Looking for a great read about shopping and saving money? Let me recommend “The Step-by-Step Guide to Saving Money with Coupon Codes and Shopping Online.” This ebook by Scott Elling, the founder and CEO of CouponPal.com, and Charlie Cohn, the site’s senior director of content strategy, has been sitting on my nightstand for about a month. I finally got around to reading it and I’m glad I did, because it’s packed with tons of online money-saving how-to’s, including some that even I haven’t tried—and I write about shopping for a living. Here are some highlights:
Stock up on discounted gift cards to use at your favorite stores. Sites such as GiftCardGranny.com, a comparison-shopping site for gift-card resellers, make it easy to buy gift cards from other consumers at a discount of 5 to 30 percent. On the site, which vets all buyers and sellers for legitimacy, you can purchase a $20 Kohl’s gift card for $18.20, for example. Using a discounted gift card plus a coupon code is a great way to stack your savings.
Set price alerts. If you’re stalking a particular item because you’re waiting for it to go on sale, set up a price alert. ShopItToMe.com is a great place to set price alerts for clothing. For air fares, set a price alert on AirFareWatchDog.com.
Buy single-use coupons on eBay.com. Many stores entice loyal customers and employees by offering huge discounts, such as 20 percent or more. These savvy shoppers know these coupons are valuable and often try to sell them on eBay. Enter “store name” and “coupon” (as in “Best Buy coupon”) and click search. Watch out for expiration dates and restrictions before completing your purchase so you know it’s a deal you can definitely use.
Use live chat to snag an unadvertised discount. If you can’t find a working coupon code for something you really want, check to see the retailer’s site has a chat function that allows you to communicate with a store representative. If so, add all the items on your shopping list to your cart (to demonstrate that you’re serious about buying), then have a live chat with a customer service rep. Ask if the retailer has any discounts or promos available. Mention that you found things you really want, but you’re considering shopping around to get a better deal. Bottom line: It never hurts to ask, “Is this the best you can do?” Don’t be afraid to be persistent.
Have you tried any of these or other advanced shopping tactics?