64+ Easy Ways to Save Money Online
The internet marketing blogosphere spends a lot of time talking about how to make money online (and rightly so), but very little is said about ways to save money online.
Everything else held equal, saving $1 has the same effect on your bank account as earning $1. Often times, the process of saving money can be “passive” just like income, in that you can make changes that have residual effects or recurring benefits.
My post about 142+ ways to make money online was so popular that I thought I’d do a similar one about saving money. I put a lot of time into this post, so hopefully you will find it useful.
Note: Many of the links below are affiliate links. In some cases, if you sign up to a particular service or make a purchase, I will receive a commission. I have only included affiliate links on the products or services that I have personally used or experienced. The bottom line is, I want this article to be a valuable resource for you, not simply a source of income for me.
Getting Cash Back on Online Puchases
Here are several sites that will give you a rebate for purchases you make online (e.g. You might spend $100 at Walmart.com and get $8 back if they offer an 8% rate of cash back through one of the sites listed below).
- eBates - This is probably the easiest way to save money on purchases you make online because you’ll get a % of your purchase back in cash from over 1,500 stores, including most of the places you probably already shop (Walmart, Amazon, Staples, Kohl’s, Walgreens, and many more). Sign up for free and get a $10 gift card after your first $25 purchase (this is in addition to whatever % cash you’ll be getting back).
- BigCrumbs - I’ve only recently started using BigCrumbs and it seems promising. They have just about as many stores as eBates but they pay cash rebates monthly (instead of quarterly like eBates) and claim to offer more cash back (I haven’t used it enough yet to verify that claim). They’re reputable though and have been around for 7+ years. I’d start with eBates for the inital bonus, but then from there, use BigCrumbs if/when they have better deals.
- Mr. Rebates - This site has the same exact concept as eBates, and also has 1,500+ stores to choose from. Since it’s free to sign up and use, I like to use this in conjunction with eBates and BigCrumbs in case they ever have a store that the others don’t have or perhaps offers more cash back from a particular place that I want to buy from. You get $5 free for signing up, however I generally prefer eBates due to the $10 gift card bonus and they tend to have better deals for what I’m looking for.
- Upromise - This is a cash back site with a very unique angle. When you shop online, the money you get back can be used to pay off a student loan, be put into a college savings account (529 Plan), or paid to a college for tuition. While it’s essentially the same as getting cash back, it’s a nice way to help you or someone you know save for college.
- ShopAtHome.com – Similar to the above sites, but no signup bonus.
Here’s a clip from a FOX News story that explains how eBates (and pretty much all other cash back sites) work:
“Daily Deal” Sites
These sites have taken the coupon concept to the next level, offering deep discounts (50-80% off) on food, household services (cleaning, etc.) and many other products and services. The wonderful thing is, these sites are all free to join and you can use any or all of them.
- Groupon – Although they weren’t the original “daily deal” site, they’re credited for being the site that made the daily deal concept so widespread and recognizable. If you’re not in the U.S. or live in a small city, you might not get a lot of value from Groupon, but it’s great for those in or near larger cities. I regularly (at least 1-2 times per month) make purchases from Groupon. Generally, I’m purchasing “Groupons” for restaurants. It’s a great way to try a new restaurant for (usually) 50%+ off the regular price.
- Restaurant.com – This technically isn’t a daily deal site, but I list it here because it accomplishes the same thing: deep discounts on restaurant food. The way it typically works, for example, is you will spend $10 for a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant (so it’s essentially a $15 discount). What I like though is that they often run deals where you can get the $25 gift certificate for only $3, so the discounts can be even larger. Depending on your city, they have a great selection of restaurants to choose from.
- Living Social - Similar to Groupon, but tends to have less of a selection. I’ll use this too periodically, if an offer interests me.
- Google Offers – Also like Groupon and Living Social, although I tend to find more national deals here (e.g. I previously purchased a $10 voucher for Starbucks, for $5).
- Rue La La – This one is a bit different than the others because it focuses on products that aren’t food-related. Most of what the site sells is high-end fashionable clothes and home goods. My girlfriend buys things from there all the time, which is why I’m so familiar with it. While I will admit it’s geared toward women, they also have stuff for men. It’s a good place to buy premium, brand name products at reasonable prices.
- Gilt – This is another one that my girlfriend and I have used, similar to Rue La La. I like Gilt more because there’s a better selection of home goods (usually) and men stuff. Again, high quality products for reasonable prices.
- Woot! - I like to think of Woot! as a daily deal site with personality. They’ve been around forever, possibly longer than Groupon (I think). They’re now owned by Amazon, but they still operate as the same daily deal site they’ve always been. They tend to put focus on one deal per day, but across various categories, you can see several deals each day.
- Thrillist – This a more “hip” site that’s probably geared towards men (although they definitely have deals on things that appeal to both genders, including food).
- EverSave – This site is a cross between a daily deal site and a coupon site (I’ve listed the coupon sites below).
- Deal Find
- 1 Sale a Day
These are exactly what they sound like – sites that allow you to print/download coupons. Unlike the “daily deal” sites, these are more like the traditional coupons you’re used to (for groceries, etc.).
- Coupons.com - It’s just what it sounds like. All you need to do is sign up, download their coupon printer (it’s legit, don’t worry), and print out any coupons that look attractive to you. These are normal, manufacturer coupons like saving $1 on a six-pack of Pepsi or $1.50 on two boxes of General Mills cereal (for example).
