal Diva
Discount Queens
Good Deal Divas
Utah Sweet Savings

Online Account Management

I know a lot of people are wary of doing anything online that has to do with personal information, like bank accounts, but I have really liked the ability to manage my accounts and bills digitally. There are two sites that I have been using to help keep track of our bills and spending.

BillCutterz.com: This is a really cool service! Basically, you send them your bills, and they work with the provider to negotiate a lower rate. If they get you savings, you split the savings with them as their payment. And if they aren’t able to lower your rate, you owe nothing! It works with everything from cell phone bills, to cable and satellite, to gym memberships!

Mint.com: I think a lot of people have heard of this one, it’s been around for a few years. Over the years since it has been available, I’ve gone in spurts of using it. Sometimes I’m really intense about it, and make sure everything is up to date, and carefully monitor our budget with it, but then other times, I kind of forget about it. It is a great website though, and if you really want to have all of your bank account and credit card information in one place, it’s a good option. I also really like being able to set my budget, and see how much is left in each category.

Manilla.com: I’ve recently started using Manilla, so I don’t know everything about it, but from what I’ve seen, I like it. If you pay bills online, this is definitely the site for you. You can put all your information in about different bills, and it helps remind you when to pay those. I don’t know about you, but I feel like we have so many bills that we pay online, and sometimes I forget. Luckily, most are auto pay, but it’s still good to have a reminder for when our back account is about to get a little smaller.

Shopping Online 

As much as I love running to the store to run errands, there’s just something so convenient about being able to shop from home. Most of my Christmas shopping was done from my couch, and I scored some awesome deals that I wouldn’t have found online. Whenever I’m planning on making a purchase, I scour the Internet, just to make sure I’m getting the best deal possible. Here are a few sites I recommend when it comes to shopping online:

Amazon Prime: I use Amazon for everything. I first started using it in college, when I was eligible for Amazon Student. Amazon Student is a sweet deal — you get a 6 month, free trial which includes free two-day shipping. After six months, you can sign up for a paid membership at a discounted rate of $49 for a year, and that includes access to Prime Instant Videos, the Kindle Lending Library, and, of course, the two-day shipping. All of this is also included in the non-student version, which is $99. Although it’s a bit of an investment up front, if you use Amazon a lot, it pays for itself. It definitely does for us. We also use Amazon Mom, which is awesome if you buy a lot of diapers and wipes. You can score an additional 15% off on certain items (in addition to the Subscribe and Save discount), and if you’ve never signed up for prime before, you can get a three-month trial with Amazon Mom. You can be an Amazon Prime and Amazon Mom member at the same time.

So, as an overview, here are three ways to get an Amazon Prime Membership with benefits.

Ebates: I just discovered this a few months ago, and I can’t believe I haven’t been using it. Ebates gives you cash back for certain purchases online, and almost every place I’ve shopped in the past few months has been on Ebates. Right now I have 26 dollars that will deposited to be me through PayPal sometime this month — partly because of purchases I made, and partly because of their awesome referral program. The cash back may not always look substantial, but if you do a lot of shopping online, it adds up. And even if you are shopping at a kind of random place, be sure to see if you can use Ebates. I found that PersonalizationMall.com had 16 percent cash back when I bought an ornament from there! I also wrote a post over here about different ways to earn cash back online!

Google Shopping: This is probably the best way to comparison shop. It brings up just about every option available for your search, where it’s available, and different prices. You can also change the search options, so if you want something in a certain price range, that will show up. I’ve found this to be the most affective way to shop online — it brings up just about every webpage, and also tells you if it is in stock nearby. I’ve used Google Shopping on my phone when I am at a store that price matches, in order to make sure I get the best price.

Shoprunner: While I never would pay full price for this, if you can find it on a discount, it’s definitely worth it. I was lucky enough to get a year free of it last year, and it’s been well-used. Basically, it gives you free shipping and delivery for tons of different websites and companies — I think I used it most often on Toys/Babies R Us, and for Dominos. At full price, it is $8.95 for month, or $79 for a year, but quite often, it is available for half price memberships (or if you are lucky like me, free!) On the website, you will see the option to try it out for 30 days, and see if it’s worth it. I don’t think I’ll continue it after my free year runs up, mainly because I buy most things on Amazon, but I know a lot of people love the service.

Finding Coupons

I never make an online purchase without first searching for a coupon code. 9 times out of 10, I am able to find one, and it’s worth the extra few seconds it takes to find it. My go-to coupon finder is RetailMeNot.com, but there’s any number that you can find while searching on Google.

Rewards Programs

Swagbucks: This is probably one of the most well-known programs out there, and the easiest way I have found to get Amazon Gift Cards. You earn sSagbucks by completing searches through the Swagbucks search engine (you can download a toolbar if you want, or set your search engine to it) — not for every search, but a decent amount. Admittedly, I don’t use Swagbucks a lot, mainly because I don’t really like the search engine, but I know many people who have earned a lot. You can also earn Swagbucks by completing surveys or making purchases online.

Plink: I saw this on The Thrifty Couple a few months ago, and have used it a little bit. You get points for using your debate card at certain restaurants, which then can be turned in for gift cards. You really don’t have to do much beyond the initial setting up of your account. It has restaurants like Burger King and Red Robin, and you do have to spend a certain amount to get points. But if you you are going out with more than just yourself, that limit isn’t hard to meet!

Surveys: I talked about this last week, but I just have to re-emphasize what a great way this is to make some extra money!

Save on Groceries

We live in a world where you can do just about everything digitally – sometimes that’s not such a good thing! Fortunately, saving money on groceries is always a good thing. I’ve come across two awesome resources that you can use online to save money on your groceries.

Meals to Deals

I love this website! They create weekly meal plans based off of the deals for that week. All you have to do is login each week, print off the deals for your preferred store, and your meal plans are ready to go!

Boxed.com 

This is basically a big box store like Costco or Sam’s Club – but there’s no membership fee! You can get great prices on bulk products, sent straight to your front door.

Making Money With Your Smart Phone

And, last, but certainly not least, there are so many ways to make money with your smartphone! Be sure to check out my list here.

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