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When Shopping Online, Think and Save Outside The Box

I am a big fan of saving money when I make purchases.  I don’t like paying retail and I really don’t like paying for shipping online.  I make it part of my checkout process to find a coupon or promo code in order to bring down the bill total.  When I am shopping for goodies, I first check Amazon, because I am part of the Amazon Prime program.  Who doesn’t love free two day shipping?  Yes, I know that I pay yearly for the program, but I also use Amazon Instant Video and I make a good amount of purchases via Amazon, so it pays for itself.  I did the math.

After I got out of credit card debt, I decided to look at different ways to score some savings when shopping online.  I don’t care if it is a one-time deal, a money savings program, or sweet coupon database.  I will try and find neat ways to save money when I am doing my shopping.  I get irritated when I pay retail price and I think it is unnecessary.  Recently, I have looked into a few different ways in order to save some serious dough with online purchases.  Here are some that I think are promising and I am sure you are using a few of them.

  • discount gift cards

    Courtesy of giftcards.com

    Discounted Gift Cards – Who doesn’t love getting a gift card?  I know I really enjoy getting them because they allow me to purchase things that I really want.  I don’t like wasted money on gifts.  Sometimes I don’t know what I want, so I would like a gift card.  Gift cards are what I usually gift to others because they are so simple, yet can really provide the best value.  As stated above, why should you pay retail for a gift card?  Yes, you can go walk into a store and purchase a gift card, but why not jump online and save 20% when buying the card?  I would recommend trying Giftcards.com for discounted gift cards.  They have the largest marketplace, where you can buy and sell gift cards.

  • Groupon Daily dealDaily Deal Sites – We all know these as they have grown in popularity since Groupon and Living Social came onto the scene.  Daily deals can be a great way to save 50% on something that you want.  Now, not everything on a daily deal site is going to be something that you want, so you will need to practice patience here.  I would recommend signing up for deal alerts, so you can score the best deal on items or services you are actually looking for.  One tip is to not sign up for too many daily deal sites.  That can end up creating a lot of junk mail in your inbox and no one likes that.  Just pick some of your favorite daily deal sites and sign up for those alerts.
  • penny auctions

    Courtesy of usatoday.com

    Penny Auctions – Penny auctions are relatively new to the auction scene.  eBay pioneered the online auction, but since then, there have been many different variations of auctions.  Penny auctions are the current rage in the online space at this time.  If you haven’t tried it before, you can really score some serious deals.  You have to be vigilant of the auction process as it is a pay-to-play type of auction.  You pay in order to bid and then you have to pay for the item, but you can get some stuff at a serious discount.  I have pulled off a few where I saved about 75%.  Now, that is a win to me and the product was legitimate.  One tip here is that you need to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate website.  You don’t want to deal with trying to purchase fake products because there is no fun in that.

These are the few ways that I am working with to save with my online shopping.  Yes, I do still love my coupons, but I wanted to think outside of the box and try a few other things.  I am on a discount gift card kick right now and I am enjoying the savings.

What unorthodox or different ways are you saving money when shopping online?

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About Grayson Bell

I am an average Joe, who built up over $50,000 worth of credit card debt and had to learn how to break it back down. It took 4 years of learning budgets, secrets, and many other personal finance tricks in order to cut the debt to $0. Now, I push to teach others not only how to get out of debt, but how to use credit wisely and how to start growing their wealth. You can view my other site, Sprout Wealth for ways to grow your money. I am also a freelance personal finance writer who provides staff writing and ghost writing services.

42 comments

  1. I would love to buy more stuff from amazon, but other than books it is just too expensive when compared to local sites in Australia.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Do You Pay Off Debt Now Or LaterMy Profile

  2. Daily deal sites are big for me, though you have to learn to resist the urge to buy things you don’t need. If you have a list of things in mind that you will buy eventually anyway, it can really save you money! I saved over $100 on a closet wardrobe for our guest bedroom by waiting until Brad’s Deals posted a really good deal on one.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..Paying Bills As An Expat: The Highs and LowsMy Profile

  3. We also like to buy stuff off of Amazon, but right now we just don’t buy enough to justify the Amazon Prime charge. However, I love the idea of discounted gift cards! I”m gonna have to try that STAT!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Political Correctness in the WorkplaceMy Profile

    • I don’t have Amazon Prime either but my brother does and he lives locally so I can mooch off of his account. ;) I will add though that for some people, the Amazon Prime account is worth it just for the access to the TV shows alone. It’s become better than Hulu and almost a competitor for Netflix. Amazon got exclusive rights to air Under the Dome and it’s free if you have Amazon Prime.

    • I love me some Amazon Prime, but you have to justify it. I can because I use Prime to watch movies, but I also make a lot of purchases via Amazon.

