The Smart Shoppers Guide to Save on Things You’re Already Buying

Despite the stigma, saving money doesn’t have to take a whole lot of effort. In fact, you can save hundreds of dollars just by buying things you normally would! This shoppers guide to save money reveals all the kickbacks you’ve been missing out on, including what tools give you the best discounts.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Despite the stigma, saving money doesn't have to take a whole lot of effort. In fact, you can save hundreds of dollars just by buying things you normally would! These six tips reveal all the kickbacks you've been missing out on, including what tools give you the best discounts.

Despite the stigma, saving money doesn’t have to take a whole lot of effort. There are so many ways to manage money better just by doing normal, everyday activities—like shopping at the grocery store, buying household items online….even paying your phone bill!

Kind of a relief yes?

It’s incredibly refreshing to realize how much you can save without spending a lot of time doing it. Instead of devoting hours of your day to clipping coupons or making all your meals from scratch, now we can earn just as much from a simple click of a button, or because we signed up for a specific {but totally FREE} program.

These six tips reveal all the kickbacks you’ve been missing out on, including what tools give you the best discounts. Saving money has never been so easy!

1. Use a Cash Back Website

Ever heard of Rakutan? Trust me when I say you need this money saving making tool in your life! Rakutan is basically a cash back website that pays you to shop online. I’ve personally earned over $1,600 dollars in cash back since I signed up three years ago, and I’m buying things online like I normally would.

Rakutan offers cash back for pretty much every store imaginable {JCPenney, Target, Overstock, and Groupon, to name a few}, plus they’re always running special double cash back promotion weeks so you get even more bang for your buck.

Right now, Rakutan is offering everyone a $10 gift card when you sign up and shop one of their 1,800 stores. Once you make (at least) a $25 purchase, they’ll send you your bonus. You can even earn money by referring Rakutan to all your friends too!


2. Search for a Coupon (or Coupon Code)

The biggest downfall of coupons {at least for me}, is the time spent clipping them, then tediously matching up those coupons with sales. I have friends who really enjoy doing this, and if that’s you, then please do not feel bad just because I’m not a fan!

However, I DO use coupons for brand name items I always purchase. At this point, I figure it’s a no-brainer to do a quick search before I leave the house. Mainly because I can usually find one, but also because it doesn’t take me that long to search.

Here’s my process:

  1. I first start with the retailer’s website. It’s crazy how many brands will give you a coupon in exchange for an email address!
  2. If I can’t find one listed there, I’ll do a search on
  3. If is a bust, I do a quick Google search with the time frame going back no more than a week.

That’s it! If I don’t find a coupon in those three places, I’m not going to waste any more time looking for one.

For online purchases, I never checkout without looking at for a current coupon code. I also search my junk email address {where I sign up for retailer email lists} just in case any recent promotions were sent there as well.

3. Use a Credit Card with Cash Back Rewards

Sometimes I get flack for being pro-credit card, but if you treat your credit card like cash, and pay it off every month in full, then I see absolutely no problem in having one.

In fact, the main reason why I use a credit card is for the rewards. I have successfully earned almost two thousand dollars during the past 4 years just by using my credit card. Yes, the credit companies are paying me to buy items I actually need—like my heath insurance, gas for my car, and even my monthly phone bill!

My two favorite cards are Discover and Chase. Discover gives double cash back for the first year you use them, and Chase gives you a $150 bonus after you make your first $500 in purchases. Both offer cash back percentages between 1-5%, depending on the category.

Credit Cards | Creative Savings

4. Join a Loyalty or Rewards Program

I’m a huge fan of businesses who reward me for their loyalty. It’s like an extra kickback for my normal everyday spending, and there’s so many programs available now!

Just be sure to join programs that are truly worth it. I’ve been guilty of signing up for every program I possibly could, but then because I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t end up using any of them. Pick a core selection of 5-7 good ones, then rack up those rewards! 

Psst….you can find a list of my favorite rewards programs HERE.

5. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

A few years ago I would have never considered buying gift cards for myself, but now I do it ALL the time! It makes sense, really. If you have a store or restaurant you constantly visit, why not get more bang for your buck with a discounted card? The value stays the same, but you pay less!

Favorite places to score discounted gift cards:

  • I’ve also used them to sell unwanted gift cards too.
  • Sam’s Club. They offer gift cards in bulk for a tiny discount.
  • I recently scored a $25 Papa Johns gift card for just $15, plus it also came with vouchers for two FREE pizzas!
  • Restaurants around Christmastime. They always offer those “Buy $25, Get $5” kind of deals.

Depending on the offer, some discounts are amazing, others, very minimal. But as long as you buy a gift card you know you’re going to use, it’s worth every penny.

Papa Johns Groupon Deal

6. Purchase from a different store

You can work your cash back, coupons, and rewards programs from every angle imaginable, but when you can’t lower an expense {like groceries} any further, it’s best to switch to a different store altogether.

I recently did this and am still trying to get over my Publix breakup. I LOVE Publix, but it seemed like lately the prices were getting downright ridiculous. I finally made the switch to Winn Dixie, and even though my shopping experience isn’t the best anymore, my grocery budget is now the healthiest it’s ever been.

Other places to shop at are Dollar Stores (I stock up on all my frozen fruit there), Aldi, Save-A-Lot, and a bulk store like Sam’s Club or Costco. I priced out 20-25 different items that we use every week at Sam’s Club, and they were a lot less expensive.

Once you see how easy it is to save money, you might just be inspired to tackle a slightly bigger challenge. I have just the thing for you! In a couple of weeks, I’ll be releasing my first book called, 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses. I’m super excited!

This book is jam-packed with practical advice to slash costs, lower monthly bills, and put more money in your bank account every month. It will be crazy discounted for the first 24 hours, so hop on my mailing list and I’ll notify you the moment it releases!

How do you save money on everyday items?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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    1. You aren’t a weird weirdo, Natalie! You’re an awesome finance girl who doesn’t use credit cards. Seriously, sometimes like I feel I’m the outcast {not by you} for even uttering the words “I use credit cards.” 🙂

  1. I signed up for ebates a while ago but I’d never started using it when I shopped until recently. I’m hooked! I just got $4 back for an online purchase at Kohl’s that I was going to make anyway! Before Ebates I used to use Swagbucks for all my cash back purchases, sometimes I still do, but Ebates is WAY better. I love being able to stack my Kohl’s cash and coupons for savings. I recently got $34 off my order just by using kohl’s cash and rewards in addition to a percentage off coupon from retailmenot. My inbox is always full of coupons and promotions so it’s easy to find some kind of discount.

      1. I was so nervous when I got my first credit card, I thought it was going to be a disaster. I have an Amazon rewards credit card and I love it. Plus i’m able to pay it off each month! Idk how I lived without my rewards!

        1. It’s good to be nervous with Credit Cards! Respect them, knowing that using them improperly will take you down a destructive path of debt. But using them and never paying a dime in interest can be a huge money saving opportunity.

  2. I have not tried Ebates yet, but I do use for clothing purchases. I refuse to be a coupon clipper because I just don’t want to take time to do it. Very helpful tips in this article. Thanks for posting!

    1. I understand you feelings about coupons. I really like Ebates because, especially on big purchases, it can save me a lot more than your typical coupon.

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