Monday, October 13, 2014

Do You Know All the Ways You Can Save? Do I??

Are you like me and HATE to pay full price for anything?!  One of the things I get most passionate about is saving money...and even more so is helping other people save money!!  I L-O-V-E to shop!  And so for me finding ways to save money so I can afford to shop is a MUST!  I find myself getting so excited when I share a new app or website with new people who haven't been bit by the saving bug like I have!  I want to offer some Apps, Websites and ways that I am able to save money while shopping.  (This is NOT a sponsored post - just me sharing my opinions and experiences!)  Also, I don't shop at Sams or Costco - so I don't have any reviews about them here...

Online Resources:
Ebates: Ebates advertises on TV and they are a legit way to save money!  I started using Ebates years ago when I first really began online shopping.  The way you earn cash back is to first create a profile and every time you purchase something you start with their site.  So for example you're buying something at the Gap.  If you go to, then you search for Gap, you will see that Gap offers 2% cash back on the purchase.  You click the "shop now" link and it takes you to the Gap site.  Often I forget to start with Ebates but you can leave the Gap site, go to Ebates and come back through that link and your basket will still have all of the items you added to it (and still get the credit!).   You get checks made payable to you quarterly.  A nice little incentive for online shopping :) Also, when you sign up you can earn a $10 gift card to any store that you choose when you make your first $25 purchase through Ebates.  Not a bad offer!!  I included my links above as another perk is you get $$ for referring friends.

Pocket Your Dollars:  This is one of my very favorite "go to" sites when I'm shopping.  I live outside of Minneapolis/St Paul so a lot of her stuff is local - but you can still find deals for Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS and other larger retailers.  She gives you ideas based upon the weekly flyer on how to save.  She also has a "Grocery Coupon Database"  that allows you to search for coupons.  This is very handy when I'm planning my weekly grocery shopping trips!  There are other sites like this one: Southern Savers, Money Saving Mom, etc - but since PYD is local I prefer to use this site.

UPromise: I've used UPromise in the past but I don't quite use it very often.  What I like about UPromise is it lets you choose how you would like to earn your cash back.  You can put it in college savings accounts or request checks once your balance has reached a certain amount.  You can earn cash back by shopping through their site (similar to Ebates) or you can link a credit card and when you visit certain vendors you can earn.  There are several restaurants throughout the Twin Cities that offer cash back through UPromise when you use your card there.

While I may not have all of the stores people shop at... I have a decent compilation of some ideas of where to shop and how to save :)

Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic -- Gap is one of my favorite stores for the basics.  NEVER pay full price at these stores.  They are always running some kind of sale!  Sometimes it does require a little patience - but I promise at some point what you want will come at some kind of a discount.  Also, if you wear their bras and shop in store - make sure you get the punch card as the 6th one is free!   I also have a Gap card (works at any of the 3 brands) and find that they truly reward their cardholders.  At times the % of the discount is higher (35% off for card members vs 30% for non-card members).  You earn points and once you're silver status ($800 spent in a year) you get free shipping all of the time.  I don't promote credit cards unless you can pay them off right away - but this one is a good one to have esp if you have little ones too!  (And don't forget to click through the Ebates link when you do - you'll be saving $$$)   Tuesdays - Gap offers 10% off on Tuesdays to Gap Card holders!  I believe Old Navy and Banana might also offer this as well?  (Thanks Angie for that reminder!!)

Gap FACTORY/Banana FACTORY - Both stores have a factory outlet store that is at most outlet malls. I'd recommend signing up for their emails if you plan an outing as you can receive discounts via email for your shopping trip!  If you're a card member sometimes they up the ante and give you a bigger discount as well!  The 10% off on Tuesday may apply at Gap/Banana factory too if you are a Gap/Banana Card holder. 

J-Crew and J-Crew Factory - I'd recommend signing up for email notifications to receive ongoing discounts.  I don't shop at the reg J-Crew as much as I do the Factory location.  I would recommend shopping in the brick and mortar stores vs online with these two.  They don't offer free shipping all that often and it seems like you get a better deal in-store.  Also, if you are a teacher or a student they do offer a 15% discount at both.  Recently I had a 30% off coupon for the factory store and they combined it with my student ID and gave me BOTH discounts.  (It's a good idea to not throw those student IDs away!)

Loft - Another store where you should never pay full price for anything.  Because the day that you do, you will get a 50% off the entire store email and your heart will break.  Lesson learned from this girl!  Their online sales are much better than their store sales.  Also - they charge $8.95 for shipping.  I have ordered more than I needed to get the $125 minimum for free shipping.  Sometimes I end up keeping the stuff, but not always.   Also, another store that offers Teachers a 15% discount.

