We try to minimize our monthly expenses on boring everyday items so we have more money for fun stuff like dining out. There are many types of product offers available, and by combining multiple offers you can get products for free or even profit from your purchase. The types of offers available include:
Get to know the regular prices of your favorite products, then look for the rock bottom prices offered during sales. Memorize both prices so you know the range of prices a product can sell for. For example, cereal is usually $4.99 a box at the regular price, but a rock-bottom sale price is 2 for $4.00, or $2.00 per box. So the price range for this product is $2.00 to $5.00. Knowing this range will help you determine how good of a deal it is.
Like sale prices, coupon savings also vary over time. Coupons are usually at their highest value when a product is new and lowest when the product is an old favorite. Some old favorite brands do offer high value coupons when they are targeting a new customer. For example an old favorite brand of pet food might offer a low-value coupon in the Sunday paper (for it’s loyal customers) but offer a high-value coupon in a gift bag given away at pet adoption centers (to lure new pet owners). Search for and stock up on high-value coupons.
Rebates are often a good value because they require you to put forth effort. Remember Econ 101, where the reward must offset the effort required? Check store displays, online stores, and advertisements to search for rebates. These are becoming more popular, so ALWAYS check for a rebate before you buy a big ticket item. Then remember to fill it out and mail it in!
These are the “Value Cards” that are given out to regular shoppers at grocery, pharmacies, and retail stores. They typically only grant you the opportunity to pay the stores sale prices instead of their regular prices, but sometimes these cards offer perks such as coupons, rebates, etc. Be sure to sign up for these cards (so long as they’re free) at every store you shop.
The most famous of these is www.upromise.com. You sign up on their website and give them your loyalty and credit card numbers. Then, every time you purchase a designated product (the list is on their website) using one of the registered cards, they automatically deposit a tiny rebate in an online account. When you accumulate enough cash, you can request a check be mailed to you, and the money can be used to pay for educational expenses. These websites also offer seasonal promotions such as free shipping (visit here) or extra rebates on designated products. This is an easy way to save cash because it requires no effort after you do the initial sign-up.
These sites display links to online retailers, who offer special deals for customers who are referred through the link site. One great example is www.igive.com. This website will allow you to donate a percentage (it varies by retailer) of your purchase price to the charity of your choice. Or, if you’d rather pocket the cash yourself, you can just request a check. A similar site is www.mypoints.com. Instead of earning cash rebates, you earn points, which can then be redeemed for gift cards and other rewards.
7. Credit card rewards programs.
These are preferred credit cards that offer rewards based on your purchases. The rewards include cash or gift card rebates, air miles, etc, typically ranging from 1-5% of your purchase totals. To qualify, you usually need to have a good credit rating. Also beware of rewards cards that charge an annual fee or other fees. And of course, you would have to pay off your balance every month to avoid the interest charges.
For the ultimate in cost savings, try to combine as many offers as possible! We have sometimes been able to combine as many as six kinds of rewards and actually profit on our purchase! Things we have profited on in the last year include 24 rolls of toilet paper (made $10), toothpaste (made 11 cents), cheddar cheese (made $2.99) and lots more! Nothing feels better than bringing home a product you got for free and knowing there’s a rebate in the mail.