Monday, 19 August 2013

How to Fund Your Online Shopping Addiction

The sight of packages like this is
embarrassingly common for me...
This post is all about how to save some money and fund your online (or in-store, for that matter) shopping addiction. I kid, I kid. Sort of. But seriously, if you actually have a shopping addiction, you need to address that. But if you just enjoy shopping (ahh...the shallow things in life) as I do, and you want to save a few greenbacks ($$$) or squids (£££) keep on reading. 

Over the years, I've stumbled across various ways to save a bit of money on my discretionary purchases. I've used every single thing on the list below with great results--all of them are legitimate and I've definitely saved quite a bit of cash!

Viggle: Viggle is an app for your smartphone that you can download for free. Once you've downloaded, you 'check in' to shows that you are watching on TV. You generally earn 1 point for ever minute you watch a program. There are a few exceptions that allow you to earn more points, however. One of these are commercials or ads within the app: they will pop up occasionally once you've checked into a show, giving you the chance to watch them for extra points (sometimes 10 points, sometimes 50, 75, 100, or even 200). The other huge exception is that everyday Viggle will feature certain shows in a section called 'What's On.' For these shows, if you check in and watch them for 10 minutes, you will earn a point for every minute watched plus a bonus amount of points (usually 50 or 100 points). The key here is that these shows are normally prime time shows (between 8 and 11pm). But there are lots of them and you only have to stay checked in to one for 10 minutes to get the bonus points. Which means that you can check in to one show at 8pm, check in to another at 8:11pm, etc. and get bonus points for each. Once you've earned enough points, you can redeem them for things like Sephora giftcards(!!!!). These are sent to your email in the form of a giftcard number and pin, so you can use them instantly and don't have to wait for something to be sent to you via snail mail. 

Swagbucks: Swagbucks is a bit hard to describe, just because you can earn 'bucks' in a ton of different ways (including taking surveys, watching videos, entering codes, playing games). Once you've earned a certain amount of swagbucks, you can buy giftcards to a wide range of stores (Sephora, Amazon, Target, etc) or have the money deposited to your PayPal account (which is usually what I do). One way to earn extra Swagbucks is by meeting the daily goal each day. The daily goal ranges from around 60 to 120 on most days. If you meet the daily goal (say, 80) you not only get the 80 swagbucks (or more) you earned, but a 10% bonus (so here, 8 more swagbucks). If you meet the daily goal for a week in a row, you get more bonus points, and for a month, even more! I suppose some might find swagbucks tedious, but I spend a lot of time on my computer anyways, so I just complete the tasks and earn points while I'm multitasking around anyways. Swagbucks is probably my favorite of these programs, because there really is no limit (other than time) as to the number of Swagbucks you can earn in a given day. 
Just a few Sephora bags...Nothing to see here, folks. 

Ebates/MrRebates: I am always shocked when people don't use Ebates or MrRebates, because it requires you to do almost literally nothing. Both operate under the same principle: they give you a certain percentage back on any online order you place. In order to get the rebate, all you need to do is create an account with each (both are free to register) and then instead of going to Nordstrom.com, for example, go to Ebates.com or MrRebates.com, search for Nordstrom and click through their link. The pages will tell you what percentage the refund will be, so I just choose whichever has a higher percentage on a given day. Once you have placed your order, the refunded amount will be 'pending' for a while (usually for around 90 days, which is essentially the time period during which you could return the product to the store) and then it will 'clear' and be in your account. Ebates will send out a check to you 4 times a year, and with MrRebates you can request a check at any time. I believe you can also have them deposit the money directly into your PayPal account, but I've stuck to the old-fashioned way with these. 

RetailMeNot: There are lots of coupon sites out there, but RetailMeNot is by far the best and most comprehensive one that I have found. Before I place any online order, I hop over to this site to see if there are any coupon codes going at the moment on the site I'm buying from. I would say that around 75% of the time there are! Super easy. The hardest part is training yourself to remember to check before placing your order. 

Social Media: This may sound silly, but lots and lots of brands post special sales and discount codes through their Facebook and Twitter pages. Many brands even give you an introductory 10% off if you sign up for their email lists. If you aren't comfortable with giving out your *real* email address or using your real Facebook or Twitter account, create an account solely for this purpose. I have a hotmail account that I only use for such purposes (I mean, who really uses hotmail anymore?!)

Google: I mean, it sounds stupid, but seriously: do it. I google for coupon codes and I google for price comparisons. I always check to see if I am getting the best deal on a product, and it only takes seconds.

None of these options pays for all of my frequent shopping, but they certainly help assuage some of the guilt! What tips and tricks do you have to get the best deals?
*The links posted for Viggle, Swagbucks, Ebates, and MrRebates are referral links. But please feel free to go to the websites directly, if you would rather!

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