Extreme Couponing for Online Shopping

Shopping online like a boss lady
Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone! Today I wanted to revisit a topic from last year: coupon combining for online shopping. With my recent move back into my own apartment, I’ve been perfecting my savings strategy and wanted to share that success with you.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the shows on television with frugal fanatics that clip coupons and rebates and combine them with such skill that they end up leaving a grocery store with a cart full of items that the store ends up actually paying them to take home. It still blows my mind how that happens, and that type of outcome is unlikely with online shopping. I can, however, show you how to very easily knock an extra 10-20% off your online shopping bill. And I’m not talking about promo codes from RetailMeNot.com, either.

When it comes to extreme couponing online, you’ve got to maximize your savings by layering traditional promo codes with much less obvious tools.

For example, a $100 Macy’s gift card that you buy for $88 = automatic 12% savings. But let’s not stop there because an equally valuable trick is to maximize your cashback. While it’s not an instant savings tool, cashback is still real money and definitely adds up.

So how does it work? Well, when you buy that $100 gift card for $90, and you pay for it with a credit card that is eligible for 2% cashback, you’ve effectively saved yourself an extra 2%. Plus if you’re enrolled in a free cashback program like Rakuten (formerly Ebates.com), then you could be receiving an additional 3-10% in cashback for your online purchases. Combine your cashback percentages with your traditional promo codes and the savings from discounted gift cards, and before you know it you’re saving an extra 10-20% on most of your major online purchases.

This is real money, ladies!

So if you’re ready to start saving just follow along below, and please do come back and comment here to let me know how much you were able to save using these tips! 😀

Lisa Tufano on The Twenty Dollar Bill
Step 1. Create an Ebates.com account. It’s free and you’ll receive a $5 gift card just for signing up.

Step 2. Download the “Ebates Button” for your web browser. This will automatically alert you any time you are shopping on a retail website that is eligible for cashback. In addition, once installed you can activate the cashback with a single click (and without leaving the retail website), rather than needing to log into your Ebates.com account every single time.

Step 3. Shop for something on a retail website like Macys.com and then do your customary Google search for current promo codes. Alternatively, Ebates conveniently collects a library of currently active promo codes that can be used in addition to receiving cashback. Often these are the same codes you’ll find on coupon websites like RetailMeNot, except they aren’t expired.

Step 4. Once you’ve added your traditional promo codes and have the total for your shopping cart, open a new browser window and go to a discounted gift card site. You’ll want to buy discounted e-gift card codes to pay for the transaction. You may need to buy more than one gift card to cover your purchases, and most online retailers allow at least 4 gift cards per transaction. The gift card sites I prefer are:

  • Cardpool.com
  • Raise.com → BOSS LADY TIP: Ebates currently pays 1% cashback on Raise purchases and you can use promo code RAISE75AF to save an extra $5 off your first gift card purchase.
  • Giftcards.com

Remember, you want the e-gift cards vs. the physical cards because they email the codes instead of snail mailing a card to your home. Typically an e-gift card gets emailed to you within hours if not immediately.

Step 5. Occasionally a gift card website will want to verify your identify prior to sending the codes. This usually occurs when I’m purchasing larger dollar values, but it’s not a big deal. Once you receive the email with your codes, simply complete your transaction on the retailer website, and Bob’s your uncle. The Ebates cashback confirmation typically appears in your account within 24 hours, but if you have an issue you can submit an inquiry using this handy “Where’s my cashback?” link and have the cashback manually credited.

Step 6. Pour yourself a celebratory glass of wine and bask in the glow of your savvy shopping success.

Wine poured into glass on pink background

  • wendy browne
    August 7, 2015

    I didn’t know you could buy gift cards with coupon codes!

  • Jennifer
    August 7, 2015

    Absolutely adorable! Would love to kick it in the gold foil pineapples!

  • Jennifer
    August 7, 2015

    Now for the couponing! I get a real sense of accomplishment when I pull it off, however it doesn’t come easily for me. I will forget week to week, sometimes even day to day! Making it part of ones shopping experience is the trick, one I will be working on! Thank you for your article and interest!

  • Tina D.
    August 7, 2015

    These are great tips! Thank you for them.

  • crystal gibson
    August 8, 2015

    I am already signed up with Ebates but I didn’t know about the browser button. I am adding it next. Thanks for all the great tips.

  • Aaron
    August 9, 2015

    Great tips and advice! =)

  • Robin Creager
    August 9, 2015

    Love your tips! I’d like to share one as well. Mypoints.com
    You can receive points for shopping at places listed on their site and then use those points to receive gift cards for so many places. The amount varies depending on the points. My husband and I have used them for years and we love it. I love the site you mentioned as well, Ebates.com…great tips!

    • Lisa Tufano
      July 21, 2016

      Thank you, Robin! I will check out Mypoints.com for sure! I appreciate you letting me know. 🙂

  • Tara L
    August 9, 2015

    Thanks for the step by step process. I am going to check this out. I love shopping online even if it’s not clothes for me but for my son yes. I love trying to save at least something while shopping all the time 🙂

  • maleficent m
    August 12, 2015

    great tips. I think I will try this come xmas season

  • Carol Cooper
    July 21, 2016

    Ebates changed my life!!!!

  • Ani
    July 21, 2016

    I bought several discounted gift cards now through Carpool and saved a ton of money. Thank you for the tip. It totally works!

  • Caren Michaud
    July 21, 2016

    I have tried this now, many times, and it really works. I have gotten hundreds of dollars back in cashback credit from my Ebates account.

    Thank you for your instructions!!!

  • Erin Tufano
    July 21, 2016

    Couponing clearly runs in the family because I absolutely LOVE online shopping, especially when I have coupons and promo codes! I haven’t tried to buy discounted gift cards online yet with promo codes but that is definitely something I am going to try!

  • Rebecca
    July 21, 2016

    These are really great money saving tips – never thought of these before now and I can’t wait to apply them and get some $$ back ; )

  • Michelle S.
    July 23, 2016

    Loved this article, it was super helpful for a mom trying to save some money and still have a life

  • Kirstin McQuigg
    July 25, 2016

    LOVE this post! Super helpful and I now have friends that are hooked on eBates like me 🙂

  • Shaina
    July 25, 2016

    YES! I am all about the online savings. It makes me feel like I can shop even more.

  • Claire
    July 25, 2016

    OMG YAAASSSS. I love Ebates too!!! My mom and sisters have a competition to see who can save more money during the year. Loser has to buy the winner a spa day. Ebates is such a good coupon program for online purchases. I need to check out the discounted gift card tip, though. My sisters are gonna flip out.

  • Christine
    July 25, 2016

    Great information on coupon combining in the online world, thanks for breaking it down.

  • Cassie
    July 30, 2016

    You just blew my mind with this discounted giftcard trick!! I’ve never even heard of Cardpool and I didn’t know you could buy used giftcards on Giftcards.com. I always thought it was just for getting new cards only, and that ebates must be a scam but now I might have to sign up!!

  • Mahilani Akiona
    August 31, 2016

    Lisa, always so wise with money saving tips! I have never heard of ebates can’t wait to download!

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