Monday, September 6, 2010

COUPON SPOTLIGHT: 7% off textbook rentals at!

Just in time for school!  Use this coupon code to receive 7% off textbook rentals at


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shopping Tool: Price Comparison Sites

There's an overwhelming number of sites who tout their prowess at price comparisons, but are they really saving you money?

Most of these comparison sites (or engines) allow merchants to pay for better placement in search results. These merchants usually pay a portion of the sale or a flat "price-per-click" to the comparison site. They can also pay be to be listed as a "featured store". This can lead to some pretty biased search results for consumers.

Other comparison sites simply crawl the internet to search for products, also allowing merchants to upload their product catalog for free. But giving merchants the option to upload their products also makes it easy for them to control your results. For example, some merchants won't list their best deals--if they did, they'd get a ton of traffic from customers who wanted to purchase only that discounted product. If the deal really is a true bargain, those sales will cut into the merchant's bottom line and be less profitable in the long run.

Sound confusing? Just remember this: Comparison sites are businesses and as such, they need to turn a profit. Don't use them as the final word in low prices, but rather, a guide that offers a glimpse of products' average market price. Find reputable stores carrying your product at a competitively low price, but remember that sales tax and shipping will probably increase your total. I recommend that you conduct an internet search of your own (try google or bing), especially for merchandise that isn't widely carried. Then start looking for coupon codes and revenue sharing links to save you even more money.

Here are some of the top price comparison engines:

Also see:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Shopping Tool: Shop It To Me!

Are you constantly browsing sites, waiting for your favorite brands to go on sale? Have you found the perfect BCBG top, marked down 50%, frustrated to find that only size XL remains? You need ShopItToMe.

The concept is simple: Fill out a simple form on their website, choosing your favorite clothing brands and your sizes. When those brands get marked down at a major online retailer, ShopItToMe will email you the markdowns in your size. All for free! Just specify whether you want daily, weekly, or semi-weekly "SaleMail" emails and they'll arrive in your inbox, full of sale items in your size.

Keep in mind that ShopItToMe does not include every online retailer in their searches, so if there's a specific item you're looking for, you should focus on search engines and comparison shopping sites to find the lowest price. While ShopItToMe gives you a large selection of well-known brands and designers to choose from (over 600), you may have to email their staff to ask them to add lesser known brands and independent designers.

Visit to sign up.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Best Coupon Codes -- Hot Deals Available RIGHT NOW!

  • - 20% off and free shipping on orders over $100 - ADIDAS20
  • - A great find for moms and teachers! 20% off entire purchase! Includes sale items and sitewide free shipping on orders over $75 - 20BTS09
  • - Buy 1 large pizza get a 2nd of equal or lesser value for free! - BAN3L4T
  • - 20% off purchase (some brands restricted) - LKS1A929

Remember: Coupon codes can always be used in conjunction with affiliate links, so make sure you check revenue sharing sites BEFORE you start shopping! (see How to Get Cash Back)

Everyone loves a newbie!

(How stores reward first time buyers)

So you've been a loyal customer of for years. You're on their mailing list, you browse their new items, you shop the sales. As a fantastic and loyal customer, you expect that you'll receive the best deals, exclusive discounts, and first dibs on their markdowns.

Aw. So cute, so naive.

Yes, it sometimes pays to sign up for your favorite store's email list. SteveMadden is constantly sending me offers for free shipping, discounts, and--for the month of my birthday--20% off a pair of my choice.

But there are times when stores look toward their bottom line and see you as you really are: an addicted shopper; an easy target, someone already hooked on retail and not likely to walk away.

Any good drug dealer worth his salt knows that the key to high sales is to keep bringing in new customers. Get 'em hooked and those sales take care of themselves.

The definition of a "new" customer varies from site to site, but generally you can open a new account with a different email address. If that doesn't do the trick, try using a different credit card.

DailyeDeals has compiled a nice little list of the best offers for new customers:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to get cash back!

Coupon codes and free shipping are great, but what if you could get cash back for all your online purchases?

There's no catch! It's simple: Online stores advertise by placing ads on various websites that target their demographic. The hope is that you (the consumer) won't just click on the ad and visit the store's site, but that you'll make a purchase while you're there. If you do make a purchase, the store will kick back a percentage of the sale to the website that displayed the ad. These are called affiliate links.

