Online Holiday Shopping 101

I'm just going to get it over with- the holidays are coming. You can roll your eyes at me, ignore me, or growl at me like a feral cat.  Go on, express yourself (hey, hey, hey, heyyy).  Feel better? I take comfort in the internet when the holidays approach.  I pretty much have a plan for every person I need to buy for, and Google is my best friend.  Holiday shopping online isn't so new anymore. The concept is second nature.  My job is to point you to some amazing sites for holiday gifts (coming in another holiday post), make you money when you buy gifts online (read below!), and stay alert for great deals on HOT holiday items (happening throughout the holiday season).

In this post, we are going to review "the basics" of online shopping which are (1) making money and (2) saving money. You can click, buy and receive like most people, or you can get a little something for yourself in the process. I'm talking about MONEY, MONEY, MONEY.

What a lot of people don't know, is that there is a brilliant little money making site called Ebates.com that exists and is free to use. Not only is Ebates free to use, it also makes you money while you shop online. How does Ebates make you money? Easy!

Ebates is a "click thru" site, meaning you go to Ebates to find the online retailer of your choice.  Just like you would using Google, you type in the name of the store you are looking for. Once you find it, you click on the stores name and Ebates brings you to the retailers online site. You receive a "tracking ticket", which simply means that Ebates is preparing your account for cash back if you  make a purchase.

There is nothing special for you to do, to benefit from Ebates. There are no promo codes you have to enter, or switching amongst websites. You click, you look, you purchase and Ebates takes care of all the rest.  The money you make shopping online is then dispersed via check on a quarterly basis.

I can personally vouch for Ebates, I have been using the site for quite awhile. I always get my checks on time, have never had a bad experience, and the whole process of using the site isn't even a process at all!

Next up, SAVING MONEY. Ohhhhh fellow readers, I urge you to look for promo codes before you make a purchase at any online retailer.  If you aren't looking for promo codes, then you aren't saving as much as you could.  I know, I just "went there!" but it is the sad truth.

There are amazing promo code sites that exist-namely, Retail Me Not and Couponcabin.  They exist to save you money.  Before you go clicking on "place order" check out both sites to see if there are promo codes available for the retailer you are purchasing from.  The great news is that you can use Ebates and a promo code at the same time.

For Example:

I need a few more fall clothing items for my daughter.

  • Old Navy offers 2% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates.
  • Couponcabin shows a 15% promo code discount on their website, to use at Oldnavy.com
  • My order total is $52.00.
  • $52.00 minus 15% off ($-7.80)=$44.20
  • $44.20 x 2% cash back= $0.88

To some, spare change of 88 cents, is just that. To me, that 88 cents is being nestled away in my Ebates account.  I am 88 cents richer. I'm like one of those people who collect pennies on the ground for years, and then one day I have extra hundreds to my name.  Ebates.com works the same way-it may not be much but it is something!

**Cash back percentages range from store to store, anywhere from 1% upwards to 20%. Popular retailers like LL Bean, Target, Sephora, Victoria's Secret, and Walmart are also  participating Ebates.com retailers.  Ebates also runs promotions for stores where the cash back goes up in percentage during particular weeks.  I love taking advantage of LL Beans 8% cash back, which is usually available during the holiday months. Better yet, LL Bean comes out with some pretty stellar promo codes too! Saving money and making money-life is grand.

This is the 1st official post in my 2012 Holiday series which you can find under "Holidays" on the front page of my site on the top menu bar. Don't forget to check back frequently for new postings, or sign up via email to stay in the loop. 

Look for my next post regarding all the fabulous online retailers to shop at this holiday season.  Many of these retailers support wonderful causes!

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