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Online Coupon Codes

July 5, 2011 Leave a comment
Online Coupon Codes
“Barcode Discount Bag” by digitalart on freedigitalphotos.net

If you are purchasing things online without using coupon codes, then you are probably paying too much. There are various sites around that list coupon codes, also known as discount codes, for various online retailers. For example, back when I purchased my FICO scores from myFICO.com, I used a coupon code for 10% off that I found online. Everytime I shop online, I look for a coupon code. Even large shops like Amazon have promotions that they run from time to time that you may not know about. It never hurts to surf around the web.

It doesn’t matter how large or small your purchase is. I would suggest that you always look for a coupon code to try before you buy online. If you have ever been to retail stores in the mall, you know that coupons and discounts are not really “sweet deals.” The stores already have these coupons figured into their sales projections. The stores profit the most when shoppers purchase products at the full price. The same type of marketing goes on online. The truth of the matter is, online stores should be able to provide deeper discount since they have less overhead than a brick and mortar store.

The typical coupons that I have seen are for 10-15% off of an item. Many of them are for specific items or departments in an online store. One popular site that I go to is RetailMeNot and I have found countless coupon codes on there. Instead of pointing to a particular site, I would say Google is your best bet for finding the specific code that you’re looking for.

The worst that can happen is that your code doesn’t work and you end up purchasing something that you need at full price. The best that can happen is that your code works and you save some money. Try it out!

Categories: Discounts

Save with Priceline

July 1, 2011 Leave a comment
Save on Hotels with Priceline

Screenshot from priceline.com

Priceline has been around for awhile and has saved me a lot of money over the years. If you are okay with staying anywhere within a subset of a city, then this is the place to book your hotel. They also offer other things such as flights, car rental, vacations, and cruises. I’ve also used Priceline to rent a car before and it was a great experience. I won’t be covering the car rental in this article.

My Hotel Booking Experience

I recently went to Chicago on vacation and used Priceline to book my hotel. My transportation was 100% public so I didn’t have to rent a car. Chicago is a really great city, you should visit if you have never been there. When I went on Priceline, I was able to choose from several different areas of Chicago. I narrowed my choices down to “Millenium Park, Look & Grant Park Areas” and “North Michigan Ave – River North Area.” All the places I wanted to visit were around these areas. I was then able to choose between 1 and 4 stars for my desired hotel star level. Since I was hunting for a good deal, I started up top and chose 4 stars.

The next step was to research recent successful bids for the area. Priceline provides a link on their homepage that shows the most recent winning bids for the area that you input. I saw that there was a winning bid for a 4 star hotel downtown for $75 so I put in $70 as my bid. My bid was accepted and I found out that I was staying at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Their normal daily rate was upwards of $200, so I felt like I got a really good deal. In the back of my mind I kept thinking there had to be a catch.

The vacation was a while ago and I am happy to report that there wasn’t a catch. The hotel filled one of its empty rooms and Priceline’s business model works like a charm. If your initial bid is not accepted, don’t worry! Wait 24 hours and try again. Remember, wait the full 24 hours or else your wait timer might get reset. Make sure you book in advance so you can go through as many iterations of bidding as required to get a great deal! The winning bids fluctuate from season to season. I happened to visit Chicago when nothing was going on in the City so I was able to secure a rock bottom rate. YMMV.

There are various forums online that provide tips and tricks to bidding on Priceline. Make sure you Google them and read up. They also provide recent bids by people like yourself. Happy bidding!

Categories: Discounts

Aftermarket Discount Vouchers

June 28, 2011 Leave a comment
Aftermarket Discount Vouchers

Screenshot from lifesta.com

My research has led me to an interesting site that sells vouchers for daily deals that people do not want anymore. The theory is simple, people buy a deal on Groupon or a similar website and then sell it on Lifesta because they either don’t want to use it or can’t use it. Of course, all the deals listed on Lifesta are current. Many of the deals are at a discount to even the original deal price, but be careful. I’ve seen some that are more and those people are hoping you don’t see how much the original deal price was.

I think this website is a great way to save money. It won’t always have what you’re looking for, but it is worth it when it does. You can’t always count on someone selling the deal for less, many sell it at the same price as the deal value. There is a posting fee as well as a percentage cut that Lifesta takes from each sale. The transactions go through Lifesta so the seller doesn’t see your personal information.

Experience Lifesta!

I hope this site becomes more popular as group discount sites become more popular. So many of my friends don’t know about Lifesta. Heck, I didn’t even know about Lifesta until a few days ago!

Lifesta

Categories: Discounts

Discount Gift Cards

June 27, 2011 Leave a comment
Discount Gift Cards
“Color Ribbon and Bow 2” by fangol on sxc.hu

We have all received gift cards on our Birthday, Christmas, or some other special day. Most of mine have been thrown somewhere and forgotten. I remember years ago when Best Buy gift cards were given as the default gift to all men because we all loved electronics. I probably have upwards of $100 worth of Best Buy gift cards stashed somewhere, but I don’t remember where!

Buy and Sell Gift Cards Online

Others who have received gift cards that they do not want are selling them online through sites like eBay, Plastic Jungle, and Gift Card Granny. It makes sense to sell unused gift cards for some fraction of its face value and turn it into cash. Most of the cards that I have seen on these sites include free shipping and some sellers are willing to e-mail you the card number as a backup in case the card is lost in the mail.

Personally, I would suggest buying through a website with a guarantee and not straight through eBay. Note that I didn’t list Craigslist and that is because there is really no way to make sure the card is legit until it is too late. Gift Card Granny contains a listing of cards from many different discount gift card websites and has been the site that I use exclusively for my discount gift card purchases. There’s just something about a flying grandmother that makes me feel safe.

Categories: Discounts

Group Discount Sites

June 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Group Discount Sites

Group discount sites are so popular now and can be a great way to save money if used correctly. What do I mean by “if used correctly?” To answer that, let me highlight some reasons why I feel people are somewhat tricked by these sites.

Don’t Do It!

  • Buying a deal because it is “too good to pass up”
  • Buying a deal because someone you know bought it
  • Buying a deal for something you don’t need

Do It!

  • Buying a deal for something you do on a regular basis anyways
  • Buying a deal for something that you need

What I Buy

I buy a lot of restaurant deals because I like to try new restaurants. Recently I have been buying movie ticket deals because this summer’s movie lineup looks promising! I ignore most of the other Groupons because I don’t need a manicure, pedicure, massage, skin therapy, or photography lessons. Sites such as Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com offer extremely good deals, but you have to make sure you’re not buying the deals for the wrong reason.

Watch Out!

There are a few of these sites out there that I have found to be pretty worthless. They allow low quality companies to provide low quality deals. I won’t list them, but I will say that Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com have been the most consistent and high quality group discount sites that I have come across. I used to be signed up to receive e-mails from 6 such sites and now I only receive them from 2.

The Next Frontier

The trend out there seems to be group discount deals on traveling and hotels. LivingSocial.com has a program called “Escapes” and I suspect Groupon will have something similar soon if they don’t already. Groupon.com has a new program called “Now! Deals” that focus on deals that are in the here-and-now. These deals have to be used on a certain day between certain hours and expire quickly.

Bottom Line

These sites can either help or hinder your goal of net worth building. You’ll either come out ahead with discounts on products and events that you use and participate in regularly or you’ll buy more than you need. Most decisions in life can be likened to a double-edged sword. This is more like a double-edged, blunt, plastic sword. These sites are must-watch us young professionals. Just be careful out there okay?

Categories: Discounts