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Online shopping is really a beast of its own. With the creation of the internet, it’s basically impossible to not find coupons for anything you’re looking for.
Unfortunately, writing a 50-page blog post about how to find the best deals for every single item might not be of much benefit. However, here are some steps that can give you some basic fundamentals and get you started on the right track and at least save you a great deal next time you go shopping.
1. Get a Cash Back Credit Card
There are currently a wide variety of cash back credit cards available, and their benefits usually depend on what you purchase. Sometimes you can get 5% cash back at restaurants or 3% cash back for groceries. For online shopping, it really depends on what you’re buying.
The card currently with one of the highest cash back options for all purchases is the Capital One Quicksilver card. Every purchase you make with this card will give you 1.5% cash back.
After making a purchase, your cash back goes directly into your Capital One account. This cash back can be used to pay off past purchases or redeemed for cash via check. There’s absolutely no annual fee and there’s even a $100 sign-up bonus after spending $500 within the first three months. Furthermore, there’s 0% APR on the entire, first year.
Here’s a quick glance at the card:
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
- No limits on rewards
- No annual fee
- $100 sign-up bonus after spending $500 within 3 months of opening an account
- 0% APR for the first entire year
- Direct deposit into any Fidelity account when your cash back balance is $50 or more
2. Discover Mall
One of the the best discount online shopping malls that you can find on the web is the Discover Mall. If you don’t know where to go when deciding to make an online purchase, this is usually the best place to look first , where you can get 5% – 20% cash back at 200+ online retailers including the Apple Store and Macy’s.
In order to make purchases through the mall, you need to apply for a Discover Card. We recommend the Discover It Card since it gives you 5% cash back in rotating categories and a $150 sign-up bonus after spending $750 within 3 months of opening a new account. You even get a free credit score on your monthly statement.
Note: I know that it may feel like a lot applying for two different credit cards, but if you’re looking for great deals, you will use the two mentioned in the post a lot. I continually switch between the Capital One Quicksilver Card and the Discover It Card when making purchases and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. There’s also no annual fee on both of these cards meaning you won’t have to pay anything later down the road.
Here’s a quick glance at the Discover It Card:
- No annual fee
- Get $150 sign-up bonus after spending $750 within the first three months of opening an account
- Receive 5% cash back on categories that rotate quarterly: gas, restaurants, improvement stores, theme parks and movies.
- All other purchases receive a 1% cash back bonus
- Each monthly statement provides a free credit score from FICO
- Save anywhere from 5% – 50% on online purchases.
Now that we have the credit cards out of the way, let’s take a look at some examples of how we can get great discounts at the Discover Mall. There are two options that you can choose.
1. Gift Cards or E-Certificates
Simply go to www.discover.com and log-in. Next, click on the cash back bonus tab at the top and hit Partner Gift Cards. There we can see all of the available gift cards that Discover has to offer.
If you look at the picture above, we can see that we can use $20 worth of cash back points to get a $40. That means we’re saving 50% on a gift card that we used our cash back to pay for. Most of the gift cards on here will at least be 10% off meaning you can save that much more when you go out shopping, dining etc.
The little “e” symbol means that you can choose to get your gift certificate in the form of an e-certificate which can be used immediately either online or in-person.
2. Partner Retailers
The second option to save big with the Discover Mall is to make purchases with one of its partner retailers. I can’t say that all of them have the best deal, but there are quite a few great ones. Let’s take a look below.
Here we see that if we first go through the Discover Mall to purchase from the Apple Store online, we can earn 5% cash. This figure doesn’t even include the 1% cash back we already get on all purchases by using the Discover Card, meaning that we’re actually getting 6% cash back at the Apple Store.
In order to get this cash back, you MUST use your Discover It Card when making the final purchase and you MUST first go through the Discover Mall.
Note: Each time you want to make a purchase through the Discover Mall, I highly recommend clearing your cookies before doing so. This way, the affiliate website will know that it’s the Discover Mall website that recommended you instead of some other 3rd party website. In the example above, if Apple thinks another site recommended you, there will be no bonus.
