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Best Online Shopping Tips: Part 3 – Everywhere else

This is part 3 in a series. Don’t miss Part 1: Craigslist shopping secrets and Part 2: Tricks to saving money on ebay.

Well well well. We made it to part 3 of this little series on online shopping tips, which I like to think officially qualifies me as a grown-up blogger who knows what’s going on.

(Pffft. We all know better.)

If you missed part 1, click here to see the post on how to rock craigslist like no one else (and possibly, steal all the cute dressers out from underneath me? Why can’t I find anything suddenly?). And click here for how to shop eBay like a ninja.

Today I’m going to talk about how to save money when you shop everywhere else online.

Great tips to save money on all your online purchases - how to find coupons, get secret rebates and more!

1. Start with Google Shopping

If you know what you want, search for it on and sort results by price. Let’s search for ghost chairs because ghost chairs and I have a special relationship: I want them but they don’t want me back. (Translation: I somehow still don’t have one even though I love them.) Kinda like my relationship with Jim Halpert:

Dear Unrequited Loves of My Life, I like to imagine that if you knew me, you would love me.

Oops, awkwardness. Back to Google Shopping. Enter your search term, then sort by price.

This gives you a perfect starting point to know which online stores to check first.

2. Search for Online Coupons

I never, never, NEVER buy anything online without searching for an online coupon code first. It’s quick and easy to check and can save SO MUCH money that you can then spend on ghost chairs and beautiful fabrics. Actually, let’s talk about beautiful fabrics.

I get a lot of fabric from Here’s a pretty one for example:

Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush Woodcut Passion from

If you’re buying 10 yards of that stuff, and don’t search for a coupon code, you’re paying $89.90:

But take a couple seconds to type “ coupon codes” into google…

And you’ll find a quick code for 15% off at

Bringing your total to $76.33:

Saving you a quick-and-easy $13.57 for a couple seconds worth of searching. And making you feel like a SHOPPING SUPERSTAR. Please feel free to print this image, cut it out and pin it to your shirt.

Your friends will be envious.

UPDATE: I just discovered this new-to-me coupon site called Save1. SUCH a cool concept: you search for coupon codes on their site, and they use a portion of the commission they receive to provide a meal for a hungry child through their feeding partners. Go shopping, feed hungry kids? Total win in my book.

3. Shop through a cash-back site

There are a few websites that give you cash back for clicking to the retailer through their site. This is so easy and just another way to save a few bucks on your online purchases.* gives cash-back at 1,500 stores, including 6% back at Kohls and Macys, and 5% at Joann Fabrics. I’ve used them for a while and they pay quickly and easily. LOVE ebates. is a similar site but I haven’t tried it.

Don’t forget to check your credit card websites – many of them offer cash-back. We use our Discover Card for online purchases often, because they have a fantastic cash-back program that offers, for example, 15% cash back for purchases, and 5%+ cash back for and

You CAN combine coupon codes AND cash-back sites, by the way. But only if you want to be amazing.

4. Use a combination of price-matching and coupon codes

Seriously, if you do this trick, you are a mega shopping superstar and should get this tattooed on your forehead:

You will never regret it.

First, find the lowest possible price you can for the item you want. We recently bought a Dyson DC25 Animal vacuum cleaner.* Regular price right now at Amazon is $579.05.

I waited and watched the sales until I found it for $395 at I couldn’t find a great coupon code for, but I knew that often has great coupon codes. So I called Kohls and got them to price-match the price, then add on a 15% coupon code, bringing my total to $360 + tax. They also had “Kohls cash,” which gave me something like $10 back for every $50 I spent, but I can’t remember the details.

Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to price-match and use a combination of deals from two different stores.

Now I am sucking up the deals with my inexpensive Dyson. (UGH GROOOOAN. That was terrible, you guys. Don’t put up with this crap from me.)

5. Follow a Deal Site

There are a ton of deal sites which alert you to amazing deals of all kinds across this vast interwebs of ours. I follow through my RSS reader, but you can check their website regularly. They’ll let you know when there’s an awesome coupon code, or just something for sale somewhere online for an great price.
We usually have a handful of things we’re in the market for, and often that list will coincide with something that’s listed on Deal News or SlickDeals. This is a great way to get alerted to deals from obscure corners of the internet.

