So, we operate on the motto of never paying full price for anything, if we can help it, so that means hunting down online deals, using coupons and rainchecks for grocery purchases, buying used, and finding sales on items we need/want. Basically, it's "Use it up, wear it out, fix it up, make it do or do without" (modified from My Frugal Life).
For those of you who have not yet discovered Frugal Coupon Living and are online deal stalkers like we are, this might be your new best friend! (I've added a button to the blog if you want to link up from here any other day.) Today, they're featuring Crocs that are on sale (including women's Primas for $9.99... I know the Purser family is loving this!) and Vera Bradley bags for $12.00! How amazing... Anyway, they post online deals daily.
I've mentioned 6pm.com before, which posts daily updates at 6pm of a range of clothing and accessory items. We've also had success with Woot.com for a variety of electronic and small appliance items. New Egg is great for tech deals, including computers and data storage devices.Steep and Cheap is another favorite for outdoors stuff and rugged clothing, and is especially popular in our area with all the outdoors activities in which people participate. Of course, you can always check clearance sections of websites for items. Sometimes, this is a great score for Pottery Barn items, Land's End, L.L. Bean, and others when you've been eyeing a pricey item for a while.
Benny has become a master at finding coupon codes to pair with already reduced prices. Often you can find these for free shipping, a percentage off, or other deals ($25 off $100 purchase, etc.). Sometimes, this is how we purchase gifts, so that we get a quality item at a price that our budget will handle, but we don't look "cheap". RetailMeNot.com is one coupon code forum that is essentially an online database for all things coupon. There are several others out there if you do a basic internet search for them. If there's a product you're wanting, before purchasing it online, do a search for a coupon code (i.e. "crocs coupon code") and you're sure to come up with several hits.
We also make sure that we're safe in our online purchases by using a "fake" card number, that we generate using a function that came with our credit card. This way, the transaction is only for that specific amount tied to that "fake" number, and the fake number links to our real card. However, the retailer does not have our card number and it's not floating out there online, so it's safer than just putting in our card number. (As an aside, we put everything we can on the credit card and pay it off each month. This way, we earn cash back that goes into an account set up as a high interest account. We've tried other rewards cards, but this seems to be the best fit for us, since it earns rewards on any purchase and not just select ones. We are sure to pay it off each month, though, so that we don't accrue interest.)
One of the things we have to be careful about is setting a limit on such purchases and discussing purchases with each other. Almost any purchase we make is discussed, large or small, and we weigh the pros and cons before purchasing. For example, I love the Primas that are on sale right now, but will need to decide whether or not I want to give up a pair of shoes I have to have the Primas... or if they're even worth the $10 right now, or if that money will be better spent somewhere else, or saved in our emergency fund.
So how do you find deals online? How do you decide if it's a deal worth buying, or if you're going to make do with something else? What do you to "Use it up, wear it out, fix it up, make it do or do without" and stretch your budget?