Hidden Money You Probably Don’t Know About: How to Save on Purchases You Are Already Making


I am always looking for the best deals that help me hold on to as much of my money as possible. Here are some tips that I use to get the most for my money.

Credit Card Reward Points

Some credit card issuers like Citibank offer reward points for using their card to make purchases. These are free to collect and are automatically added to your account with each purchase you make. Typically, it is a one-to-one match (one point for one dollar charged). These points can be traded for merchandise or checks. I ignored these for years, then discovered they had $600 they were willing to trade for some of my points. Free money!

Credit Card Cash Back

Some credit cards offer immediate cash back on purchases you are already making. The Blue Cash card from American Express offers from 1.25% to 5% cash back on purchases and there is no annual fee. Discover offers from 5% to 20% cash back on purchases made a select partner stores. Shell gives 1% cash back on gas purchases from their stations. The Chase Freedom card offer 5% cash back for selected categories of products, such as Home Improvement, each month. For anyone who remembers, there was a time when using a credit card would actually cost you money. As it was described then, you received a discount for paying with cash. Today, using credit cards will get you a discount!

Cash Back Programs

Stores pay to have customers sent their way through cash back programs. One of the most popular and trusted cash back programs is from Market America.

Available at cashback.mymarketpoint.com, it offers from 2%-55% cash back on purchases made at partner stores such as Old Navy, Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s, Home Depot and thousands more. This program is free to join and also pays you 1/2 % in purchases your friend’s make that you refer. Again, these are things you are already buying so it makes good financial sense.

For example, when booking travel recently, I started at www.mymarketpoint.com and booked through Travelocity. I got $22 in cash back for the same purchase I was going to make anyway.

Online Coupon Codes

Almost every store on the Internet offers discounts through codes that the customer enters at the time of purchase. These codes can be for cash or a percentage off merchandise, for free shipping or other discounts. There are multiple sites that offer aggregations of these codes such as dealnews.com or dealspl.us. Choosing any of the partner stores from Market America (www.mymarketpoint.com), you will also find plenty of online codes to use.

Compare Prices

The three sites previously mentioned, hotdeals.mymarketpoint.com, dealnews.com and dealspl.us as well as Pricegrabber,.com all collect the best deals on products. Find the best one, then check to see if it’s eligible for cash back as well.

Switch Products

Sometimes it makes sense to try something else. Don’t increase your buying, simply change what you buy. For example, we switched to this laundry detergent, bit.ly/snaplaundry, and now get close to three times as many loads with the same quality. We just had to give up our attachments to products we were used to using.

To help you find alternate products that cost less and/or provide cash back, try this online shopping list, bit.ly/shoplist. You choose the types of products you use and the list suggests products from multiple manufacturers.

In Practice

OK. So how does all of this work together. Today is April 5, 2011. I found this TV on dealnews.com: Toshiba 46″ 120Hz 1080p LED LCD HDTV w/ WiFi for $948 + free shipping available from Buy.com. I know that Buy.com is a Market America cash back partner and offers 3% cash back.

I go to www.mymarketpoint.com and search for the model number (46UX600U). I get results from Premier Partners (stores that list their products on mymarketpoint.com)

* newegg.com for $1499.99/ no cashback (too high)
* UnbeatableSale for $1332.61/$26.65 cashback (still too high)
* Compusa.com for $999.99/$20.00 cashback ($979.99 still to high)
* B&H Photo Global for $975.00/no cashback (just slightly too high)

I then check Pricegrabber.com just to be sure. Yep. Buy.com has the best price.

I go to www.mymarketpoint.com and click the Partners button. I scroll down to Buy.com and click through (this tells Market America to credit me the 3% cash back when I buy something from Buy.com).

Going through www.mymarketpoint.com gets me $28.44 in cashback. If I use a Discover card and get 5% cashback, that’s $47.40 cash back for a total of $75.84 in cash back. When combined with the sale price, the TV actually costs me $872.16.

Go Save Money

Combined, all of these methods can end up saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year.

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