1. Use Tablespoon.com to get free recipes and coupons.
I love Tablespoon because I don’t have a lot of time to spend on weekly meal planning. Within Tablespoon, I can find easy recipes for meals and snacks, then head on over to their coupons section for printable or digital coupons to make the recipes I’ve selected.
2. Know stores’ markdown schedules.
Most stores get busy on the weekends, so expect to pay full price then, but be aware there are exceptions (e.g., Kohl’s often does “flash sales” starting Friday night and ending on Saturday morning, and Target marks down a different department each weekday). Many retailers like to do markdowns on slower sales days like Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which makes mid-week a great time to snag fresh markdowns.
3. Save 5% on all Target purchases with the REDcard.
Get 5% off all purchases automatically with the free Target REDcard (available in a debit or credit card). You can also get free shipping at Target.com and an extra 30 days to make your returns. Periodically Target also offers other perks to REDcard holders, such as free drinks at the Target Café. You can get a free Target REDCard by completing an application online or in your local store.
4. Learn how to read price tags.
When you learn to decode each retailer’s price tags, you can often sleuth out whether you’re getting the best price or if you should wait a bit longer.
Here are some examples:
- At Costco, items that have been marked down always end in a $0.97.
- At Target, prices ending in $0.04 are at their lowest markdown price.
- At Gap, prices ending in $0.97 are known as “price kills.”
5. Earn with Swagbucks anytime you need extra cash.
Swagbucks is one of the best ways to earn extra cash anytime you have an extra minute or two. Swagbucks gives you plenty of easy quick ways to earn, including taking polls and surveys, shopping online, trying out video games, and watching videos.
When you’re ready, transfer your earnings to gift cards or to a PayPal card to use like cash.
6. Price match items in-store and online.
In general, if you present digital or print proof of the competitor’s lower price within the retailer’s time frame (usually 7-14 days) you can get a refund of the difference.
7. Stack coupons online and at the register.
Did you know you could stack up to four coupon codes at Kohls.com? Collect discount codes via retailer text alerts, look on the retailer’s website for special sales and promotional codes, and follow KCL for the best stacking scenarios.
In-store coupon stacking varies by store, but generally you can stack store coupons with manufacturer coupons on top of rebate offers and store card discounts. For example, at Target, get 5% off automatically when you pay with your REDCard. Use the Cartwheel app to nab in-store savings. Visit KCL for manufacturer coupons to print, and stack all of those on top of Target’s weekly deals and store coupons.
8. Don’t pay shipping; use in-store pickup instead.
Why pay shipping again when most major retailers offer free in-store pickup? Most stores will have your items available that same day when you order online.
Related: Learning How to Coupon in a Big City
9. Use Ibotta for cash back on groceries.
With Ibotta, unlock extra cash in the form of rebates by completing simple tasks like sharing the product to your social media accounts, reading about a new product, or taking a short survey. This “unlocks” the rebate so you can redeem it by using the app to scan your receipt after purchase.
10. Follow brands on social media for exclusive deals.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare…if your favorite retailers are on social media, you can bet they are handing out sweet exclusive discounts and deals to their followers. Sephora, for example, releases free sample coupon codes to Facebook followers on Fridays.
Know what the best brands to follow are here.
11. Visit Raise to score discounted gift cards.
Find discounts off face value at Raise.com of up to 70% for both physical and electronic gift cards.
12. Get shipping, cloud storage, and movies for free with Amazon Prime.
Amazon Prime is still one of the best deals around for saving money in all sorts of ways. From free 2-day shipping to access to special deals and sales, free unlimited movies and television programs, unlimited music streaming from the Amazon music library, more than half a million free e-books and much more.
13. Find free stuff using Facebook Groups.
Of all the features Facebook offers, Groups is probably one of the least well understood—or at least it was for me. But once I did a search inside Facebook Groups for “local buy/sell/swap/freebie groups,” all that changed. I found out I could snag items I would have paid full price for at a discount, via a swap or even just as a freebie!
14. Control mobile data use and overages with Onavo Extend.
Onavo Extend is a free app (iOS, Android) to help you control data use and avoid overage charges. The app runs continuously in the background to compress data before it’s received by your device.
You can adjust the settings (for instance, to improve image quality) to get the perfect balance of data and savings. You can also view real-time data savings at any time from the settings menu.
15. Sign up for retailer text notifications.
Text alerts can save you money in two ways: by sending you discount codes you can use later, and by offering you text-based incentives to save while you’re in the store through in-store promotions.
My favorite text alerts come from these retailers:
- Old Navy: Text 6046 to 653689.
- Kohls: Text SAVE15 to KOHLS.
- Target: Text COUPONS to 827438.
16. Embrace the new sharing economy with cheap services from Uber and Rover.com.
With Uber, you can slice the cost of paid fares in half or pick up extra cash when you have free time. On average, Uber drivers make anywhere from $12 to $19 per hour. Like Uber, Rover.com puts pet-sitting services in the hands of individuals. Read reviews on sitters (or become one yourself) and find a trustworthy one for less than most corporate pet-sitting services.
17. Use Mint to stay on budget.
Mint helped me join the one-third of Americans who have a budget—and it didn’t cost me a dime. I added my accounts and credit cards, and it immediately synced everything together. Mint also comes with me on my phone via the free app, so I never miss a bill payment when traveling.