During the next few weeks you will likely be spending lots of money on food, entertainment, and gifts.
Although you probably accept that ‘tis the season for these types of expenditures, there are several apps for your smartphone, and websites you can visit that can save you hundreds of dollars before and after you make your purchases, both before and after the holiday season.
Many offer additional savings for enrolling in loyalty programs, referring friends, or making multiple purchases from one retailer or manufacturer.
Favado allows you to search thousands of grocery and personal care goods sold by dozens of stores in your area, and find the store that offers a particular item at the lowest price.
Coupon Cabin claims to offer nearly 200,000 coupons at over 3,000 different retailers, with additional discounts available if you register as a member at the site.
Retailmenot also offers discounts on online and in-store purchases. If you are buying something online and see a box marked “PROMO CODE” as you complete the process, check with Retailmenot—there’s a good chance the site will have a current code that can save you even more money.
Whether you’re considering making a specific purchase, heading out for some general shopping, or have just returned from the stores or retailer websites, there are several places you should visit to see if you can get a rebate or cash back on your proven purchases.
Ebates says that its members have already saved over $325 million on purchases, and has a shopping “button” you can add to your web browser to get alerted to potential savings when shopping online. Receipt Hog, Snap, Checkout 51 and Receipt Pal allow you to save just by taking pictures of your receipts and submitting them to the respective sites.
Ibotta also offers savings for submitted photos, and includes cash back on purchases made in many restaurants and bars. Saving Star offers similar benefits, but instead requires you to scan and submit the UPC code from your purchased products to get the credit.
Saving without being sorry
There are a couple of things to consider before you start loading up on electronic coupons, discounts, and rebates.
First, if you bothered to read the “Terms of Service” provided by many of these apps and websites, you would learn that many of them access other information on your phone or PC.
Supposedly, this imposition will enhance your shopping experience by providing deals at your favorite stores, on your desired items, in locations that are near you. Other services might sell your anonymized shopping information to retailers, advertisers, and marketers, who then may use it to target you and others like you for promotions in the future.
But you might decide that the intrusion to your privacy isn’t worth the savings.
Speaking of the savings, some rebates may be delivered in methods other than straight cash, such as gift cards or tokens that can only be spent at certain retailers.
That’s fine if you plan on returning to the site or store in the future, but it means the rewards aren’t as valuable as money that you could spend wherever you want, or put in your bank account.
Last but not least, the occasional time lag between finding these discounts and rebates online and actually making the purchase means that you may not receive all of the savings you were counting on when you bought the item.
If these issues concern you, then it might be better off to just use some of the several dozen paper coupons contained in today’s newspaper.