I swear I like to make money just as much as the next person but it’s so hard for me to actively solicit money from others. Even when I’m working and charging an hourly fee or collecting money from a project. I’ve also resisted for many years the idea of affiliate marketing.
For those of you that don’t know, affiliate marketing is basically a referral fee/commission for when people like you decide to buy something that perhaps I’ve written about. It’s transparent to you and doesn’t affect your cost at all. It all happens on the back end. And yet, I feel a little weird about it. (I know, I know, it’s my issue).
Money makes me a little bit uncomfortable. At least some aspects of it anyway. SAVING money, however, is a whole different ballgame.
Getting More Bang For Your Buck
You like my sweater? I’m going to tell you exactly how much the price tag was and then how much I paid for it after I found it at an outlet on clearance and used a coupon. It’s like a game for me. It’s not about getting the thing for the cheapest. It’s about getting the thing for the best value.
Can I find a really cute purse for $5? You bet I can. Do I get a bigger thrill buying a $450 Coach bag that I really want for only $75? Absolutely. I’m pretty good about knowing what I want and how much I want to pay for it (that goes for cars, household items, shoes, etc.).
There’s another type of competitive shopping that I like to engage in. It’s called online shopping. Maybe you’ve tried it?
As an Amazon Prime member, Amazon is usually the first place I’ll try for whatever it is I’m looking for but (NEWSFLASH) you can’t always get everything you want on Amazon. And even if you do (ANOTHER NEWSFLASH), it’s not always the best price.
Amazon is often my starting point but once I find exactly what I want, I’ll look for that item on every other website know to man looking for the best price, best taxes, and best shipping. And then when I’m all done with that, I’ll look for a coupon to see if I can get it even cheaper.
Sometimes it works in my favor and sometimes it doesn’t. But I have a new failsafe way I’m shopping online that has, to date, paid me $45.23 in cold hard cash (via PayPal) for doing absolutely nothing extra.
Making Retail Therapy Profitable
Want in on the secret? Here goes.
I finally joined Ebates.
Actually I joined Ebates in 2013 (apparently) but never took the time to figure out what it’s all about until my friend Susan recently mentioned them. She said she gets some cash back when she shops through Ebates and I immediately pushed off the idea.
“If I’m shopping online, I’m shopping on Amazon so it’s kind of pointless.” Those were my exact words. Until I decided it was time for a new computer.
I’m an Apple girl but I still like to get a deal if I can. So instead of going directly to Apple, I went to MacMall where I saw the computer I wanted for about $50 cheaper.
50 bucks is 50 bucks but, like I said, I’m all about the art of the deal. So I decided to check out Ebates.
MacMall is one of the Ebates vendors. All I had to do was find search for them on the site and I immediately saw that if I go through Ebates to get to MacMall, I’ll get 2% back on whatever I purchase.
Sounded good so I clicked through to the MacMall landing page on Ebates.
What you’ll find are a list of majors sales and deals that MacMall is offering. These aren’t Ebates-specific offers and it doesn’t matter which red Shop Now button you click. The same thing happens regardless. When you get to the site you decide if/when/what you want to purchase.
And if you purchase, like I did in this case, 2% of your total purchase price will land in your cash back account.
Oh, I see. It’s in my cash back “account.” So I guess it’s not real money.
Um, no. It IS real money. Once you’ve earned over $5 in cash back, you will get cashed out to your PayPal account or have a Big Fat Check mailed to you (their words). Here are all the details on how and when you get paid.
Now, let’s get back to my original point. If I’m not buying an Apple computer, aren’t I probably just going to shop on Amazon?
Turns out that’s not as true as I thought. In preparation for an upcoming trip, I bought winter gear at Lands’ End through Ebates. I got a great deal on snow pants at Dick’s Sporting Goods through Ebates.
And here’s the best part. I was looking for winter boots for my son at Sears through Ebates and couldn’t find them in his size. So I looked at other apparel stores on Ebates and ended up at this weird Pennsylvania department store called Blair and ended up getting the exact boots I wanted for $15 less than Sears WITH 5% cash back.
And yes, I checked. That was a way better deal than Amazon.
Even though I learned about Ebates years ago, I never really paid attention to what they were all about. They’re actually a huge global company and I’m an idiot for throwing away all the cash back money I could have been earning over the years.
Now I’m going to do us both a solid. I’m going to invite you to sign up through my personal referral link for Ebates. When you do, you’ll get a $10 bonus and I’ll get up to $25 (or something like that) as long as you make some purchase within a year after signing up. And why wouldn’t you after my glowing review?
A Shortcut to Saving Money
ONE LAST THING…
Let’s say you’re habits run deep and there’s just no way you’ll remember to go to Ebates every time you want to shop online at your favorite store. Ebates has a Google Chrome extension that takes a second to install. With this extension, any time you’re on an Ebates website, it will pop up a message telling you and asking you to click to get your cash back.
Seriously, I <3 you, Ebates. You may my inner bargain hunter glow.