  4. I always try and look for coupon codes. A lot of the time when we are buying something online, it is a big purchase (such as a car part) and there are almost always coupons for 10% off.
    Michelle recently posted..$10,192 in June Extra Income – Side Hustles!My Profile

  5. Like Holly, we’ve not taken the plunge into going with Amazon Prime yet. I can’t justify the cost on it right now. I always wish we had it come Christmas time, but other than that are pretty limited on the spending there. I will have to check out the discounted gift cards though, that’s a hard deal to beat.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..What Financial Independence Means to MeMy Profile

  6. I usually buy gift cards at my supermarket because they offer 4x fuel points. So a single $25 gift card will save me about a dollar and a half at the pump.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..My Day in Small Claims CourtMy Profile

  7. I used to get the groupon daily emails, but I honestly found it more annoying to have to look through and delete them each day than I found it useful. I do check those sites out around the holidays though, as they can definitely offer some great deals.
    Matt Becker recently posted..Is Now the Right Time to Buy a House?My Profile

  8. I looked at Groupon but never got into it. The gift card site sounds like a great deal. I’m gonna bookmark that one. Thanks Grayson!
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted..Luke1428 Celebrates 1-Yr. Blog-iversary! A Special Thank YouMy Profile

  9. I second that comment about the penny auctions. I’ve read so many scams in that arena that it’s hard to know which sites to trust. Do your homework!
    AverageJoe recently posted..Hoping for Business Success? Try Good Customer ServiceMy Profile

  10. I have tried penny auctions but always for high demand items, like computers, and never won :(. There has to be a few great deals, just never managed to find them!
    Pauline recently posted..Who Is Your Mentor? The Power of Great CoachesMy Profile

  11. I forgot to cancel our Amazon Prime trial so we ended up paying for the year. I haven’t really done the math to see if it’s really benefited us. We don’t use the instant video that much but we do make a lot of Amazon purchases.

    I was recently introduced to this website, http://www.swap.com. I’ve never used it but it sounds like another interesting way to save money on items.
    debtperception recently posted..Wishful ThinkingMy Profile

    • Thanks for the link, I will have to check that out. Sorry about your Amazon trial, but if you make a good amount of purchases, then you can cover the cost soon enough.

  12. We are amazon prime members, and we get our moneys worth. I didn’t know about the gift card site. Thanks!
    Jules@Faithful With a Few recently posted..The Importance Of Integrity In The WorkplaceMy Profile

  13. Whenever I shop online I search Google for coupons. Usually I’ll just find a free shipping coupon. I’ve never looked into Groupon or Living Social, but I wouldn’t mind signing up for the daily deals!
    Joshua Rodriguez recently posted..How Can Private Equity Groups Help Your Business?My Profile

  14. ” I did the math.” LOL! Of course, you did! I’m a prime member too and I love it. (and yes, I did the math too!) I admit that I’m not a big coupon cutter but I always look for coupon codes when I shop online. I think it’s the ease of doing a quick search. I do buy a fair amount of gift cards and need to start buying them at a discount. I got in the habit of just picking them up at the store but what a great way to save a few extra dollars. Happy 4th of July!
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted..Enter the Summer Lovin’ GiveawayMy Profile

    • Well, I just wanted to make sure that people knew that I did the math, so they wouldn’t have to say it in a comment. I am not a big coupon cutter either, but online coupons are so easy.

  15. I love amazon. Earlier I use to shop on Ebay but I find Amazon better and secure. I am big coupon fan and always make sure to search around on net to find good deals and discounts when I want to shop online. Amazon prime provides good benefits but for now I don’t have it but plan to have
    Rita P @Digital Spikes Frugal tips recently posted..Live a frugal life and be stress freeMy Profile

    • I like Amazon better than eBay, but it depends on what I am looking for. I have scored some deals on eBay before, but Amazon has a better feel to it.

  16. Amazon prime is awesome. Tons of people use it to watch shows etc. now. I didn’t even know that was possible!
    Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) recently posted..My Affordable Engagement RingMy Profile

  17. Wise advice. I’m still trying to make it part of my process, but taking the two minutes to check for coupon codes can easily save you hundreds of dollars a year!
    Alex recently posted..5 Lessons I’ve Learned Searching for HappinessMy Profile

    • It can really add up. I went online shopping last night for contacts and with the coupon code, using Upromise, and my credit card ,I saved over 15%.

  18. I knew vaguely about discounted gift cards but I had no idea where to look for them – thanks for the tips!
    Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility recently posted..Cell Phone Plans & Weekly Review: July 1 – 7My Profile

  19. I hate shipping costs as well, often they can be as much or more then the item you are purchasing, especially if its bulky. I usually try and buy used things rather then retail, so amazon, craigslist and ebay are my first stops for purchasing online as you can usually buy stuff used at a great discount.
    thepotatohead recently posted..Powerball Vs Scratch-Offs : Always Play the Best OddsMy Profile

  20. yeah grayson, you are right. there are so many shopping sites, which offers very cheap price and we can buy any product online at low price than retail price
    Zeeshan Naveed recently posted..Best online shopping sitesMy Profile

  21. Discount coupons is nice way to attract people towards online shopping. I prefer online shopping rather than walking into stores. And yes, you can choose the best deal among all available options. Great!!!

  22. When you just cant resist buying a product and there are no disocunts on it, you can also search online and see if there are any coupon codes available for it.
    Pappu recently posted..Jabong 25% & 30% OFF For Limited PeriodMy Profile

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