2 Online Shopping Habits That Save Big Money

Yeah, that title sounds like one of those corny Shamwow infomercials with only “90 low payments of $49.95!” Ick. Sorry. Next channel, please.

I love sharing my latest DIY projects and thrift store makeovers and all that, but every now and then I discover a budget shopping tip that I feel like I need to pass along to my closest girlfriends and/or shout from the rooftops. I part of me really doesn’t like talking about money; it makes me squeamish. But if I can share my personal experiences to help others, I’m all for it.

This one I just tested out last week might be the best one I’ve ever found. And that’s sayin’ something.

(Referral links are provided in this post for convenience. For more information, see my full disclosure here.)

2 Online Shopping Habits That Save Big Money

A while back I told y’all about my favorite sources for buying affordable home decor and how to stack coupons on top of sales. It works really really well. So much that I never pay full retail for anything. Ever. It can be a little time consuming searching around trying to find the best coupon codes to use though. And it’s easy to forget.

But the other day, I stumbled upon a much faster way to find the best online shopping discounts and get cash back on top of any purchases by using two apps- Honey and Ebates. (This isn’t a sponsored post or anything like that. I just really like these apps.)

honey ebates

In one week of online purchases (which was only three really), I ended up saving $151.26. Dude! And I’m not really a shopaholic by any means.

2 Online Shopping Habits That Save Big Money (2 of 2)

If you’ve never heard of them, here’s how they work.

Create an account in Honey and Ebates, and then to make them easily accessible, download the Chrome Extensions for both. (Those are my referral links by the way.)

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Those two little buttons in the corner of my Chrome browser are the apps. That look like this:

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I can go shopping online like normal (or you know… in my case, usually add items to my cart as a wish list thinking the shopping fairy will magically drop it all off at my doorstep).

Then, at checkout, click the Ebates browser button and “Activate Cash Back” button.

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Depending on which site you’re shopping from, you’ll earn a percentage back from your online purchase. I like Ebates the best because it’s actual cash you get back rather than a gift card. And it appears in your account within 48 hours, so you really don’t have to wait around for it like I’ve seen on other rebate sites.

Some stores will earn you 10% back, some will earn a measly 1% back, but every little bit counts in my book. And those percentages can really add up, especially since they’re purchases you’re already making anyway.

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Clicking the Ebates button will show current sales on the site too and sometimes a few coupons, but I haven’t found as many discounts on Ebates as I have on Honey. It’s still a great snapshot tool to see what items are currently on sale though.

Once you activate the Ebates cash back button, fill in your checkout information like you normally would. Usually a Honey popup will slide across the screen to ask if you would like for it to search for coupon codes. (Uh… duh! Gimme all the coupons.)

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Click the “Try Codes” button, and Honey will automatically try out all of the coupon codes it can find until it can get you the lowest price in your shopping cart.

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Sometimes Honey won’t have any luck since the available coupon codes depend on that particular store where you’re shopping. So far, it’s been a dud on Amazon for me.

But I’ve had great success with it on every day purchases like Old Navy when it gave me a 40% off coupon when I desperately needed some summer clothes last week. And it found a 20% off code through 1800Flowers when I needed to send an arrangement to a loved one.

I like to follow up with it by checking RetailMeNot and Groupon to be sure I’m getting the best codes, but having the Honey app popup at check out is still a great reminder to me to apply those coupon codes before clicking “Place Order” in case I forget. Most of the time, Honey has still found the best codes.

After I place the order, I can see my cash back balance on Ebates within 48 hours and have the money deposited into my Paypal account without having to worry about any fees.

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The cash back percentage from Old Navy and Toys R Us were pretty skimpy, but many other stores offer more than they do. Combined with the coupon codes Honey dug up for me, I saved $151.26 in three purchases.

The one little downside about the Ebates / Honey combo is it doesn’t work on groceries, but I’ve used Coupons.com and the app Ibotta for food purchases, which works similarly using rebates scanned from your phone at the grocery store register.

2 Online Shopping Habits That Save Big Money (1 of 2)

Whew! Was that the most long winded budget shopping lesson or what? They’re two habits I’ll absolutely be using from now on though.

Do you have any favorite money-saving apps? Or know of any other cash back programs? I’m still fairly new to it, but I’m wishing I’d known about it sooner.

If you’re wanting any other budget shopping tips, I shared more of my favorites in these posts:

Best Kept Online Shopping Secret (1 of 1)

where to buy industrial farmhouse decor


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  1. Holy crappinannies!! With your graciously shared resources and saving tips I have managed to save approximately 500.00 thus far in our remodel/get ready for sale/staging of our house. Loved your budget deco e-course too BTW! Your blog is one I readily identify with as we are going through the process of personalizing a builder grade house even though ours is ahem… from the late 50’s early sixties! I have utilized a bunchy of your ideas to apply with great success! Thank you sooooo much for All that you share on your blog!!! You go girly and mega props to your hubby too!

    1. WHAT?! That is AMAZING! You have no idea how happy I am to hear that! So glad it has all helped so much!

  2. I have used ebates for a few years now, but had not heard of Honey. Will be joining now. Thanks for the great tips!

    1. I don’t know how I wasn’t using ebates sooner, but after all of the success stories I’ve heard about it today, I’m even more convinced. Pairing it with Honey is the best of both worlds.

  3. This is so great! I’ve been using Honey for a while but I just installed the Ebates extension on Chrome, looking forward to using it! I also use something called Swagbucks that pays you back a certain percentage just for shopping online at certain places. Swagbucks doesn’t work with Amazon 🙁 But it did let me know that it works with Quill.com which is where we do all of our supply shopping for my day job so I mentioned it to my boss if it would be all right if I activated swagbucks every time I purchased something and she told me to keep anything I make! Yay! So far I’ve made $150 in Amazon gift cards just buying from Quill for supplies at work (as I would be anyway).

  4. Thanks for posting and sharing these tips! I’ve been using Ebates for about 10 years now and I really score at Christmas when I do so much online shopping AND most stores will do double cash back—like, 10%! I haven’t checked out Honey but believe me, I’m on it!

    1. Oh wow! That’s good to know! Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I do 90% of my shopping online because um… ain’t nobody got time to drag a 3 year-old to the mall. Haha! Thanks for the tip, Cyndie!

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