Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Savvy Shopping

I’m sure like many others, my family has had our share of times when money was tight. There are a few main money saving tips I have learned over the years, and I plan to share these on the blog. I would put them all in this post, except that I lost about a thousand brain cells with each child and the chances of me actually remembering them all at one time are slim at best (which leads me to another topic to be tackled a different day – the concept of “underpromise and overdeliver”).
So here are just a few ideas related to online shopping for now:
Top Five Online Shopping Tips
1.       Christmas with Amazon
I LOVE Amazon. It’s an awesome site for many reasons, but I was really converted to it a few years back over the holiday season. In December, Amazon has a huge sale. If you know when the prices are at their lowest (generally between December 10-16 or thereabouts), you can score some amazing toys and gifts at 50-80% off. This year was the third year I’ve shopped mainly on Amazon. Although this year still didn’t live up to the first year, when I got a Rose Petal Cottage, with nursery set, dining set, birthday set and stove for a total of $25, it was still good. I also buy birthday presents in advance and it is GREAT to get to my kids’ birthdays and have all the presents sorted already.
2.       Free Prime membership at Amazon
If you’re a mom, you can get free prime membership through Amazon Mom. Prime membership will give you FREE two day shipping on almost every item that Amazon stocks. Amazon Mom is free to sign up, no strings attached or credit card info required. The initial free membership is for a three month period, but you can extend this a month for every $25+ purchase you make in the baby section (diapers, wipes, etc). You can earn up to one year’s free membership from the date you join, so those of you joining today would be able to use it next Christmas. Amazon Mom also gives discounts to members on toys, diapers, and other products.
3.       Online discount codes
If I’m shopping online, I always search for a discount code before I buy. Retailmenot is an awesome site that allows you to search for the retailer you plan to purchase from, and get a list of codes that can be used to get discounts at the site you’re shopping at. Users rate the codes so you know which ones are most likely to work. You should be able to find something for most retailers, but I have had good luck with certain sites – almost every time I’ve bought anything from Boston Market I’ve been able to find a code for at least 20% off. I would never go into the store to order now because I can order online and save so much more.
4.       Swagbucks
If you haven’t yet been introduced to the world of swagbucks, you should definitely try it. Swagbucks is a no strings attached search engine, where you are randomly rewarded with swagbucks (usually between 5-50) for searching. I’ve found that I tend to get rewards in the morning, middle of the day, and evening. If you search the web for codes, you can enter them on the home page for additional bucks. You can exchange the bucks for any number of different items and merchandise, however I prefer to exchange them for Amazon gift cards. 450 swagbucks will get you a $5 gift card. Apply the gift card number to your Amazon account and the money will never expire. I seem to be able to get about $10-15 each month just by searching, watching a few videos and finding codes (I never complete the offers…mainly because there’s nothing I need). If you use the money in conjunction with the Christmas Amazon sale and free prime shipping through Amazon Mom you can get some REALLY cheap (read: free) items.
5.       Forums
If you find a bargain - share, share, share. There are plenty of sites out there that track bargains all over the web. My favorites are slickdeals, and sassycouponmom. You can also find a lot of great information on forums – for example the babycenter community has a thread going over the holiday season that specifically tracks the Amazon deals.
I hope some of this was useful info! Please comment and let me know of your favorite shopping tips!

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