As a total bargain hunter, I love finding ways to save on online shopping. Whether it be comparing prices, using my favourite cash back sites, or taking advantage of sales, I try to take advantage of as many tools as possible to get the best price.
While I’ve blogged about some of these tools in the past, I wanted to share a case study of how to use them together. Here’s a step-by-step look at maximizing your savings online.
The Shopping Task: A SodaStream
This example is from a few years ago when one of my health goals was to drink more water. (And it still is!) Being dehydrated can cause and contribute to a host of health issues big and small, and it’s one of the easier proactive ways to better your well being.
I figured that carbonating my water would make it easier and more fun to drink, so I decided to buy a SodaStream. After browsing their website for product information and prices, I settled on the SodaSteam Genesis. I typically read product reviews and check out Consumer Reports where possible to maximize the likelihood of being satisfied with the product.
Next comes the fun part: finding the best deal and discounts by ordering the product online.
When making large purchases, I like to use sites like ShopBot or PriceBat to compare prices online. If you live in the U.S. or want more options, check out this article about the 10 Best Comparison Shopping Engines.
In the case of buying my SodaStream, I instead did a more direct search of some of my go-to sites and compared prices that way. I looked at Amazon.ca, Walmart.ca, and Shop.ca. This helped me narrow it down to Shop.ca.
Scoring Cash Back
Next comes my favourite part – looking for cash back offers!
I searched my three favourite sites (Ebates.com, Ebates.ca, and Giving Assistant) and found that Ebates.ca was offering the highest: a whopping 15% cash back on purchases made at Shop.ca! That’s substantial, and I shopped through Ebates.ca to secure the cash back.
Looking for more information about getting cash back? Check out these posts:
Applying Coupons and Promo Codes
The third stage was to scope out coupon and promo codes for my purchase.
I love using Retail Me Not (U.S. link, Canada link) to see if there are any available coupon codes for sites I’m browsing. I found a coupon for $10 off any purchases of $40 or more at Shop.ca which I happily applied. There was also a discount of $25 off any purchase of $75 or more when you pay with PayPal, but I had redeemed that in the past so I wasn’t eligible.
Bonus tip: look out for coupon codes for new customers and/or signing up for a website’s email list. Even if you’ve ordered from the site before, you can often create a new account to redeem the discount.
Looking at Other Offers
Last, I checked to see whether other offers applied to my purchase.
In the case of Shop.ca, they have a partnership with Aeroplan which is a Canadian flight rewards program. This means that they often offer bonus Aeroplan points on Shop.ca purchases which can later be redeemed for travel.
Bonus tip: always be sure to collect and use loyalty points with the retailer. One of my favourite apps, Cardstar (which I talk about in more detail here!) helps you keep track.
When all was said and done, I had scored a great deal!
SodaStream Retail Price: $99.99 CAD
Sub-total: $89.99 CAD
Plus Tax: $11.70 CAD
Total: $101.69 CAD
Less 15% cash back: $15.25 CAD (note: 1) cash back is calculated on the total purchase amount, including tax; and 2) cash back accumulates in your Ebates account and you will receive quarterly cash back cheques from Ebates directly)
Total: $86.44 + 89 Aeroplan Miles
And there you have it – a $100 item for $86.44 tax-in and free shipping!
I hope this helps in highlighting some great online savings tools and illustrating how they can be brought to life. Let me know in the comments below what your money savings tips are!