Savvy shopping with “not-so-secret” coupons & discount gift cards!

I do a lot of comparison shopping and buying online, which does require time and patience, but this method can reap a lot of savings! I have recently discovered discounted gift cards, and have used them a few times now. Since my last post about them I have found a few other sites, which I listed at the bottom of this entry. Of course, I only buy them for the stores I know we often shop at, like Petco (this one we use in person), Hot Topic and Aeropostale. Now keep in mind, we live about 30 minutes from the mall and general shopping area, so sometimes paying the shipping fee for our items is not much more then the cost of our gas to go into “town”. Below are a couple specific examples of how I go about “shopping” online to save a little (sometimes a lot) of money.

My 12 year old daughter can now fit into the double-zero and zero jean sizes at Aeropostale, which is great seeing as they often have the small sizes on clearance! I am signed up to get sale notices from them and this past weekend they were offering an additional 30% off their clearance items, and by clearance I mean $10 for a pair of jeans (that normally retail for $39.50)…couple that with using a discounted gift card and I’ve got myself a good deal! So at a clearance price of $10 with an extra 30% off, that’s $7 a pair, WOW. Of course, I got a few other items as well since it’s her birthday soon, and here’s how it totaled up.

  • $8.37 for 6 pairs of patterned panties, $6.99 for 1 hoodie, $10.49 for another hoodie, $7 for a pair of jeans + $7 shipping = $39.85 (not bad considering this is the same amount as 1 pair of normal priced jeans from this store!)

My other daughter was in need of a new pair of athletic shoes, so I budgeted $50 for it. A week before we were to go shopping I hit the discounted gift card sites and purchased a $50 gift card to Kohls for $44, as I know they always have items on sale. That’s a 12% savings right off the bat, not too bad. Once I had the card in hand we headed to the store to do a little shopping. At the time, Kohl’s was offering an additional 15%-30% off all purchases if you put it on your Kohl’s credit card. Unfortunately for me I had a gift card to use, so I couldn’t take advantage of that special, but was confident we could still find something within our $50 budget.

Now, as luck would have it, my daughter did find a pair that she liked…but they were $69.99 and above my $50 budget (normal retail price of $85 according to the Asics website). Now, I say “luck” because I decided to go home and try to find it a little cheaper on the Kohl’s website by using not-so-secret online coupons that my daughter told me about. Often times major online stores have un-advertised specials and discount codes, which you can find by searching for “(name of store) coupons” or “(name of store) coupon codes”. One place that seems to be pretty good is RetailMeNot, which is where I found both of the codes I used for Kohls. The Kohl’s website was offering the same special (15%-30% off if you charge it on the store credit card), so I decided to try and see if it would allow me to use the coupon code AND my gift card.

Now get this…the shoes were the same price online ($69.99), and I chose the option of “kohl’s credit card” as my form of payment. They then asked me for any coupon codes, and allow up to 2 for each transaction as long as they are not both the same kind. So I found one for “take 30% off if using kohl’s charge card” and one for “free shipping”. Once the 30% had been taken off and the free shipping applied, the new total came to $48.99…which they then allowed me to pay for using my gift card! So in the end, I got my daughter a pair of $85 shoes for less then $44, including shipping (which in this case was free) and nothing was charged to my credit card! Remember, the gift card I was using was valued at $50, but I only paid $44 for it. 😉

Here is a list of the discount gift card sites I often check, as their stock varies day to day:

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