Happy Thursday, friends!! Today, we welcome Kyle from the amazing money-saving site, Rather Be Shopping. Kyle is the go-to guy if you’re looking to save money on purchases; the husband and father of three, with his wife’s help, keeps frugal consumers up-to-date on the latest online coupon codes, printable coupons and bargains out there in Internet land. Kyle has offered to share his money-saving secrets with The Frugal Farmer readers twice a month – yea!! Thanks, Kyle, and welcome!
First of all, I want to thank Laurie for allowing me the awesome opportunity to invade her blog a couple times a month. I hope to offer some advice on saving more of your hard-earned money as well as highlight some related coupons that you may be able to use. A little about me: I am married, have 3 young kids, and am a work-from-home dad. Since 2001, my wife and I have run a website called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which specializes in not only coupons, but also frugal living tips for families trying to get out of debt or stay ahead financially every month.
For my first post I wanted to delve into the topic of free shipping, or better yet, how to make sure you always get free shipping when shopping online. By now we all know that by shopping online you can often find some great deals and save substantial money if you do a little research. But sometimes we forget to look for a free shipping coupon, or are just not aware they readily exist. So with that said, here are 5 tips to ensure you’ll quickly and easily save money on shipping on everyday items as well as gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
1. Find a Free Shipping Coupon
This sounds incredibly obvious, but it amazes me how many online shoppers still don’t search for a free shipping coupon before finalizing their purchase. Next time you are checking out and you see the ‘Coupon Code’ box on the retailer’s website, don’t ignore it, instead open a separate browser window and do a quick Google search for “store name free shipping coupon” and see what is available. This is especially a great idea when doing shopping this holiday season when over 70% of retailers are expected to offer a free shipping discount of one variety or another.
2. Shop Smart by Combining Orders
Many online retailers offer free shipping but put a required minimum purchase on the order, typically $50, $75 or $100. So be sure to shop smart and buy only when the items you purchase meet the shipping requirement, even if this means putting off smaller purchases until your order total meets the free shipping threshold.
3. Use Social Media
According to a survey we did recently on Rather-Be-Shopping.com, 55% of retailers use their Facebook and Twitter accounts to hand out free shipping coupons. Be sure you are following your favorite stores on social media so you can quickly check their Facebook page or Twitter feed for free shipping coupons before you shop. Many stores also post other coupons like 15% or 20% off your online or in-store purchase so it’s always worth a look before you finalize your purchase.
4. ShopRunner 30-Day Trial
Have you heard of an online service called ShopRunner.com? It is a very cool service that gives you free 2-day shipping at close to 100 popular online retailers. The best part is they offer a free 30-day trial which gives you free 2-day shipping to every store they are affiliated with. I would recommend starting your free trial right before Black Friday/Cyber Monday in late November and take advantage of free shipping on all your Holiday shopping then cancel before your trial expires. If you absolutely love their service, and are an avid online shopper, you can continue your membership at $79 annually or $8.95 per month.
5. Try Ship-To-Store
Many of the big name brick & mortar stores like Walmart, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lands’ End offer a feature called free ship-to-store which allows you to shop online and have the item delivered to your local store. Then the next time you are in the neighborhood stop by and pick up your item and thus avoid any shipping costs. This strategy works really well on large appliances and bulky items as shipping costs to your home are typically outrageously high.
6. Make Sure you’re Getting the Best Deal
It is always important to be aware that some online retailers will offer free shipping but then raise the price of their products to offset the shipping costs. So be sure to be diligent and shop around the Internet for the best price before you get sucked in by a free shipping promotion. All deals are not created equal so it’s important to be a smart consumer.
7. Ask “Live Chat” Operator
If you try the above tips and still can’t find a free shipping coupon, I have one last strategy for you. If the retailer you are shopping at has a ‘Live Chat’ feature, start up a chat session and politely ask the operator if he/she has a free shipping coupon to hand out. The conversation can go like this, “I really want to make this purchase today but I’m a little hung-up on the high shipping costs. Do you have a free shipping coupon I could take advantage of today, it would really help me out.” I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
There is nothing worse than paying for shipping only to stumble across a free shipping coupon a day or two later and kick yourself for not looking for one when you had the chance. Hopefully if you follow my tips that will never happen again.
To give you an idea of the coupons available, here is a sampling of some of the more popular free shipping offers on Rather-Be-Shopping.com right now. Thanks again Laurie!
About The Author: Kyle James operates Rather-Be-Shopping.com which lists free shipping coupons and printable in-store coupons to over 850 popular retailers. Updated daily with new offers.