I LOVE finding a deal. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I am also lazy, which is why 99% of my shopping is done online. As a (self-appointed) expert online shopper, I have a few tips and tricks on incredibly easy ways to save money while shopping online.
You have probably seen the commercials with people telling you how much money they have saved using Ebates and thought “That seems too good to be true. There has to be a catch.”
Well, as someone who has been paid almost $500 from Ebates, I am here to tell you that Ebates is the real deal and is a super easy way to save money.
Let me explain to you how Ebates works and you will see why using it is a no-brainer.
Ebates is an affiliate website so it receives a commission on the purchases made by people they send to a retailer’s website. Meaning that if a customer on ebates.com clicks a link to go to Macy’s website, for example, Ebates will receive a percentage of the transaction total for that customer. If the customer doesn’t buy anything, then Ebates receives nothing. Think of this payment as a sort of ‘finder’s fee’ paid by the retailer for bringing qualified traffic to their online store. The payment rates can vary but are usually anywhere from 5-15% of the cart value.
Ebates is fantastic because its business model is to split the affiliate fee they receive from the retailer with the customer themselves.
Keeping with my example, if Macy’s offers Ebates a 10% fee, Ebates may choose to keep 6% and share the other 4% with its customers, creating a win-win situation for Ebates and us, the customer. The best part is that this savings is in addition to other on-site savings or promotions!
How to Use Ebates
The first step to capitalize on this savings is to create an Ebates account which you can do here.
Ebates has made it incredibly easy to save money using their service by creating an extension for your browser (coined the ‘Cash Back Button’). The extension, available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge browsers, will automatically notify you every time you visit a website where you could be earning cash back and will make it easy to active your savings with an in-browser pop-up (see picture below). It’s really that easy. Click here to download the extension to your browser.
If you don’t want to or can’t use the browser extension, you can still use Ebates but there are just a few more steps. Go to the Ebates website, log into your Ebates account, and then search for the retailers you want to purchase from at the top of the screen. The red percentage next to the retailer’’ name is the amount that you will receive back from Ebates for purchasing through them (6% from Macy’s in the picture below).
When you are ready to shop, just click the red ‘Shop Now’ button which will open up a new tab or window with that retailer’s website. Then, just shop as you normally would. Ebates will track what you ordered through the retailer and your pending cash back will automatically show in your Ebates account.
Please note that in order to earn money from your shopping, you must click through Ebates before you make a purchase on another website. There are some nuances to be aware of (for example, what to do if you accidentally close a browser after you leave Ebates, how to buy from multiple stores, and how returns are handled) which Ebates explains on their website.
Ebates is also great because they scour the web for additional coupons you can apply to your purchase.
Take a look at the example below where they tell customers how they can save an additional 20% off sale & clearance items from Macy’s by entering the code “WKND” during checkout.
Ebates sends you a cash back payment, a Big Fat Check (their terminology), every 3 months for purchases posted during the previous quarter. You can set it up for money to be sent via PayPal or a check mailed to you.
Credit & Debit Card Promotions
Another great way to save money online is to use the often unadvertised promotions from your credit card companies or banks.
How do you find these unadvertised promotions, you ask? Log into the websites of your credit card companies and banks and look around for a special deals section. I took a screenshot from the American Express website below. Amex currently has a number of deals going on where you get money back on your card for simply shopping at different retailers. In order to get these savings, just make sure you add the deals you are interested into your card or account.
You can really make off like a bandit if you the store you want to buy from is having a sale on-site, you use Ebates to get a portion of your transaction total back AND you get additional cash back from your credit card company. Mwahaha (evil laugh) – because isn’t taking advantage saving money fun?
One final trick to save money online: abandon your cart. If the item you are eyeing isn’t on sale, add it to your cart and abandon it. A lot of retailers will remarket to people who have added an item to their shopping cart and not purchased, often times giving them a coupon code to buy the item at a cheaper price. The only way this works, however, is if the retailer has a way to get a hold of you. So, remember to enter your email address or shipping address in the checkout before you abandon it.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Happy shopping and may the savings be ever in your favor!