One caveat: it can be easy when following these sites to buy something because it’s cheap and not because you need it. *RESIST, friends!*


Just like you can search for coupon codes for online stores, you can also search for printable coupons to brick-and-mortar stores. If I’m headed out of the house to a specific store, I always google the store name + “printable coupons” on my way out the door. This works especially great for Michaels, Joann and other craft stores, but you can find some great deals to all kinds of stores this way.

Aaaand that’s all I can think of for now. How do you save lotsa cash online? What tips did I miss? Which color are you getting your SUPERSTAR tattoo in? (Don’t forget to check out Part 1 in this series: Craigslist shopping secrets and Part 2: Tricks to saving money on ebay.)

Great tips to save money on all your online purchases - how to find coupons, get secret rebates and more!

*These are affiliate links.

Let's connect


  1. Good tips! I also never buy on-line without searching for a coupon first!

    My newest favorite is an app for my phone called GeoQpon. I never remember to bring my Michael’s/Joann’s coupons with but I can just hand over my phone! I love 2012.

  2. I didn’t know about Ebates or DealNews. I’ll have to check those out.

    If it helps, you’re a big grown-up blogger in my book. 🙂

  3. Michael’s also has an app that you can pull up the coupon right there on your phone. They just scan the barcode and it’s easy peasy! For JoAnn’s, I usually use the feature that allows you to text the coupon to yourself so I know I always have it with me too.

  4. I love retailmenot, how can you beat free money? I adore this post, and your writing style is so fun and engaging, I actually want to read what you write, not just skim the pictures:)

  5. I signed up for Ebates! I both love you (for introducing me to my new BFFL) and hate you (for waiting an extra day to do it) because I ordered a dress from ModCloth yester-freaking-day and I could have got 3.5% cashback! ACK! So anyways I do love your awesome tips!! Got any more awesomeness up your sleeves??

  6. I’ve heard about Ebates but didn’t know of anyone who used it until TODAY! Also, I’m guilty of buying things cuz they are cheap. working on that. Signing up for dealnews might be a problem, but I will do it anyway!

  7. My superstar tattoo will be neon pink. I’m thinking of centering it around my belly button.

    I always use coupon codes and am getting better at searching for others when I’m buying online. Definitely helpful! And I’ve never heard of Ebates! Will have to keep that in mind!

  8. You tips, as always, are super crazy money saving duper! Seriously!



  9. I never even thought to look for coupon codes..Thanks, U R a star!

  10. Absolutely love the blog! just added you to my follow list, can’t wait to see more updates!

    Hope you find the time to check out mine!

  11. i love all these tips! i always, always google for coupon codes…they are the best!

  12. I thought I already knew all the tricks, but I had no idea about ebates. Looks like I’ll need to do a little online shopping to try it out:) Thanks for the tips!

  13. I see a new career in your future…personal shopper extraordinaire! People pay you to buy what they want at tremendous savings. Could work with baby on lap and toddler happily learning the family business. I just recently bought my daughter some clothes from an expensive kids store and scored $25 savings by a quick search for a coupon code. Brilliant!

  14. Thanks Kelly! Great tips – I can’t wait to sign up for Ebates and try the other tips… though you know I’ll buy a bunch of stuff I don’t need if its cheap 🙂

  15. Once again, you hit it out of the park. As for Jim Halpert, I’ll let you have the ghost chairs for him? Darn, maybe I want the ghost chairs. You can have Jim. Actually… I just take both. k’thanks. XOXO!

  16. Love the price match/coupon combo. Why have I not thought of that!? And it’s the same Dyson I’d love to have. How are you liking it? Thanks for saving me some bucks!

  17. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your shopping posts. The learned alot – and I was raised by an expert bargain shopper. I am sorry to say my mom passed away before experiencing the joys of online shopping. She did enjoy QVC, but that’s another long story. I am a pretty good ebayer, and I also remember those early days. Now adding to my skill set. Not sure how I feel about sniping. I hate it when it happens to me, but it could be helpful at times. I have not done alot of Craigslist, but have friends that do and they did not know about Craiggers. I will NOT buy anything online without a coupon code. Like you said, it only takes a minute to look. Again – love your fun posts.

  18. if you still don’t have your jim halpert…i mean ghost chairs here is where i bought mine and they are lovely.

