I do most of my shopping online these days- sad, but true. One of my tricks is to use online cash back programs such as Mr. Rebates, ebates, and my newest addition is Upromise. (Full Disclosure: the above links are my referral links so I get some cash back if you join these sites and shop)
Here's why I take the trouble to shop through these sites. Shopping through these sites usually earns anywhere between 2% to as much as 20% (rare, but happens) back and that's in addition to whatever coupon I may be using. So for example, I find a blazer that I love for $100 at Banana Republic. BR is also having a sale of 35% off. And there's also 5% back through the Upromise link. And I also use the Banana Republic card (that I pay off at the end of the month!) and earn 5pts/dollar (effectively 5% back because the card gives you $5/$100 spent). Now, that blazer I wanted would be
- $100 - $35 = $65
- $65 - $3.25 (credited to Upromise, this could be as high as $5 depending on what Banana Republic reports to Upromise) = $61.75.
- Moreover, 309 points will also be credited towards my next award and if there's a triple points promotion, I'll be 926 points closer to my next $10 reward (1000 pts = $10 reward).
So the blazer I wanted has just gotten to be a much more worthwhile purchase! I've only started using Upromise and I like them. The money I earn from these clicks actually goes toward paying down my student loans (hey, anything helps!). And if my experience with Mr. Rebates or ebates is any indication, the cash starts to add up pretty fast- I've gotten well over $300 back from Mr. Rebates and if I would have shopped anyway, I may as well get $300 back! And yes, I use this system religiously for Petco.com (the most money comes back via ShopDiscover).
The other two sites I use off and on are ShopDisover and the AA Shopping Network. I decide which of these networks (Mr. Rebates, ebates, Upromise, ShopDiscover, or AA Shopping Network) to use by first visiting www.evreward.com and typing in the store to see which program gives the most back. Of course, there are tons of these sites, but I like these the most. So there you have it, if you must shop, get something back!