Monday, May 17, 2021

Everything I Do Before Clicking 'Checkout'

Growing up in a single mom household in the 80's/90's, we had to scrimp.  We had coupons, and we rarely bought the name brand of anything unless it was exceptionally good over its doppelganger.  The Mr grew up the opposite and given we were both making under $20K each when we got married, I knew I had to teach him my frugal ways.  I can't tell you how proud I was the day he came home with paper towels and was like "look, I got these on sale!"  Trust me, it was a big deal then.  I don't care how much we bring in, a few cents to a dollar is always better off in our pocket than someone else's, especially big business'.

So here are all of the things I make sure I do before clicking 'checkout.'

Ease up on the trigger finger

This doesn't really apply to grocery stores because they know you need food to survive but other carts...fair game.  Some places, even small businesses will send you a coupon code if your contents have sat in there for a day.  Ever get those "hey, we saw you checking us out!" (okay stalker) or "you still have items in your cart!" emails?  If they don't have promo codes to continue your purchase, wait another day...they might!  I've been sent 10-15% promo codes to complete my purchase.


We don't get coupons like back in the day except for the ones from our main grocery store that are generated by our purchases.  Those are always appreciated and usually if they are sent to us via mail, then they are typically available online as well attached to our loyalty card.  (God, I hate those!  Just give everyone the sale price already!)  Problem is, they don't load onto your card unless you go in and do it.  I go into our account and scroll the coupons every Friday morning and upload any we might use even if it's something we might not have bought recently but I think we may buy on a whim because you never know.  I'd rather be surprised getting the money back on an impulse buy.  Sometimes if you're doing a pickup/delivery, it will say there is a coupon for the product...gotta click it!  They'll let you know about it but won't do it for ya.

Rakuten (Rack-ooh-tan)  formerly Ebates

This is where some will say it's a scam.  They sell your info.  Blah blah blah.  The Mr works in computers and fully vets anything like this in addition to my own research.  Hundreds of legit, big name stores are part of this program and they're not going to mess up their own reputation to be part of a scam.  I have gotten back almost $1300 of my own money that would've gone to stores if I hadn't used them.  The premise is, they are splitting an affiliate commission with you.  You are more likely to come back to use them which means more money in their pockets and the store that participates may get more money because of the fact they're in the program so you'll shop them more often.   Sometimes there will be double and triple cash back.  Make sure you install the extension in your browser so if you happen upon a site in Rakuten's network, it will alert you so you can get your cash back.  

Examples of cashback I've gotten- The 25th anniversary book I made through Shutterfly was only 1% when I started putting it together which is better than nothing because I'll take almost $1.50 back over nothing.  I was happy when I didn't finish on my own self imposed deadline and it went up to 10% cash back!  I don't even know why but I'll certainly take $15 back instead!  I got 10% back on our tax prep.  I got 2% back through Sylvane getting my ultrafine particle air filters ($10-12 cheaper than I would've paid through Amazon or Walmart too!) so I will take any amount back in my pocket, please and thank you!   

If you want to sign up and poke around a bit to see if any of your favorite stores are listed, click here to sign up through my affiliate link.  If you sign up then spend $20 that you were going to spend anyway, we'll both get referral money added to our accounts.  

Promo Codes

The Mr knows to search for promo codes before buying anything online.  Kinda makes me proud when he does. Sadly, some sites are a waste of time but I can get some pretty reliable results from Retail Me Not and Coupon Cabin (though the latter is a little less reliable than it used to be.)  Clothes places seem to give the biggest discounts like 40-50% off of a single item (sometimes your whole purchase) but you can easily find 10-30% by entering the name of your store and the term "promo code" or "coupon code" after it.  Something to be aware of for Rakuten members.  If you're going to look for promo codes, either do it in a separate browser than the one you're checking out on or look them up before activating your cash back or one of the coupon sites might hijack your cart for their program.  Retail Me Not is notorious for taking over your cart with their program if you're going to click to get their code then it boots out Rakuten.  So get your all of your codes to try first, then activate Rakuten and paste the codes.

Sign up for email newsletters before buying

Many sites will give you a promo code for joining their lists.  A lot will automatically give you the coupon code when you enter your email, some send them to your email and then some jerks act like they're going to give it to you right away and you end up getting it 1-3 days later.  (Murphy's Law says likely after you've already made your purchase.)  It's always worth checking especially if you can't find any other promo codes that work out there.  Then you can unsubscribe if you don't want to get promotions from them.

Purchase and use gift cards for other rewards

Chances are, you probably have a loyalty card through your grocery store.  A lot of times you can earn fuel or grocery points by purchasing gift cards.  Let's say you always get a pizza from Dominos or Pizza Hut every Friday night.  Grab a gift card to pay for it and get your points.  Same with the store itself.  You know you're going to be shopping there, so get your Ralphs, Kroger, Shaws, Publix or whatever gift card for what you typically spend on a trip to get some points back toward those future purchases.

Pick it up!

If you're not shopping somewhere that has free shipping (or you're not going to reach the minimum for free shipping) but has pick up as an option, pick dat shizz up especially if they're close by.  With so many retailers doing curbside, you don't even have to get out of your car and save some moolah doing it.

Go incognito

Did you know if you shop a site frequently, your cookies give you away and work against you?  If some stores know you shop through them frequently regardless of the price, you may pay higher prices for being a loyal customer!  What a crock, right?  I've even seen this on vacation rental sites with two different nightly prices checked on the same property on two different browsers.  So always open a private/incognito tab to make sure you're not a victim of "dynamic pricing!"

Comparison search

If I come across something I don't typically buy on a site, I copy the name of the item and go a Google search to see if it comes up cheaper somewhere else.  I saved $10 buying air filters somewhere other than Amazon just because it was easier.  It came a day later than Amazon would've and I could wait a day for that kind of savings.  Plus I got 2% cash back over none so there's that.

Do you do any of these (or something in addition) before checking out?

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  1. I'm not as good about these things as I should be. I've used the put it in a cart and leave it to get a coupone code by accident a few times. I put it in the cart and either gave it 24 hours to think about or got distracted and forgot.

  2. I open a private tab for shopping, will always use a coupon if they are available, and I've used Coupon Cabin for years for cash back. I'll use Rakuten when it beats Coupon Cabin, and I've used Honey as well, which has helped a lot on Amazon.


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