Top 11 Ways to Save Money on Stuff You Already Buy
I’m pretty frugal by nature (thanks, mom!), always on the prowl for coupons and clearance racks. As I’m learning to budget, this has definitely come in handy. It’s ingrained in me to not pay full price, like ever. I’m almost two years out of college, and still learning to master the whole budgeting thing. I’m a sucker for a sale and often interpret a discount as an excuse to buy more.
I’m on a mission to lower my debt while still enjoying a social life. Not splurging on everything I want is how I’m beginning to manage this.
Keep on reading for the ways that I save money on things I’m already going to be purchasing!
Disclaimer: The links below are my personal referral links – if you sign up through them, we might both earn a small credit! Feel free to ask your friends for theirs!
Ibotta is a rebate-style app and is extremely simple to use once you make it a habit to not throw your receipts away. Basically, you shop in-store or online, through the app. Then, you’ll look on Ibotta to see if anything you bought is eligible for a rebate. If so, snap and send an image of your receipt to redeem. The app recognizes if you bought an eligible item and credits your account afterward. You can then withdraw using Paypal, Venmo or select gift cards.
Cartwheel now lives inside of Target’s app – log into it using your Target account. It’s like clipping virtual coupons. Add the coupons you’re interested in and scan your phone to receive the discount at checkout – super easy! To date, the app has saved me $16.17 so far and I’ve only been using it for a few months.
- Reward Programs
I’m a little obsessed with reward programs. It’s fun to earn rewards towards future purchases. In my opinion, any company that wants to increase loyalty and retain customers will have some sort of reward program. My current favorite programs are Regal Crown Club, Starbucks Rewards, and Victoria’s Secret Angel Rewards. Also be sure to check if your favorite restaurants have reward programs or apps – sometimes you get free food just for joining! Examples: Chickfila One app and McDonalds’ app.
- Shop Off-Price Retailers
Ahem – if you aren’t shopping at Marshalls and TJMaxx, you’re doing it wrong. Their name-brand selection is always changing based off what they get in from suppliers. It’s definitely a treat to buy something at a cheaper price than you would at a brand-name retailer. My favorite things to shop for at off-price retailers are home décor, workout clothing, and dresses. I recently got a fuzzy North Face fleece for about 30% less than you would find it elsewhere.
- Shop Secondhand
Whether it’s in-store or online, people are always selling their unwanted clothes. Just because the items are secondhand (previously owned), doesn’t mean they’re in bad condition. Sometimes they’re new with tags! My favorite secondhand brick and mortar stores are Clothes Mentor and Uptown Cheapskate. As for secondhand shopping apps/websites, I recommend Poshmark (referral code alyssac8233 for a $5 credit!). These places hand-pick items to make sure they’re in good condition and then sell them at a fraction of the original price.
Love using promo codes to save money but don’t have any or don’t feel likes searching for them? No worries – Honey does it for you! Install it as an extension for your web browser and it lights up when you could be saving money. Honey scans for and applies the best promo code it can find. I have used Honey plenty of times to get 10 or 20% off or to score free shipping.
eBates is a must-have for online shopping. Once you create an account, all you do is shop through their website to get a percentage back on applicable retailers. You can also install the web browser extension and it will alert you when you’re shopping on a site that offers a rebate. They send you a “Big Fat Check” of your savings every quarter or you can opt for PayPal payments.
- Credit Cards with Cash Back
If you’re swiping your card and not receiving a percentage of cash back, you should be! My favorite thing is my Amazon credit card. If you’re addicted to Amazon Prime like me, getting 5% back on Amazon purchases pays off. You also get 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back everywhere else. You can then apply these extra funds as statement credit, shop on Amazon with the points or cash it out to another account. Look into what card best suits your needs and start earning!
- Cash Back through Your Bank
On my debit card’s app, there’s a section to add offers to the card to receive a percentage back into my account when shopping at select places. It is definitely worth checking out to get a little back on things you’re going to purchase anyway.
- Coupons/Promo Codes
Every time I’m online shopping, I Google “(store name) + promo code” to see if any good offers come up. It only takes a few minutes and can save you at least the cost of shipping usually. If you’re feeling lazy, refer to #6. If I remember, I also try and Google printable coupons before shopping in-store. Tip: Sign up for your favorite stores’ and restaurants’ email lists and search your email for coupons while you’re shopping/eating!
If you’re signing up for something new or making your first order somewhere, check and see if there’s a referral program. A referral link is a special link created for you so that when people buy through it, your account will get credited – and it usually helps them save money too! You can ask friends, family and coworkers that may have a referral link/code so you can save on your first purchase! Then, you can begin to refer others as well. I like earning referral credits through AirBnB, Uber, and food delivery services like DoorDash.