Welcome to #8 in my Top Ten series of cheapo living tips- you can read tips #10 and #9 here. I use 2 websites to keep my online spending as low as possible- Ebates.com and Retailmenot.com. Ebates is really cool- before you make a purchase, you just go to their website and select the retailer you want to shop at. Ebates offers a different percent cash back depending upon the store, but I usually get anywhere from 3% to 12% back on my purchases. Signing up is free and you can choose to get your cash back via paypal, which is nice, since you don't have to hand out any sensitive information. Cash back accumulates and is paid every quarter. Side note- you can also use Shopathome.com...it is much the same as ebates, I just prefer to only use one site.
Once you've gone through a cash back site like ebates or shopathome, head over to retailmenot. Make sure you do this in a new tab so that you don't disrupt ebate's ability to track your purchase. Retailmenot posts current coupon and promotion codes for a ton of online retailers. You simply enter these codes at checkout. This is where I get my biggest savings. I'll typically wait to make a purchase until I can find a code that will give me at least 5 bucks off and/or free shipping. Depending upon your spending habits, you aren't likely to see a ton of cash back from sites like ebates or shopathome, but I usually get enough back to take a free trip to Starbucks. Speaking of Starbucks, if you buy their bagged coffee, save those empty bags! Each one can be redeemed for a free cup. We usually wait until we have 2 bags, then use them if we have to drive somewhere bright and early :)
And at the risk of pointing out the obvious, craigslist is a really great place to get some good stuff for next to nothing. We actually just bought a really great coffee table off of craigslist this morning. It's an Avington table and retails at Target for $120 bucks. It was in perfect condition. The guy we bought it from was originally asking $70, but the husband talked him down to $60 AND got him to throw in a homemade cedar table he was also trying to offload. I would have been thrilled to get just the coffee table for the price, but in our case, a little bargaining went a long way! That being said, there are plenty of crazies out there and I NEVER buy or sell anything without the husband present AND we do not let people into our house.
The coffee table fits just perfectly in our room.
I'll spare you the before and afters, but I gave the cedar table 2 coats of leftover paint and added 3 milk crates from Michael's for extra storage. I'll probably do something fun on the crates eventually (like "top secret" "secret" "unclassified")but for now, it's functional as a desk/ media center in our living room.
Also from Craigslist...my $10 Pier 1 Shelf:
And a $15 buck chair that I covered in about $6 worth of fabric: