How to maximize Amazon

I don’t think I need to tell you much about Amazon.com

Depending on your love of online shopping and deals, you might even have Amazon Prime.  Even though I love both online shopping and deals, I do not have Prime. I did have it when I was a student and I’ll occasionally take advantage of a few free months of Prime, but generally I find it easy to spend $35 on the website.

Now that we’ve covered that, here is how I shop Amazon.
1. I start my shopping at http://smile.amazon.com  -> this link allows you to shop like normal BUT by starting here, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.

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2. If I come for a purpose and the total is over $35, then I’m done.  If it’s not $35, I will check a few things:

  • Is the item available for subscribe & save?  Subscribe & save lets you save up to 15% and you receive FREE shipping on thousands of products. You can set how often you want the product mailed and cancel at any time. Sometimes I will order it this way and then immediately put the subscription on hold. (You save even more if you have 5 subscribe & save items a month).

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  • If not $35, I’ll check the subscribe and save coupons to see if I can find a deal.

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  • Next, I’ll check the Amazon deal’s section. The “Outlet” section has some great overstock grocery items!

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  • If I’m in a hurry, don’t need anything else and don’t want to buy something just for the sake of it, then I’ll ask a family member or friend to borrow their Prime, however, this rarely ever happens.

3. Sometimes I just go to Amazon to browse. Most of the time I browse my favorite clothing brands to see if I can find a deal.  For example, I love AG jeans and can often get a great pair over 70% off. Delman shoes can also be a real steal on Amazon.

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How to maximize RetailMeNot

Today, we kick off the series of exploring top coupon and retail sites to give you insights on how to use them most effectively. One of the best sites for finding deals is retailmenot.com. Retailmenot.com is based in Austin, TX, has been around since 2009 and went public in 2013. Their stock ticker is SALE, how cool is that?

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I was an early adapter of retailmenot.com because it had the most online coupons in one place AND the site is incredibly user friendly. I love that you can search by store because that means you can get access to a store’s coupon codes without having to fill your inbox with emails. Additionally, retailmenot.com often has very obscure coupons that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. For example, I often use it to save $ on airport parking or when buying a gift at a specialty store. The other great thing about retailmenot.com is that you can scroll through a host of deals and pick the best one for what you are buying.

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In the past, you could see all of the codes and try them out at checkout. However, now you have to click to uncover the code and it takes you directly to the website and adds the code to your cart. This might be great for many shoppers, but not for me or my Scoop On Coupon shoppers! Once I find the code I want, I have maximized retailmenot.com and it’s time to move on to another site to save more money.  The reason is that retailmenot.com keeps your referral or click-through $, but you don’t have to let them.

In Coupon101, I suggest some tips to save more and now it is time to maximize your referral. Evrewards.com is great for aggregating all rewards, but I prefer ebates, so I will use that. For example, there is a shirt I want on bananarepublic.com that costs $50. I find a code on retailmenot.com to save 20% (great!), but if I go directly from retailmenot.com to banana republic.com my savings ends there. Therefore, I go to ebates and see that I can get 5% cash back, I will save an additional $2 ($50 -$10 from the code = $40 *.05 = $2) and pay I $38 instead of $50. While this additional $2 may seem small, it starts to add up and it is fun to get a quarterly check in the mail from ebates. (Please note this is a made up example!

While I love everything about retailmenot.com (except there lack of referral bonus), I am also excited to see that retailmenot.com is expanding internationally with brands in 7 countries. I recently spent 2 months in India and wasn’t able to find the site useful then, but they are still growing. Today, retailmenot.com has 15MM unique visitors and 28MM email subscribers, so this is a company here to stay!

To recap:

Pros: One stop shop to find online coupon codes. There is not a more extensive site to be found.

Cons: Retailmenot.com keeps your click-through value, money that you could be keeping yourself.

Wishlist: I have no idea how much money I’ve saved throughout the years by using this site and it would be cool to see!

For more on how to maximize your online shopping trip, visit: Coupons101