I bought coffee on the internet last night. Six boxes of K-Cups, to be exact…which comes out to something like 144 attempts to wake me up and get my kids off to school.
The total cost was supposed to be $65.94 before shipping. But what did I actually pay for my caffeine load? $52.75…and shipping was free. To score this deal, I followed a shopping strategy that I’ve been using for a few years now. It’s a bit tedious, but if you’re not schooled in internet discounts, I promise you it’s worth hanging with me here for the step-by-steps. (Excuse some of the blurry images, below–so much for screen shots. You can click on them for better viewing.)
First, I find something I want to buy (if you’re reading this blog regularly, this should be no problem). Then, I head over to Froogle–it’s Google’s price-based search engine, which lists items by seller and cost–to get an idea of the range at which my dream coffee/shoe/business card/art print is available. Next, I go to eBay and check how much the item is selling for at auction. (Arrange your search by “lowest price first.”) If a particular lot seems to be generating plenty of bids, I skip that seller, knowing I’m not likely to find a deal there. So now I turn to the Buy It Now sellers (no bidding involved—it’s a straight purchase), looking at their prices, feedback scores and shipping costs. If all the variables seem to be a much better deal than a straight internet or retail purchase, I’ll pull the trigger. But more often than not, once you factor in shipping, the eBay price is equivalent; so I head back over to Google and find the best number from an online retailer.
And now we get to the part where a bonanza deal can kick in: You know when you’re wrapping up an online purchase and see a box that says “enter promotional code here?” You find those codes by searching the net. Simply open a new web page and type the name of the retailer along with the word “coupon” into your search-bar engine; up pops dozens of coupon sites to peruse. My favorite, most reliable one is www.retailmenot.com, but I’ve heard that www.couponcabin.com is a good bet as well. You’ll see several coupons offered; some will work, some won’t, but most of the time, it’s worth all the back and forth effort. (Important note: I actually find that obscure retailers seem to result in the biggest coupon discounts. In the case of my coffee, I used www.coffeecow.com. Who? Exactly.)
All this Ellery Queen (or should I say, Hillary Quinn) deal-sleuthing takes some patience—probably a good 30-40 minutes from initial search to purchase. But I figure I’d spend a lot more if I went to the mall. Time and money, that is. Still skeptical? Here’s another one of my win-wins:
I’m sure I’m not alone in finding cool ways to spend less. Got any tips to share? We won’t enter our Amex numbers into the computer until you do.