FTC Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own and are based on my experiences. I wasn’t paid, save money to recommend anything, these are truly methods that have worked for me. Read more here.
This post is inspired by the fact that my favorite time of the year is approaching. I’m not talking about Thanksgiving or Christmas; I’m talking about Black Friday.
I’m the ultimate shop-a-holic and cheapskate in one. I love shopping, but I love saving money even more. I’m that person that won’t buy something at the grocery store if the price increases or if it’s not on sale anymore. I also never buy anything online unless I have a discount. And I mean never.
Today I thought I’d share how I’ve saved hundreds of dollars this year on shopping and traveling.
Let’s begin, shall we?
It took me a minute to start using Ebates because for one, I thought it was too good to be true, and I didn’t understand how to use it (nor did I had the time to find out). But after hearing about it from many people I finally signed up I’ve earned almost $75 in cash back in under one year.
Main things you need to know:
- You get paid every three months: Tragic, I know. When I first signed up you’d get paid immediately (I think). To get paid your cashback balance must be at least $5 or it’ll carry over to the next pay period.
- Major suggestion – get the Chrome extension: that way every time I go to a website that qualifies for cash back you’ll be notified, and it’ll be applied immediately. Otherwise, you have to manually enter your shopping trips.
- You can now earn cashback in-store: Link your cards to your Ebates account to automatically earn cash back on qualifying in-store purchases.
This website offers the latest coupons for most stores for both online and in-store purchases. I literally check the app on my phone before every purchase I make, whether in-store or online. They also offer cash back on qualifying purchases as well. I haven’t used this feature yet, but their coupons never fail me.
Broke college student alert!
This app shows you all your favorite brands that offer student discounts. I’ve seen discounts for up to 50% off. All you need to do is verify your student email and voila, savings galore!
PS: This isn’t for just clothing brands. They have gift cards and discounts for stores like Sam’s Club, Apple, Audible, Colourpop, GlassesUSA, and a lot more.
If you’re a student, you literally NEED this app. Seriously, sign up here.
Grocery Store Apps
Stores like CVS and Walgreens have deals and coupons that you won’t find on the website/in-store sales.
I always the CVS and Walgreens apps for the coupons before I buy anything in the store. I’ve actually been able to save a lot of money using the manufacturer’s coupons in the app.
As you can see, I’ve saved almost $50 this year from doing this. I also clipped coupons for some of my necessities, especially the makeup.
Groupon is THE ultimate savings app! They even offer cash back on your purchases now.
Another great thing about Groupon is they also have discounts on different activities in your area, like shows and concerts, or even haunted houses. I always use this app when I travel so I can do different activities at a discounted price. It’s great for a frugal person like me.
Clothing Store Apps
Some apps like H&M offer a discount as an incentive to get you to download the app. The same was done for sites like Fashion Nova and Forever 21. Be on the lookout for these notifications on the website!
Almost every website I’ve been to offer a discount when you sign up for the email newsletters. They either pop up on the homepage (see Charlotte Russe example) or are listen in the footer of the websites (see FashionNova example). Whether or not they explicitly mention a discount, most of them will offer one either way.
Charlotte Russe – Newsletter appears on the homepage
Forever 21 – Newsletter appears in the footer of the website
Pro tip: don’t sign up unless you’re ready to make a purchase because the coupon codes usually expire within a week. I’ve made this mistake a couple of times and didn’t get to use my codes (I still found other ones though).
I only have 2 credits – one for cash back, and one for travel points. I chose these two credit cards because of the benefits they offer. Keep in mind that I can’t speak for every card, just the ones I have. On that note:
Cash Back Credit Cards
I got my first credit card with Bank of America since I already banked there. I did my research on other cards but I wasn’t too impressed. Sidenote: they have the best mobile banking app in my opinion.
Anyway, I got the cash rewards card because I love saving money. I get cash back on all purchases, with a higher percentage on things like groceries and gas. There is also no annual fee and no interest in your first year.
Cash Back Credit Cards are great for saving money because you spend the money anyway, so why not save as you go?
My credit card also offers a higher rate of cash back with certain stores, so long as I link the offer to my cards.
Be sure to do your research and make sure you get the best offer for your first, or next credit card.
To learn more about this card, click here.
Travel Reward Credit Cards
My only other credit card is a Delta SkyMiles card with American Express. I love traveling, and I get to travel for work, so it only made sense to get a card that rewards me with miles.
Quick side note: I’m a little bougie, so I only fly Delta. I’ve flown with other airlines, but the service was unmatched. Hence the reason I went with the Delta credit card.
Other airlines do offer their own cards, but like I said, I prefer Delta. There are other cards with banks like Chase that offer their own travel reward credit cards as well. The choice is yours.
With Delta, I received an offer to get 60,000 bonus SkyMiles after spending only $1000 in the first three months (which I planned to spend anyway). Most cards require you to spend much more to get the bonus, but the Delta offer was right up my alley. They also partnered with Lyft, so I get miles with every ride I take.
ALSO: they introduced Delta SkyMiles Shopping which is basically Ebates for miles. Some stores will offer up to 10 miles/$1 on your total purchase.
With the miles I’ve accumulated so far, I could probably take at least five trips using SkyMiles alone (minus the tax fee).
If you’re interested, you can learn more about the benefits here.
Other helpful posts on saving money:
- The #1 Tool for Getting Cash Back that You Didn’t Know You Needed
- 11 Insanely Easy Ways to Save Money in College
Until next time my loves,