I love shopping online. I purchase my business supplies - boxes, tape, labels, tissue, ink, printers, monitors, business cards, etc. - from large online retailers and small mom & pop stores. In fact, I can't think of the last business-related purchase that I didn't make online. But lest you think online shopping is for businesses only, I'll tell you that I've purchased personal products, furniture, rugs, and even artwork online! All at fantastic prices and all delivered to my door and most carried up our steep front steps as well! Now that's convenience that you can't get from shopping at your local stores. Even my groceries are delivered to my kitchen and I'm working on getting the delivery guy to put them away and start dinner.
I'm an avid online shopper out of necessity, but shopping online can be a budget-stretching activity as well! We all read the headlines, finances are tighter than ever for many Americans, but are you doing everything you can do to save when you shop online? All you need to do is know some of the tricks and where to look first for bargains.
I'll be sharing lots of money-saving tricks in the days and weeks to come, but for now we're going to talk about my two favorite personal shoppers - BIG CRUMBS and FatWallet. Both offer similar benefits. They offer cash back for purchases made through their links. The difference between the two are the retailers they offer and the structure for offering cash back.
FAT WALLET is a straight single-user plan - you find a retailer selling the item you want, you click on the link of FAT WALLET, and in a few weeks the percentage promised is deposited into your account ready to be withdrawn at your convenience by check or PayPal.
FAT WALLET has been around for years. My lifetime payout with them is $597.65, but the even bigger benefit are coupons which can be used in addition to the cash back. For example, on my last VistaPrint order I snagged a 50% off coupon and then shopped through the link which resulted in an additional $9.60 in cash back, so my total order was $79. A fantastic buy for 1500 postcards!
I've also purchase back-to-college clothes for my son with free shipping links and cash back from Zappos, Aeropostale, Nordstroms, and more. Cash back amounts range from 1% to 20%, with 3-5 being the average.
FAT WALLET has an active savings community and specials and deals from all over the Internet are posted by members in the forums for all to share. The community is very helpful and friendly, as the focus is on saving money and there's no competition for the dollars.
BIG CRUMBS is mostly based on referrals. When you sign up you decide what type of saver you want to be - single or multiple. Chose to be a single saver and you'll receive a larger cash back percentage As a multiple saver, you'll receive a percentage of the cash back earned by anyone you refer. The trade-off is you'll get a smaller percentage back on your own purchases. Only you can decide which is right for you. If you're not into trying to get people to sign up for things (think Amway of old) then single saver is probably best for you.
I know of several people who have referred thousands of savers and they're now making $600-$800 a month on those referrals without spending a dime. I believe I'm a more realistic saver - I earn about $40 a month for doing nothing but clicking on a link and referring one person.
BIG CRUMBS has many of the same retailers as FAT WALLET, however, the percentages are usually less than those offered at the FAT WALLET site and coupons are not as easily redeemed. They do however, offer users a percentage back on eBay purchases. I'm a frequent eBay shopper and coupons are rare, so this is a great way to save a bit on those purchases.
BIG CRUMBS has initiated some social networking but it's become a signpost to get others to sign up. They've tried to curb it, but they've not been very successful. I don't find it useful and the competition for referrals is fierce. I've not found the community to be friendly or helpful. I use the site to save money and do absolutely no social networking there.
WHICH TO CHOOSE?
Percentages and offers change constantly so before shopping any retailer I check both websites to see if they offer that webstore, what the percentage of cash back they offer is, and then shop through the best offer. Be careful though, if you use a coupon other than the one provided on the site, it may cancel out your link savings. I always calculate the savings between coupon farm coupons (sites that advertise coupon codes, many untried, and not meant to be shared) coupons and cash back links, and cashback-only links, and take the best deal.
Whether you're shopping online out of necessity, or just to have more choices than your local stores can carry, you can save money on your purchases with a little planning and a few minutes of research. I've been using my FAT WALLET checks for extra cash around the holidays and the monthly automatic deposit by BIG CRUMBS is a nice addition to my bank account.
I recommend you sign up for both and start saving!
Connie - The Blogging Queen at Princess Time Toys - "Behind the Pink Tissue"
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