Most of us shop online nowadays, and I even find myself buying more online than I used to. It is very convenient, but paying extra shipping charges can persuade some NOT to buy, myself included. There are MANY MANY ways to shop online and save, get free shipping and better discounts than you usually find in stores. It may sound too good to be true, but it really isn't. It just takes some searching and time, both of which I am giving to you...just read and learn!
Not a lot of people know it, but there are almost always shopping codes out there for free shipping, a percent off, etc. Very rarely do I shop online without using a code (Amazon is one of those stores that rarely has codes, however). One of the best websites I have used for many years is Naughty Codes. You can look up a store individually, and see if there are any codes out there. Some other good websites for finding codes are EDeal, Deal Catcher, Current Codes, Coupon Heaven and Flamingo World. If you don't find what you are looking for on these websites, then google it. For example, if you are looking for coupon codes for JCPenney.com, you can google 'JCPenney coupon codes' to see what you come up with. Bottom line is: always look before you buy! Almost every time you will end up saving some money.
Whether or not you find a shopping code for your online order, there are websites set up that give you a percentage back if you shop through them. For example, Ebates is a personal favorite of mine. If you join, you get a certain percentage back into your ebates account whenever you shop through their links. They pay you the balance every 3 months as long as it is over $5. For example, if you want to purchase from Land's End, you would get 3% back from your order total (excluding shipping charges). If you wanted to purchase from Barnes and Noble, you would get 4% back. Get the idea? It really adds up. In the 5 years I have been a member with them I have gotten $45. I know that is not a ton, but I don't do a whole lot of online shopping either. Something is better than nothing, in my opinion.
Another website similar to Ebates is Upromise. This is set up differently, though. I am also a member here, and have been since 2002. They also offer kickbacks, but instead of getting the money back on a regular basis like Ebates, it is saved into a fund for your child's future education. Additionally, it is not only online shopping that can get you these kickbacks, but also shopping around town. You can register your debit and credit cards so when you shop and purchase specific qualified items, the kickback is automatically recorded for you. Albertson's is one store that this works with, as well as McDonalds, Exxon, BedBathandBeyond, and hundreds of others.
Other websites that give you points, rebates or credits are My Points and Fat Wallet. These websites also have current shopping codes and deals. Most times each of these sites also have special deals offered that you might not find elsewhere, and that you can only get if you shop through their site. It all depends on what you are looking for. I know there are other websites that do this, but all these that I have mentioned are the ones I know are legit.
A good example of the awesome kickbacks you can get was what happened to me last November. When I got an email from Ebates saying that for a limited amount of days they were doubling all percentages back, I knew it would be a good time to get some gifts we were needing to get anyway. I was wanting a scrapbook magazine subscription for my birthday, and with the double percentage back, I paid $14.97 for my subscription, but I got 40% back..that is almost $6! So I only ended up paying $8.98 for a scrapbook magazine that is normally much more. Additionally I paid $20 for ink cartridges at 123 Inkjets, I got $7 back, plus when I ordered initially I got free shipping and a 20% discount. Ebates gives you the kickback before those other coupons, great huh?
When I find great sales, free shipping options, and clearance sales online, I stock up for birthdays, holidays, and other gifts. I have gotten many nice gifts for my family, Mother's Day or Father's Day gifts, etc for a fraction of the regular price. Just to clarify though: Just because something is on sale doesn't mean I buy it. You have to consider what is right for you, or for the person you are purchasing for. Amazon has toy clearance sales every year, and usually you can find some good stuff. I know I did this year, and in the end I spent $50 shipped on all three of my kids combined! WOW!
Don't forget to check Ebay, UBid, and Craigslist for things you may want to purchase. Many times they might be cheaper on there.
Joining freebie sites like Pinching Your Pennies, Deal Catcher and Phoenix Freebies also gives you an edge as they post deals you might not normally find. Especially on websites like Amazon. I recently just finished Christmas shopping for the kids....mostly all online! I was able to buy some normally expensive, brand new toys for 65%-75% off. When I can get a brand new $15 doll for Lacy for $5 shipped, I would much rather do that than buying a used one at a garage sale. Get the idea?
This is really so fun, that you will get addicted....so beware! :) It is fun to find unique gifts, online codes, and coupons that not everyone knows about. Start your search....and have some fun!