- RetailMeNot – Another site with coupons, but these tend to go beyond just manufacturer coupons. For example, you can find GoDaddy coupon codes for domains, and other similar online services/products.
- Save1 - Save1 is a family owned coupon and loyalty site representing more than 5,000 of the top online merchants. What makes them different from other similar sites is that when someone shops from Save1 to save money, they provide a healthy meal to a malnourished child through one of their non-profit feeding partners.
- SmartSource – Similar to Coupons.com, has a lot of manufacturer coupons to use in stores.
- Coupon Cabin – This site is very similar to RetailMeNot.
- Savings Mania
- The Bargainist
Getting Rid of Cable TV
Up until recently, I was paying $146/month for high-speed cable internet and TV (with an HD DVR box, which made it more expensive). Yes, Comcast is expensive, at least in Chicago (where it’s basically your only option for high-speed internet and digital cable TV). One day, I took a step back and said “wow, why am I paying this much?”
I was able to cancel the cable TV portion of my subscription and now I only pay $40/month for internet. To fill the TV void, here are a few things I purchased:
- Netflix – Good selection of streaming TV and movies, and if you want to pay a little more, you can get DVDs by mail. I pay for the streaming only plan ($7.99/month), which I stream through Play Station 3. Today, there are probably at least a dozen devices aside from your PC where you can stream Netflix.
- Hulu Plus – I find Hulu Plus fills the primary void of Netflix – TV episodes for the current season. Not only do they have current season episodes of most TV shows, but their general TV show library is a lot deeper than Netflix. This is also $7.99/month and I stream it via my Play Station 3. You can get a free trial here.
- The Leaf - Finally, for local TV channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, and more depending on where you live), I use the Leaf antennae to get HD TV. This fills the primary void of Netflix and Hulu Plus – you can watch your local news, sports, and anything else that appears on network TV stations. Sure, you can get by without this, but if you have a HDTV, you’ll want to be able to watch these channels in HD. There’s no monthly cost for The Leaf (it’s about $40 to purchase).
All in all, I’m spending $56/month for internet and TV, a nice savings ($90) from what I was paying before, and I don’t feel like I’m missing much.
Deal Aggregation Sites
These are sites that I follow regularly to see when any good deals pop up. Most of the time, I’m looking for deals on electronics, but they will highlight any and every deal that they come across online or in retail stores.
- Slickdeals.net - This one is my favorite, and they have a pretty robust forum where you can find deals that just came out (before the site editor has a chance to put it on the front page). This is a community of serious bargain-hunters who don’t mind sharing a good deal when they see one. Highly recommended.
- Fat Wallet – Another good site like Slickdeals, but I don’t visit it nearly as often. They also have coupons and cash-back deals similar to some of the other sites mentioned above.
- Ben’s Bargains
- Tech Bargains
- My Bargain Buddy
Price Comparison Sites
When you’re going to buy something, especially if it’s a “big ticket” item, you obviously want to get the best price on it. That’s beauty of price comparison websites – they they pull prices from all over the internet for whatever you’re searching, and show you where the best deal is.
- BizRate – One of the most popular price comparison sites online. Just type in whatever you’re looking for, click search, and compare prices.
- Price Grabber – Another very popular price comparison site that I’ve used several times.
- Google Product Search – Google’s price comparison search engine. It’s a Google application, so you know it’s good.
- PriceWatch – I almost view this one like the “Craigslist” of price comparison sites. It’s ugly looking, but very useful.
- Yahoo! Shopping
- CNET Shopper
Saving Money on Travel
These could have gone with the “price comparison” sites, but because searching for airfare and hotel is so different from buying merchandise online, I figured it deserves its own category.
- Expedia – I’ve used this to book many trips, and always feel like I’m able to get a good deal on an airfare + hotel package. No issues, so I highly recommend them.
- Travelocity - Another travel price comparison site like Expedia.
Auction & Classified Ad Sites
These are sites where you can buy products from other people, often used and at a big discount. Whenever you’re buying something used or buying from someone you don’t know, just be sure to take caution. Many of the big online auction sites have rating systems so that you can make sure you’re dealing with reputable sellers.
- eBay - The world’s largest online auction site. You can literally find anything and everything here, both new and used. I’ve sold and purchased many things on eBay over the past 10 years. If you do a little research, you can almost always get a good deal on whatever you’re seeking.
- Craigslist - Classified ads site that is free to use (both for selling and buying). It doesn’t have a ratings system like eBay, so you have to take extra caution when buying something here. I’ve used it many times without a problem though, both as a buyer and a seller.
- Backpage - Similar to Craigslist.
- Half.com - Owned by eBay, this is a site where you can buy and sell used books, music, movies, etc. The main difference between this site and eBay is that products are not sold in an auction format.
- eBid – Another online auction site.
- uBid – Online auction site.
- OLX – Another online classifieds site.
Budgeting/Saving Money/Coupon Blogs
Here are some of the more popular blogs that discuss things like budgeting, “extreme couponing”, and other similar topics. You might find some good ideas along with further links to good deals or coupons.
- Coupon Mom
- The Krazy Coupon Lady
- Coupon Geek
- Common Sense with Money
- Money Saving Mom
- Fabulessly Frugal
- Bargain Briana
- Stretching a Buck
That’s everything! I will probably come back to this page and update it periodically as I find new sites or as people recommend them to me. You may want to bookmark it for future reference.
What do you think? Do you have anything I should add to this list? Please share your feedback in the comments!
I did spend a lot of time putting this list together, so if you want to say “thank you,” please share this on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you like to share things. Thanks!