Target - Oh my blessed Target!  I don't shop online a ton... But I have discovered the Target Subscriptions!!   They are simply fantastic.  We have George's formula shipped in bulk of 6 containers at once. We get a 5% discount and the free shipping plus 5% off with the Target Red Card. While I can't use coupons and cartwheel, it does seem to work out to about the same. (It also helped when I signed up they offered 20% off!).    

Target Continued... Target has online coupons on their website that you can print... They have the Target mobile App that stores coupons and Cartwheel.  Cartwheel is another Target App where you can receive % off certain products.  Sometimes shopping Target takes a bit of effort, but this is where I use the online resources like Pocket Your Dollars because she explains exactly how to get the best deals possible.  This way you know how to get the mobile coupons and what short codes to text (i.e.:  Text FROZEN to 827438 and get $5 off $25 Frozen purchase).  I also like Cartwheel because you can scan barcodes when you're at the store to see if there is a discount on it! Keep in mind Target and many stores will allow you to "stack" coupons.  This means if you have a Target coupon and Manufacturer coupon you can use both on the same item.  Target and Walmart also price match, but I don't get too far into this.  You can always read their price matching policies on their websites.  Additionally, Target offers 5% off for their red card holders. For those of you who aren't familiar, they have a debit card that links to your checking account. It comes out within 1-2 days of your purchase (it's not immediate).  You still get the 5% off and you don't deal with a monthly bill (or interest if you can't pay it off!).

Short story re: Cartwheel:  I was eyeing up some white square plates at Target and while I was in the aisle a lady chatted me up about the plates. I commented that Cartwheel had them for 25% off so I was debating if it was time to take the plunge.  She said "I think I have that on my phone but have never used it!"  So here I was in the middle of Target teaching this gal how to use cartwheel. I showed her how to scan and when she realized she was going to get 25% off the entire set of plates she was ecstatic!  And this is EXACTLY why I'm writing this post.

Walmart - I just learned of the Walmart App recently and I might be addicted. We are talking dig in the garbage looking for receipts addicted!  Gross, I know!  Walmart has this part of their App called "Savings Catcher" - you might have heard of it.  Well check this out, you download the App, sign up for an account and scan your receipt.  That's it!  Walmart will check the prices in your area of other stores to see if there is a lower price.  If there is, you get the difference!  It goes into a virtual bank in your account for you to use at Walmart later.  Pretty great deal, right?

Lowes:  Making a major purchase?  Keep in mind Lowes has a movers discount of 10% off when you sign up.  You have to sign up a few days ahead of time and they will email you the coupon.  If you have done this before make sure you use a different email address as they will only send 1 coupon per email account.


Shopkick!  Okay, so I'm a total shop kicker and this one requires a little effort.  I know some people LOVE this App and some aren't so sold.  It takes effort but again is worth it.  Okay, so you download the App and then every time you walk into certain stores you are given "kicks."  When you reach a certain amount of kicks you can earn E-Gift Cards.  Other ways to get "kicks" - Scan Featured Products or Link a Credit Card and when you buy things at the specified stores you earn points per dollars.  I shop A LOT at Carters and you get 1 kick for each dollar... BUT if you spend $50 you get a bonus of 400 kicks.  You can get gift cards for as little as 500 kicks ($2 gift card to Target and other places).  I usually wait until I have 2500 kicks as that's a $10 E-Gfit Card.  I also mentioned "Scanning" items... You can get 10 kicks up to 100 kicks for scanning products.  Have I wandered around malls walking into stores just getting "kicks?"  Yep!  Have I and a few other certain friends walked around Target scanning things for "kicks?"  Done that too :)    Hey free money is free money!!!

I know there are other Apps out there - like IBotta.  I haven't embraced that one yet. I tried and it's very selective on what products you buy to get cash back... Feel free to let me know what you think of this one...

One last tip...

Soda is almost always cheaper in the summer.  Typically the best deals you will find are Four 12 Packs for $9-10 each.  I don't like paying more than $2.50 for 12 pack in the summer... And you will see these deals come out around Super Bowl as well.  Also, Target and Walmart seem to have a 3 week rotation on the soda deals.  So if you need Pepsi products and they aren't on sale at Target, check the Wal-Mart or local grocery store Ad.  I would recommend not paying more than $3.50 during the winter.  Just food for thought :)

Feel free to share with friends and if you have any great tips or tricks to shopping I would LOVE to hear them!!

Update: More to come!   I plan to write about Carter's/Oshkosh, Nordstroms, Pottery Barn and more!

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