The San Francisco Bay Area is a ridiculously expensive place to live.
So how does my kid have all those Disney costumes and way more skinny jeans than I’ve probably ever owned in my adult life? And how do you think I managed to afford taking 12 trips last year? Sure, some of them were only for 2 nights, but they still add up pretty quickly if you’re paying full price for everything. I don’t ever pay full price. STOP PAYING FULL PRICE. Seriously, though. (Yeah, see how I busted out the caps and italics there. It’s that important.)
I just have one simple request in exchange for these AWESOME savings that I’m certain you’ll thank me for later if you are an avid online shopper; please use the links below so I can get a referral bonus. You also get $5-$15 when you sign up using my referral link(s)!
There are 5 things I NEVER fail to do when I’m spending money online, whether it’s on diapers, clothes, laundry detergent, or hotel reservations:
STEP 1: USE A PRICE COMPARISON TOOL
Google Shopping (90% of the time) – This is my favorite tool, though it generally does not include Amazon.com so I tend to check Amazon.com manually on a separate tab.
Shopping.com (Under 10% of the time)
Price Grabber (Rarely)
… and exclusively for travel,
Kayak (60% of the time) – I only use this for price comparisons, but I never book through kayak because pro tip: hotels.com does price matches. AND you save more money when you book there through a combination of their Welcome Rewards program, MrRebates, and reseller gift cards.
Trivago (40% of the time)
Google Flights (90% of the time) – This is always great because their tool allows you to scan all available flights with flexible dates while selecting multiple departure and arrival airports. I’m a Delta Medallion member so I typically want to fly Delta on longer routes, but occasionally this tool helps me out when I’m flying shorter domestic routes or finding tickets for family members and friends.
STEP 2: SIGN UP FOR FREE CASHBACK AND GET $5 NOW
MrRebates (90% of the time) – Since 2011, I’ve collected $3,878.41 in cashback through MrRebates.com. Sometimes I choose to shop at sites that provide cashback through MrRebates instead of popular big box stores on Amazon simply because of the extra savings through cashback and to avoid added sales tax.
BeFrugal (Under 10% of the time) – Since 2015, I’ve collected $35.44 in cashback through BeFrugal.com. It’s rare that a site that’s also on MrRebates will offer less of a % cashback than BeFrugal, but it has happened.
No, it’s not a hoax. No, this is not a credit card offer. No, you don’t have to spend any money or even provide credit card information to sign up. You receive your payments by simply providing your Paypal e-mail address.
If any of you have ever built a website or worked on a blog, you’re probably familiar with ads that provide incentives for successful purchases made through successful clickthroughs. These days, sites like these are making a % of that revenue available to their users.
STEP 3: LOOK FOR A COUPON
MrRebates (+/- 50% of the time) – Yep, they not only offer cashback but also list the available/active coupons for the site you’re shopping from.
RetailMeNot (+/- 50% of the time) – Occasionally, there will be coupons here that aren’t listed anywhere else.
STEP 4: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF UNWANTED GIFT CARDS
GiftCardGranny (+/- 90% of the time) – This is absolutely my favorite tool for buying gift cards, because it also searches through Raise.com’s inventory. I buy gift cards for a variety of things that I buy online and in person, including Starbucks (18% off as of this moment, but note that this is ever changing based on supply/demand), Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, and other popular chain restaurants and fast food places.
Raise (+/- 10% of the time) – Since GiftCardGranny also searches Raise’s inventory, the one real plus side to signing up at Raise is that you can also set alerts when certain gift cards are discounted at more than any specific %.
STEP 5: SIGN UP FOR REWARDS
There are so many rewards programs for travel, fast food, chain restaurants, and even things like Starbucks and Jamba Juice that it likely deserves it’s own post. The ones I find I’ve profited the most from are listed below:
Hotels.com – Their Welcome Rewards program is simple. For every 10 nights you book without a coupon, you get 1 free night at a rate based on the average price you paid for the 10 nights. I keep saving my rewards for a big Europe trip I’d like to take when Zee is old enough to appreciate it, so as of now I have collected 22 free nights since 2008. Their customer service is also unparalleled. I’ve had many positive experiences with them but one in particular sticks out. Once, they moved me from the Hampton Inn Times Square ($158/night) to a suite at the W hotel ($470/night) because the Hampton Inn had run out of the room type I had paid extra for.
Delta – They’re not quite as profitable anymore since two years ago, they changed the way you earn miles and made it based on dollars spent as opposed to miles flown. A trip to Indonesia that would’ve earned me 18,000 miles now earns me only 7,500 or so miles. If you consider the fact that a domestic round trip flight costs only 25,000 miles, it’s still a good deal. Reaching Medallion Status (collecting a minimum of over 25,000 medallion-qualifying miles per year) also gives you a few extra perks.
STEP 6: GO SHOPPING, PLAN A TRIP, ENJOY!
Thanks for stopping by! Like I said, you’ll thank me later. (Or you could also buy me a coffee today in the form of a gift card…….)
Please kindly sign up using any of the above referral links.
This is a parenting and lifestyle blog that discusses a wide variety of topics from my personal perspective. This blog is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. My posts contain my opinions and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations that I may have been or may become affiliated with. Any information I provide on my blog is true to the best of my knowledge but please recognize that there may be omissions, errors, or mistakes and that you assume all risk and responsibility from any decisions made based on what you read here. I also reserve the right to change how I manage or run this blog and may change the focus or content on this blog at any time.