I know I spend a lot of time on this blog justifying my spending and encouraging you to spend money too. But obviously, being able to spend (or save, if you are more frugal than I) is heavily reliant on actually having money. So, especially with my being off work on mat leave at the moment, I've had to get creative with our finances and find some great ways to save. . . at least save enough so that we can continue to live in the style to which we have become accustomed (that's code for "I still need my boxes" and "I can't just quit online shopping cold-turkey"). I thought maybe some of you might have use for some tips and tricks from an admitted online shopping junkie.
And so. . . introducing. . . Frugal Fridays! For the next few months (I think that's how many post ideas I have so far), I'll be posting every Friday (because alliteration!) about a money-saving idea, tip or trick. Sound good? Alright, let's begin. (Well, I plan to post every Friday but sometimes planning and doing aren't the same thing when you have a baby and a toddler. . . so, you know!)
The first great tip I have to share with you is one I just recently discovered myself: Ebates!
Ebates started in the States (in 1998) but expanded into Canada a few years ago (in 2012) and it basically pays you to shop. Wait! It's not a scam! I promise. It works on an affiliate model - you go through the Ebates site to get to an online shop and that store pays Ebates a commission on your purchases which they then share with you. Ebates is the middle man. Make sense?
Ebates tracks the shopping trips you make through their site and issues "big fat cheques" quarterly. We got our first cheque a few weeks ago (I can't believe I didn't start this sooner!), $7 and change. I know that doesn't seem like much (our next one is currently over $40 and counting) but that's a $7 cheque for doing nothing. That's money for making purchases I would have made anyway (and $5 just for signing up!). Sounds good to me.
We've used Ebates to make purchases through Joe Fresh, Walmart (usually 2% each), Amazon, Well.ca, Ebay and Etsy (usually 1% each). We needed to replace our microwave and ordering it online through Sears netted us 2% cash back versus buying it in-store. We needed some light fixtures - Home Depot and Lowe's both offer cash back through Ebates. . . Lowe's even lets you order online and pick up in store to avoid shipping costs! I picked up a Keurig as a gift for my husband, got a load of free coffee through a deal and earned 5% cash back! The list of stores is long and many offer much higher percentages as well as free shipping!
Notice how I keep saying "usually" about those cash back percentages? Well, that's because every day there's a new "daily double" offering twice the cash back. There are also pretty regular events (like "Back to School"), promotions and coupons to allow you to maximize your money.
If you're going to shop online, I think Ebates is the smart way to do it! And if you don't shop online, maybe you should try it - you can get exactly what you want, delivered to your door, easily comparison shopping without driving all over town. If you live in a small community, you can also access stores and products you wouldn't otherwise be able to. Big purchases, small purchases, splurges and staples - you can truly get just about anything online.
As long as the money being spent is on things you need and would buy anyway (like kids clothes, Christmas gifts, and other necessities. . . I totally do all my Christmas shopping online btw! skip the busy mall!), Ebates is a great way to save. True, a few pennies or dollars here and there doesn't seem like a lot. But it adds up.
If you would like to sign up for Ebates, all my links are referral links and I would love it if you would use them. You will get a $5 credit just for signing up! Ebates only issues cheques for $5.01 or over, though, so you will need to actually use it for at least one purchase in order to get that $5. . . but I'm sure you will ;)
Until next week, happy shopping!