  19. We always check for coupon codes before we order pizza online too!

  20. Do you have any tips for selling items on craigslist or ebay? I am in the selling mood. Getting rid of all the things that have cluttered up my life for a long time. And I won’t buy anything without selling things to pay for what I buy. Often there are websites within cities for selling and buying clothes, furniture, and other items. You just have to somehow find out what the listing is for them. And be very careful buying and selling on them. Meet in a common place–don’t give out your telephone or home address. Don’t buy a cell phone without meeting at the provider so you can check if there is any unpaid balance on the phone and if it is in working order. And always check every item you buy while the seller waits before you pay. Only accept cash–never checks.

  21. I make sure to “Like” the stores I frequent on Facebook and keep an eye on their pages when I am getting ready to make a purchase so that I don’t miss a good deal. A few of my favorite fabric sources recently had 24 hour discount codes.

  22. I love baking sites, like Layer Cake Shop, but I hate having to pay for shipping, so I always ask my friends if anyone wants to get anything. Then we reach $50 together and get free shipping.
    Sometimes you can piggyback coupons, which it never hurts to try. If you are ordering from a smaller company, call and ask if they can give deals on shipping or buying multiples. I’ve gotten deals that way when preparing activitites for my church group. It never hurts to ask.
    You can also get great coupons from retailers that you can’t find elsewhere just by emailing their customer service and telling them how great they are. These can usually be combined.

  23. Wow, talk about helpful! I just found your blog and I can already tell I’m going to burn days plowing through your posts. Thanks for the tips!

  24. I now feel like a shopping superstar {thanks to you!} because I just used a coupon code on ink cartridges and turned a $53 order into a $36 order! I saved even more money by getting remanufactured ink cartridges instead of brand name ones. Thank you for your wisdom!

  25. Reading this quite a while after the post, but I noticed you used coupon codes as an example. I have a small custom sewing business and use that website all the time. I’ve noticed in the last 6mo maybe that there are no coupon codes to be found out there for Have you run into this also? Such a bummer, as they used to have such great sale codes!!

  26. I just found this post! Have you heard of Honey? It’s an extension for the Chrome browser that will search for promo codes for you at checkout. I just bought a calendar online that was on sale from $29.99 down to $23.99. Honey searched eight different promo codes for me while in the check out screen, and the last one worked – took 25% off the price – bringing it down to $17.99. I paid $20.09 for the calendar and shipping.

    Made me a believer in it! Who doesn’t like to save money?!

  27. Love the value coordinate/coupon combo. Why have I not thought of that!? Also, it’s the same Dyson I’d love to have. How are you preferring it? A debt of gratitude is in order for sparing me a few bucks!


  1. […] CraigslistWelcome new readers! This is part 1 of a series. See part 2: secrets of Ebay shopping and part 3: saving money everywhere else. Don’t miss my other money-saving posts: subscribe via RSS feed here, or through Facebook or […]

  2. […] 2 – EbayThis post is part 2 in a series. Check out Part 1: Craigslist Shopping Secrets and Part 3: Tricks to saving money online.Remember back in the dark ages of the interwebs when eBay was mostly populated by individual sellers […]

  3. […] coupon codes through sites like Retail Me Not to see if you can take an extra percentage off.See this post for more tips on how to save money shopping online.I’ll be stalking checking more online […]

  4. […] use online shopping tricks. I outlined all my best tricks for saving money on your online purchases here — there are tons of easy ways to spend less on the stuff you’re already […]

  5. […] I shop around like a ninja! (Here’s my post on how I shop online to get the best deals.) […]

  6. […] Did you still get each other birthday and Christmas gifts or was it more like…happy birthday, here’s your new couch, rug, amazing entry table, etc? Yes, a little bit, but both of us are more into the idea of doing things together than getting gifts. When it came to Christmas, we each had a small budget to spend on the other one, and it was a challenge to see who could stretch their budget the furthest. If I had $100 to spend on him, I would go to ebay and spend it all on a gift card for somewhere like sears or home depot and get a gift card to those stores for ~$115, then combine that with a coupon and a really good sale to buy him a tool or electronics item that originally cost around $175. (That’s how I bought him his $200 router with a $100 budget.) (Here’s my post on how to save money on all your online purchases.) […]

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