An often overlooked opportunity to save money is when you’re actually buying something. Sometimes people focus solely on cost cutting, and don’t realize that one of the easiest times to save is actually at the point of purchase. These savings are generally instantaneous, and only require a little extra effort.
There are a few different ways to save money at the time of purchase. There are apps, widgets, coupon/rebate services, etc. that you can utilize to obtain discounts on things you buy. There are also cash back reward credit cards, discounted gift cards, etc. that can be further utilized to maximize savings.
More and more of us are shopping online these days. Amazon was a pivotal force in e-commerce, they make it almost as easy as it can get for the consumer to buy stuff online.
There are things called widgets that you can download in your internet browser, and when you’re shopping for things online it will automatically search for cheaper vendors. At checkout the widget will also scan the web for any coupon/promo codes for your item, and if it finds any it will apply the best one.
Browser widgets can be an extremely easy way to save - its worth downloading one of the below:
Honey is a great free widget that automatically scans the web for coupon/promo codes and applies them to your balance at checkout. It’s free, it’s quick, and it saves you a surprisingly large amount of money over time. They also provide product coupons and rebates on their website as well. Some of these can be pretty good deals, always worth a look.
Wikibuy is a another great free browser widget that is very similar to Honey. They scan the internet for coupons and promos as well and apply them at checkout. They also have rebates and coupons on their site similar to Honey.
Check both of these out and pick the one that you like best. Both are very comparable and offer very similar services.
Coupons / Promos
While we discussed browser widgets above, it is often worth doing a quick google search for any available coupons/promos/discounts on the item you’re about to purchase. The widgets are great, but sometimes you will find that they miss available coupons/promos. They’re not perfect, so if it’s a sizable purchase always make sure to double check!
Rakuten is a company that offers very sizable cash back rebates for purchases made through their site. They offer rebates on most major brands and retailers. The whole essence of their business model is that they secure exclusive affiliate commissions with these vendors, and then pass a portion of those commissions along to the end user in the form of cash back rebates. They're essentially sharing their commission with the consumer.
Most of the time you will find broad rebates such as 1%-5% off any/all purchases, but sometimes you can find larger savings. Definitely worth a quick look if you are making a large purchase, they also have a great phone app to make things even easier.
One fantastic way to save is by taking advantage of price matching offers. A lot of large retailers will offer price matching, where if you show them a competitor offering the same item for a lower price, they will match that price.
What’s even better is most of the big box retailers have their own apps that you can download that will allow you to scan the barcode and it will see if there are any better deals. If there are it will automatically apply the discount. You get a code for your savings that the cashier scans, and it applies the savings to your bill at checkout!
Some big box retailers that offer price matching include Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Michael’s, etc.
Whenever you are making a significant purchase you should always do a quick search to see if there are any better deals and at least ask if you can get a price match. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and you’d be surprised how many stores offer price matching!
Discounted Gift Cards
At large box retailers like Costco you can often find a section in which they are offering discounted gift cards for various businesses. You’ll find things such as $100 gift cards to Cinemark theaters for $80, or something along those lines. Generally the gift cards are discounted 10%-20%.
The offerings change from time to time, always worth a look if you’re at one of these stores. Last time I was there I saw discounted gift cards for movie tickets, massages at MassageEnvy, KrispyKreme, various travel sites, etc. Getting creative around your larger purchases is crucial when looking for extra savings.
The Usual Suspect
As always, one of the best ways to save on all purchases is by having a great cash back card. If you have good enough credit to get a great rewards cards you should definitely do it. Otherwise take what you can get, pay off your balances on time and work your way up to a great rewards card. When utilized properly you can expect to save and extra 2%-5% on most of your purchases with a great card.
Utilize As Many As Possible
There are plenty of ways to save money at the point of purchase. Taken together, you should be able to save significantly on all of your purchases. These savings can really add up quick, especially if applied on any/all large purchases.
It is well worth it to get strategic with your buying and plan around your large purchases. If you know you need to replace the fridge in the next year start keeping an eye on deals and maybe look into applying for a great cash back card to save you an extra 2% on the purchase.
Start saving more today by using this approach on all purchases going forward. You’ll be amazed at what paying 5%-10% less on your purchases does for your savings account over time!