Being the awesome frugal folks that we are, we’re always looking for a sale, deal, coupon, or discount, right?
But what can you do when it’s not enough of a discount, and you still need to make the purchase? Or it’s a financially stressful time of the year (looking at you, November and December). Or, there’s the unplanned for, unexpected costs that pop up and need dealt with sooner rather than later?
Sometimes shopping with the sales and coupons just isn’t enough. And there are plenty of things that are difficult or impossible to get at a discount. I know I have a very hard time coughing up money for anything that’s not on sale or I can’t find a coupon for.
So what’s a savvy shopper to do?
My Money Saving Secret Weapons
I have several pretty sweet secret weapons that I like to use to earn additional savings on everything from gas in my car to Christmas shopping.
By planning ahead – by even just a couple of hours – I can get a gift card through Raise.com that’s discounted by up to 30%!
By shopping sales/discounts, using coupons, and buying discounted gift cards from Raise.com, I’m able to create a triple stack of savings on just about every purchase. And haven’t even mentioned how Ebates or Ibotta fits in yet – which grows the savings even more!
How Gift Cards from Raise.com Work
Raise.com is an awesome website where users can sell their old gift cards at the price that they set. They can be discounted up to 30% by the seller. On top of that, Raise.com runs specials that discount some cards even further. Amazing, right?
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking – used gift cards, yikes! But before you jump ship, hear me out. The great part is that Raise.com has a 1 year guarantee for any card purchased. If it doesn’t show up (physical card), has less available than expected, or any other problem, you just contact them within a year of purchase and they’ll replace it. Easy peasy!
More importantly, there are no fees, sales tax, processing or shipping fees ever. So the price you see is the price you pay, period. To get started, you can search by brand, category or value. Then, you can sort by the discount amount on the results to make sure you’re getting the highest discount.
Brand availability is based upon what gift cards are currently being sold. If you don’t see the brand you want, you can set up brand alerts so you’re emailed when they’re in stock. Physical cards are shipped, and e-gift cards are available electronically.
And to help sweeten the deal? Raise.com is offering $5 off of their discounted gift cards with a purchase of $50 or more for first time users. Just use promo code RAISE25AF at checkout to take advantage of these savings!
How EBates Works
Ebates is my go-to for savings. It’s so easy, it’s ridiculous! There are a couple of ways that the program works:
- Shop online: I highly recommend you install their browser plugin called the Ebates Cash Back Button. It’s a great reminder that any time you hit a site that they give cash back on, it’ll alert you. Even better, you can find coupons through the button as well, and it’ll try to apply all of them for you! When the cash back button flashes, just make sure to click the red “Activitate Cash Back” button before making your purchase. And you’re done!
- Shop in-store: Ebates also offers in-store rebates as well now. You just log into the website and view the in-store offers. If you find any you like, make sure to link those offers to your card prior to going shopping. That’s it!
Ebates pays out every 3 months either through PayPal or a gift card to certain stores. If you chose the gift card payout, they’ll even give you an additional higher percentage back!
How IBotta Works
Ibotta is an app that you submit your receipts to after spending. Primarily, it’s great for grocery shopping. However, they’re recently begun to branch out in mobile and in-store shopping as well.
Like Ebates, you just click through the app to make sure your online purchase registers with them. For in-store purchases, you just need to add those offers to your account prior to shopping. The savings varies anywhere from $5 back to 10% back, depending upon the store.
How to Tie It All Together to Get the Biggest Discount Possible
Now that we’ve got the basics down, here’s how to tie them all together to create a triple stack (or more!) of savings:
- Start by researching several couponing sites for coupons, discounts and sales. While this is optional if you’re pressed for time, I recommend trying to do this for bigger ticket items at the very least so maximize savings. The main sites I use are:
- Select which store to shop at with the best sale and coupon combination.
- Activitate the Ebates Cash Back Button (browser plugin) and purchase a gift card from Raise.com for that store. Don’t forget to use promo code RAISE25AF to save $5 off a $50 purchase!
- Chose to receive the e-gift card via email to save time.
- If shopping online:
Activitate the Ebates Cash Back Button (browser plugin) to get an additional discount on your store purchase.
- If shopping in-store:
- Check Ebates or Ibotta for a discount for in-store shopping. (Always check each app or website to make sure the store/discount has been added to your account prior to purchase!)
- Print the e-gift card from Raise or pull it up on your phone when checking out.
- After shopping, submit the receipt to rebate apps such as Ibotta, or Walmart Savings Catcher, if needed.
- Sit back and enjoy your triple (or more!) savings!
Is All This Really Worth It?
It can sound overwhelming, but the potential for savings is worth it. Take it step by step and incorporate these websites and apps into your everyday shopping, and you’ll have quite a nice chunk saved up before you know it. That could go towards debt repayment or next year’s Christmas or vacation fund.
Shopping with gift cards can also help you limit your spending, similar to cash envelopes. If you limit yourself to just spending what’s on the gift card, and stop at that point, you’ll be able to stay in budget.
With a bit of planning, prep, and time, you can easily triple your savings on any purchase. It’s the small actions like using Raise.comeBates, Ibotta, and hitting sales that add up to help you grow your savings!
Do you use any of these websites to help stack your savings? Which do you like best? Let me know in the comments below!
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