If the Discover Card doesn’t have the best deal, you can usually find a great deal on Extrabux.
Extrabux is a website that receives a certain amount of money each time you make a purchase through their website. They then give you back a portion of the money that they make through cash back.
Right now you can get 8% cash back for shopping at Macy’s. Add this with a cash back credit card and you’re already looking at saving 9% – 10% of your money. There’s even a $5 sign-up bonus.
Here are three simple steps to get started with Extrabux.
1. Go to www.extrabux.com. Click the “Join For Free” button. They will offer you $5 for free after making your first purchase. Type in your email and create a password.
2. Once you have your account setup and are logged-in, go to the search bar and type in the stores you wish to shop at. We’re going to shop at Macy’s to get 8% cash back as an example.
A great feature about Extrabux is that you’ll often find a bundle of coupons that their partner retailers currently offer. That’s included on top of the cash back you’d already receive.
3. Click on the “Start Shopping” button and you’ll be redirected to the appropriate affiliate page. After you make your purchase, cash back will be rewarded to your Extrabux account in approximately 1-7 days.
You can get a check via mail or have cash directly deposited into your PayPal account after having an account balance of $20.00 or more. The cash is sent to you automatically, so make sure to check your cash back method in your settings.
What I usually do right before shopping is check both the Discover Mall and Extrabux to see which has the better deal.
I must advise a word of caution before introducing this website. If you find a deal, DO NOT click an affiliate link on their website if you want the greatest cash back.
Go here to simply find the deal you’re looking for and then go back to Extrabux or the Discover Mall to make a purchase. You won’t get any cash back if you hit the links on Slickdeals. If you accidentally click on one, clear your cookies and start over.
For finding great deals, SlickDealshas a wide variety of offers from multiple retailers. The majority of their items consist of electronics. This website is a browsing website and does not need an account to sign-up for. Let’s say I find a great deal on Apple on here. I can buy a MacBook Air Refurbished for $599. I remember the deal but DO NOT click the link, or I won’t get cash back. (If you accidentally do, make sure to clear your cookies before you go through your cash back website).
Keeping the deal in mind, I head back to the Discover Mall, where I can get 5% cash back and then 1% cash back by using my Discover Card for a total of 6% cash back.
I wait for Discover to redirect me to Apple after click on their Apple Store link. Once I’m at the Apple Store, I remember that I saw a MacBook Air refurbished for $599. I type it in the search box, find the deal and purchase it. I get my 6% cash back with a sweet deal and everyone’s happy.
Make sure to always clear your cookies before a purchase.
5. Always Check for Coupons and Shop Around
Make sure to look around before you make a purchase. You may find that you can get a better deal on another page. Amazon and Ebay are always two great sites to check before making a purchase.
Before deciding, check the Discover Mall and Extrabux pages. There might be a big discount if you go through them. Make sure to always calculate that into your total price.
Let’s say we find an item on Amazon for $10 but it’s $10.20 at Macy’s. The obvious choice would be to go through Amazon since it’s cheaper. However, through the Discover Mall I can currently get 10% back by shopping through Macy’s. The most I can get back from Amazon is 3% found on Extrabux.
By going through the Discover Mall, our total would only amount to $9.10 at 10% off.
By going through Extrabux, our total would net us a total amount of $9.70 with 3% off.
It is only a matter of 60 cents, but we’re trying to make the most savings possible.
When making your final purchase, again, clear your cookies, and then go through a cash back website.
Many stores also have specials during the holidays and spring specials.
Sometimes Macy’s will have a Spring Special in which you can save $5 on any purchase made over $25. It doesn’t hurt to check. Also, make sure to shop around at a few retailers that you trust. Even if something is just a little bit cheaper, we want to make certain that we actually receive our product.
If you have any more ideas on how to save on online shopping, let us know in the comment below. Thanks for reading!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.