August 26, 2010

Shopping and Saving

Seven or eight years ago, online shopping was new and exciting territory. I bought almost exclusively at J Crew and eBay but eventually expanded my virtual buying world, adding in a new sites to my circle of trusty favorites.

When I discovered RueLaLa a few years ago, I was over the moon excited. It was my first online boutique shopping experience and I loved the combination of exclusivity (ooh, I'm special!) and fantastic deals.

Flash forward to today, when I get daily emails from Gilt, Ideeli, Row Nine, Billion Dollar Babes, Zulily and One Kings Lane. I don't buy from these sites terribly often, but I like to keep my eyes peeled for gift ideas and little treats throughout the year.

While I'm in shopping lockdown for the time being, I'm in awe at how much my online shopping habits have changed in a few short years. Unlike the early days of "click to buy," I now find free shipping and additional discount codes to make patronizing my favorite virtual stores easier on my wallet.

More than anything, I loathe paying for shipping. $15 to ship a few insanely light tops? Absolutely not, J Crew.


Knowing this, I'm kicking myself for tuning out the masses who raved about Ebates. It sounded shady, or at least too good to be true. I make money for shopping online? At sites I'd visit anyway, on purchases of my choosing?

I signed up a month ago and, as little online shopping as I've done, have earned a surprising amount of rebates. Birthday money spent at Lands End Canvas, Sephora and eBay went farther with a few rebates! I just went to Ebates, searched for the store, found out the rebate percentage and clicked on any applicable coupons before shopping.

Last month I took a gift card to Sephora.com, where I got free shipping, 8% cash back from Ebates, the standard three free samples and (with a code) a free full-sized mascara as well. I felt fabulous!

Ebates sends me a running total of the percentage I've gotten back from various purchases; I'll let y'all know when I receive my actual check at the end of the quarter. (Right now they're giving a $5 bonus to new members, so scurry on by!)

If we were buying school supplies, electronics, fall clothes or big gift cards, I'd be sure to do it this way. If you're going to purchase something anyway, you might as well get a little cash back for doing so.

Do y'all have any other online shopping and saving tips? Any other sites you use that work similarly? True, I'm in "no shopping" mode. But birthday and baby gifts and necessary purchases all qualify for rebates, too. I'll take all the tips I can get. Do share!

(Note: None of the above-mentioned sites asked, induced or compensated me to mention them. All for the love of the game!)

2 comments:

Nicole said...

Yes, my shopping habits have totally changed in the past year (or couple of years)!!! Now I just hate to buy something at full price - where's the fun in that?!?

I never really jumped on the Ebates wagon either...until TODAY! You totally sold me, so I used your link, signed up, and already made my first purchase! Hoping to have some success with the rebates! :)

Oh, and I absolutely HATE to pay for shipping - most of the time it's a total deal breaker.

Anne said...

I agree - free shipping on ANYthing really entices me to buy. Savvy marketing ploy, but it works every time!

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