120 - Ho-Ho-Holidaze

I was wondering what the hell I was going to blog about tonight, and I thought -- I know! It's Christmas-time, and a lot of my co-workers ask me where to find the best deals because I have a holy trifecta that I use when I buy stuff online. So, I figure I'll share my 'secret' (which is not a secret at all) with everyone. Without further ado... here (in order) are the steps I have been taking to save money:

1) EV'Reward - This site is not necessarily the best coupon site (although sometimes they have good ones) -- what it does excel at is breaking down the rebate sites to show which site offers the best rebate for the store where you want to shop. Visit it first.

2) Rebate sites. The four I use are Ebates.com, MrRebates.com, BigCrumbs.com and Bing. All of them are reputable, all of them allow you to sign up for free. You can sign up with as many as you want, but since most have a minimum balance before they'll pay out, it's best to concentrate on a handful. You have to sign in and access the store through their website in order to get the rebate. They receive their referral fees from the vendors -- you pay nothing. The amount of the rebate varies from o% (they may just list coupons, like Amazon) to something much higher (I got 35% back on magazine subscriptions). Here is a breakdown in some of the differences:

-- Ebates - They automatically send their checks out (on a quarterly basis), but you have to have at least $5 in your account. They usually offer you $5 to sign up, ocassionally they'll bump it up to $10.

-- Mr. Rebates - I think they put $7.50 into your account if you sign up now. Once you have $10 in your account you can either request a paper check, or have the money sent to your paypal account.

-- Big Crumbs - Right now they seem to be offering huge rebates. I think I got 8% back from Sephora, and this is where I got 35% back from magazines.com, as well as 10% back on the suitcase I bought. I've been a member for a month, haven't bought that much and I already have $40 in my account. Loving that! There's no minimum for payment, and it's automatic, but they skip a month to allow for returns and such.

-- Bing - Their payout minimum is $5, but they cut checks every month (no signup bonus offered). As an example, they offer a 12% rebate for Barnes & Noble, which is the largest I've seen. But just because they are the best on one store, doesn't mean they're the best for every store; this is where EV'Rewards is valuable. You have to have (or create) a Windows Live ID to use this one, but you can use your current email address.

3) Retail Me Not -- So after you've identified your largest rebate, and you have logged into the rebate site and entered the store through their website, you can start to look for coupons. Retail Me Not has the most extensive list of coupons I've found, and they will save you even more money. They even rank them as to which are the most reliable and let you know if there are conditions (like if you have to use your Kohls card or have a B&N Membership card to redeem the code).

So for illustrative purposes, here's a typical purchase:

  • Item costs $10
  • Coupon for 20% off = item now costs $8
  • 12% rebate on purchase price of item ($8, pre-tax, pre-shipping) = item effectively costs $7.04
  • If you have a rewards credit card you have also earned approximately 7 miles or seventy cents and if you earned seventy cents, the item effectively costs $6.34.
  • Occassionally during the holidays you find sites like drugstore.com that give you an extra $10 for using your Mastercard or Google checkout or Paypal. That kind of thing would be detailed at EV'Reward.com.

Savings = $2.96 - $3.66 with additional potential to save during holiday sales

It looks like a lot of work, but it really only takes an extra minute. I've been doing this for three years now and I've saved $292.17, just buying stuff I was going to buy anyway. So I figure it's good information to have, whether you use it or not. ;)


  1. www.slickdeals.net, www.fatwallet.com, and www.passwird.com are must visit deal saving sites as well.

  2. Holy Moly - thanks for the tips. I didn't realize there was a whole system to these rebate thingies!