How To Save Money Shopping Online Every Single Time
Friends don’t let friends pay retail
If you like shopping online like me, these sneaky ways to save money will stretch your dollars even further without much effort.
I’ve been doing this for years and can attest that most people don’t know these tips and tricks exist.
You see, my favorite hobby is figuring out how to save money shopping online, so I’ve spent a lot of time looking into this.
It might not sound like a superpower yet, but getting a good deal online is such a rewarding feeling – especially when it’s so easy and you’re paying a fraction of the price. In fact, saving so much money online can become addicting once you get the hang of it.
So, before you make your next online purchase, be sure to read over my best tips for saving money online and making every single dollar count. I’ve also included examples to show you how I stack discounts!
1. Check Ebates for discounts every time you shop
A good chunk of my online savings comes from Ebates when I shop online. It’s a website that partners with over 2,000 retailers to bring customers cashback deals.
Deals are easy to redeem and I’ve used so many good ones, such as:
- 9% cash back on Groupon
- 10% cash back at eBags.com
- 42% cash back at magazines.com (a few subscriptions for me and some gifted to family members)
When you have at least $5 in your account and are ready to cash out, you can have earnings sent directly to you through PayPal or choose to receive a “Big Fat Check” in the mail. I’ve always had my earnings sent directly to PayPal and it’s a really straightforward process.
If you decide to check it out and sign up here, you can earn a free $10 Ebates bonus credit after spending $25 or more at your favorites stores within 90 days of joining!
2. Stack cash back earnings with Ibotta
I’m constantly surprised by how good the deals are on everything from laundry detergent to coffee, even beer, and liquor! Plus, they offer a $10 signup bonus to make it worth your while.
To take your savings even further, you can also use Ibotta to get a $20 gift card when you sign up for a year of Amazon Prime through the app. That’s a huge discount and Prime offers so many benefits.
3. Don’t delete your email receipts (get $$ for them)
Share them instead! If that makes you nervous, I get it. Sometimes it’s easier to “forget” how much we’ve spent. But there’s nothing to worry about with Paribus. In fact, it’s a perfect shopping companion.
Paribus connects to your email inbox, keeping track of online receipts and scanning partner retailer databases. If it finds a price drop on an item you’ve already purchased, it will refund you the difference, in accordance with the store's price adjustment policy.
With Paribus monitoring nearly 30 retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Wayfair, Staples, Nordstrom, Costco, and many more, this app is a must!
4. Get $36 for sharing your Amazon purchase history
If you shop on Amazon (we pretty much all do, right?), you can earn $36 a year by anonymously sharing your purchase history through a tool called ShopTracker.
ShopTracker keeps tabs on the products people buy on Amazon and pays $36 a year to help with their research. It’s operated by The Harris Poll, a survey company that measures U.S. public opinion.
You can start the simple download process here, as long as you meet the basic requirements:
- You shop on Amazon
- You must be 18+ and live in the U.S.
- You have a Windows 7-compatible PC (Windows XP or a Mac won’t work)
5. You Can Outsmart Dynamic Pricing
A dynamic price is a price some merchants might show you based on your location, browsing history, spending patterns, and the current demand for the product itself. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always be presented a higher price, but it does happen.
An obvious example would be with airplane tickets. The first time you look up a flight, the price may be $400, and the next thing you know, the same flight is now $799 and there are only two seats left! That’s dynamic pricing at work.
To outsmart it, follow these steps:
- Clear your cookies and browser history, so you look like a “new customer” on site
- Browse anonymously by signing out of your accounts and using incognito mode
- Browse and shop websites using a VPN, so your IP address appears to be in a different location (which may show you different rates)
When I’m looking to book a flight, I use a combination of all three steps. First, browsing in incognito mode to get a baseline price, then clearing my browser history and cookies to appear as a new customer searching for the first time. Once I find a flight that looks good to me, I’ll use a VPN to mask my location and check local prices.
6. Use a cash back credit card (a.k.a. my secret weapon)
So obvious but so many people are still missing out!
If you’re shopping online, you might as well earn cash back right off the top by using a cashback credit card. I used to use a debit card but once I learned about cash back cards, I signed up immediately. Not only to save money but also because using a credit card to make online purchases is actually more secure than using a debit card.
I get an unlimited 1.5% cash back by using the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ for my online shopping. The high ratings are what first pulled me towards this card and I haven’t been disappointed. There’s no annual fee, no cap on my earnings, and you can earn a $150 cash signup bonus after spending $500 within the first three months.
7. Double-check deals on MyPoints
Most people don’t know about this newcomer on the scene yet, but it’s one of my favorites and I love sharing it. By shopping online through the MyPoints website, you can earn points to eventually redeem for gift cards, travel miles, or straight up cash via PayPal.
In ways it’s similar to Ebates, so I check and use both regularly to make sure I’m getting the best deal. In other ways, it offers more than Ebates by also offering ways to earn points without spending a dime. Instead, you can earn points by taking quick surveys, watching videos, and reading emails – all seriously so easy! I usually earn a few points here and there when waiting in a long line or while catching up on my TV shows.
8. Quickly earn and redeem SBs for gift cards
Before you ask, SB = Swagbucks! Similar to MyPoints, you can earn points when shopping online, watching videos, and taking quick surveys to redeem for gift cards or cash via PayPal.
I like keeping my options open (to check for the best discounts), so Swagbucks stays in my main rotation when checking for deals – especially deals that other portals aren’t offering at the time.
Right now, you can get started with a $5 signup bonus from Swagbucks, which will be added to your account when you earn 2500 points in your first 60 days.
How I Stack Discounts and Rewards
Now that I’ve shared my best tips and tricks for saving money shopping online, here are a handful of real examples of how I actually use them.
💰Example 1: Save money on vacation accommodations and new clothes
Using my cash back credit card, I booked a hotel on hotels.com and received 8% cash back by clicking through Swagbucks first. I earned 8 SB per dollar (amounting to 8%) and built up the points in my SB account to eventually redeem Old Navy gift cards. Then, when I was ready to use my free Old Navy gift cards to buy clothes for an upcoming vacation, I got 2% cash back by clicking through Ebates for an even deeper discount!
💰Example 2: Get a discounted Amazon Prime membership and free Amazon gift cards
I signed up for a year of Amazon Prime through Ibotta and received a $20 Amazon gift card (bringing the membership cost down from $99 to $79). Then, I redeemed points earned through SwagBucks and MyPoints for additional Amazon gift cards. After my Amazon purchases arrived at my home, I signed up for ShopTracker and earned $36 by sharing my Amazon purchase history with them.
💰Example 3: Get money back after purchases if the price drops
On top of all my other ways to save, I also use Paribus to track things I’ve already purchased to make sure I’ve paid the very least for my purchases. This only works at partner retailers who offer price adjustments but I’ve found it helpful and easy. Plus, it’s free and I don’t need to go back and check it manually, which saves me a bunch of time.
My Best Advice For Taking Advantage Of It All
I know it’s a lot to take in at once. It took quite a while for me to wrap my head around all this, too. I’m just sharing as much as I can in hopes of helping you get some easy discounts on items you’re already buying to save some of your hard-earned dough.
My best advice is to only do as much as you’re comfortable with – take baby steps if you need to.
Now that you’re aware of so many ways to save while shopping online, it would be crazy to continue paying full retail price.
If nothing else, switching your payment method to a cash back credit card that earns you a high flat rate of unlimited cash back is the way to go. That way, you’re saving money right off the top whether you’re shopping online, shopping locally at a store, paying a bill via credit card, and any other instance where using a credit card is involved.