How I Get Discounts and Cash Back Easily
Never pay full price. There are so many ways you can get discounts, cash back and even make money from your purchases. Here are the steps I take to get things we want and need for much less than their recommended retail prices.
Disclosure: this article may contain affiliate links to products and services I personally use.
1. Get the Apps and Extensions
Your first step needs to be getting the apps and Chrome extensions installed. They can notify you when you are on a site eligible for cash back and how much you will get. The ones I use are:
CashRewards: By far my favourite as it usually has the highest cash back offer, the payments are processed easily and customer services has been good.
Simply join CashRewards for free, activate it when you see the cash back offer and get a bonus $20 cash back with your first purchase over $20.
Shopback: Works the same as CashRewards. You can only activate and use one so I compare to see which one is offering me a better deal. Join Shopback for free and get a bonus after your first purchase through them too.
Honey: Slightly different, Honey offers cash back but also scans for discounts and coupon codes. Join Honey for free here.
Swagbucks: Best known as an online survey site, they also have a cash back program with the cash being awarded in points you accrue and cash out. Join free here.
ReceiptJar: This is for after your purchase is final. Upload your receipt and get points. Once you reach 1,000 points you can get a gift card. Join free with the code KYLIT3QH2 and get a bonus 200 points when you upload your first receipt.
2. Shop With a List and use Delayed Gratification
Before you roll your eyes, shopping is generally best if specific and planned. Know what you want to buy so you can ensure you get the best deals, avoid impulse purchases and get what you want.
A shopping list helps you keep focused. As for a delayed gratification list, this is a list where you write the things you want, especially those items that would have been an impulse purchase. Wait a set period of time e.g 30 days and if you still want or need the item, work it into your budget.
3. Utilise Google for Reviews, Comparing Prices and Discounts
Before buying any big ticket items such as a car or an appliances, Google it. Check reviews, Google to see if there are any recalls or common issues. Next, Google to compare prices and look to see if there are any discounts available.
This can take a little time but is worth it for those more expensive items. Spending 10 minutes doing some research can save you anywhere from $50 to thousands, depending on what you are buying. This research can also help prevent you from buying a dud item.
4. Sign up to VIP and Loyalty Programs
Most stores offer a discount for new customers, generally through their newsletter. Sign up, take advantage of the offer then either unsubscribe or send it to your promotions/spam. Alternatively, use a specific email address for these things to avoid getting tempted by future sales.
Make sure you boost or activate any special offers too. My apps tell me about offers I can access. Even if I don’t think I will use them, I activate them. There have been a few times I have ended up buying something relevant to the offer without realising.
I don’t spend just to get offers but if an offer fits with what I am doing then I will use it. For example, my bank has offers all the time. I activated them all then the next week my daughter needed a backpack for school and the one she wanted came from a shop I got this special offer at.
We didn’t plan it that way but it worked out. The shop had a promo on a cooler bag too which now gets used every day. Always activate the offers.
5. Add Items to Cart but Don’t Check Out
This only works if you have time on your side and it’s not a clearance item that could run out. Many stores are set to offer you a discount if you don’t check out. You need to be signed in, add the items to your cart then not finish the sale.
Read the fine print though as these offers are not always valid with other offers such as a new customer discount, so you need to decide which one is best for you.
6. Make Your Purchase
Now you are ready to buy. Make sure you have activated the best cash back deal before you pay. You can’t use them all at once, so choose the one with the most appealing offer for you.
Beware of things such as free shipping and other offers. Some might be worth it, others might mean you spend money you didn’t need to get things you don’t want to avoid paying shipping. It’s a common marketing tactic designed to get you to spend more.
Shipping often isn’t that expensive so if you have to spend $20+ to get ‘free’ shipping, it’s not really free.
Buy what you want, then use the receipt for the next step.
Photograph or email your receipt get it added to your ReceiptJar account and get some points to cash out later. It only takes a few seconds and while it doesn’t pay much, at the moment, every bit helps, right?
8. Cash Out
The step so many forget to do is to cash out. If you’ve signed up to these apps and you are activating them when shopping, don’t forget to check them regularly and cash out. Some find it easiest to set an alarm or reminder for the end of the month to check them and cash out when they reach the threshold.
9. Decide What’s Worth Your Time
Doing all of the above will save you money but you need to decide what your time is worth. I typically only go through the process for more expensive items but if you are looking to save every way possible, these steps definitely help.
Recently, with moving house and needing to set up with numerous items plus restock the pantry, by using these tips I got $1,600 worth of things we needed for $500! That was definitely worth the time it took me to do all of the above.
At the very least, using the cash back apps takes only seconds and can get you money back quickly.