If someone else is receiving cash back for your purchases, why shouldn't you? That's the idea behind affiliate sharing sites like Ebates and FatWallet.

Here's how it works:
Sign up for a free account with Ebates and/or FatWallet. Each site has their own list of merchants, and the percentage of the sale you'll receive. They don't always partner with the same merchants, and when they do, the percentage of cash they offer back varies.

Say you want to purchase a pair of $240 jeans from First you should check the list of stores on Ebates:

Here we see that they'll offer 3% of the purchase back to you. (Remember--this does not include sales tax and shipping.) That's $7.20 cash back on your purchase! But before we start shopping, lets check FatWallet:

Normally offering 2% cash back, FatWallet is offering double cash back until October 5th! That means 4% cash back, or $9.60!

ding ding ding! We have a winner!!

How to shop:
Click on the Bloomingdale's link. This brings you to a landing page that tells you all about special sales and coupon codes for Because affiliate sharing sites have relationships with the stores, they only post coupon codes sent to them by the merchant. This means they don't usually have the best selection of coupon codes.

Click "shop now" and a new page opens and directs you to Do not close this window! The special link that took you to Bloomingdales is now tracking your sale. Find your item and checkout like you normally do. Easy!

How to cash in:
As soon as Bloomingdale's reports your sale to FatWallet, you'll receive an email letting you know that $9.60 cash has been credited to your FatWallet account. Most stores report the sale in a couple of weeks. Some stores don't report the sale until the return period is over (usually 30-60 days if you're buying something from a site like Ebates sales are usually reported in a matter of days, but you may have to wait for a store's return period to lapse.

FatWallet - As soon as your cash back is available, you can have the funds transferred to your paypal account. You also have the option of receiving a standard check by mail for your cash. If you choose this option, you must wait until you have at least $10 in your FatWallet account.

Ebates - Every 3 months, you'll receive payment for the cash back accrued during that period. if you've accrued less that $5.01, you won't receive payment--the cash will be carried over to the next month's pay period. This table is provided by ebates, for better clarification:

Ebates will pay you via paypal, standard check, or check to an organization or charity of your choosing.

You'd be amazed at the number of stores offering cash back through Ebates and FatWallet, and new merchants are added all the time!

Happy shopping!

Friday, August 7, 2009

How to find coupon codes

Photo by BhuddaGurl via flickr

This is not my kid. Were he mine, I'd have him doing something waaaay more important than clipping coupons, like laundry.

I don't waste time with scissors just to save 20 cents on milk. But when it comes to coupon codes, the savvy
ecomm shopper can save 15, 20, 30, 50, 75%! Free shipping! $50 off!

Finding coupon codes (often known as promo codes) is easy. A google search is one place to start:

The problem with using a google search for well known stores is that you're going to have to weed through a lot of results. Sites like will pop up, but they have a running list of the most popular online stores on their site, so google is going to include them in your search results whether they have current codes listed or not. I'd save google for the more obscure stores and use top coupon sites like these to look for BananaRepublic codes:

These sites have user submitted codes. If a coupon for a popular brick and mortar (i.e. physical store) isn't on these sites, you're probably out of luck. But don't give up!

Your next step to savings is to head over to
ebay or craigslist. Here, you can purchase coupons from other shoppers. Here's how it works:

Say you're a big time
Jcrew shopper. You make your purchase, and when your new khakis (what else would you be buying?) arrive at your door, the box contains an extra surprise--a coupon code! Yes, a little postcard with a code of various letters and numbers, promising $15 off purchases of $75, $20 off $100, and $50 off $200!! Holy crap! It's a veritable preppy wet dream! Jcrew is smart enough to realize that if you're likely to make one purchase, you can be encouraged (tricked?) into making more. And what better way to encourage you to spend than to make a sliding scale of savings?! Sure, that $15 off $75 is awesome, but who wouldn't rather save $50!! These are the most precious commodity in the coupon world because they're one-time-use coupons. That means you have an exclusive, my dear, because you won't find these on any websites.

But, being the smarty that you are, you read the fine print and see that this code expires in 1 week. Knowing that you've met your khaki quota for the month, you list your code on
craigslist. There, a khaki-loving accountant who's itching to spend $250 at Jcrew snaps up your code for $10. He saves $40, you make $10. Thank you, Al Gore, for this beautiful thing called the internet.