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Help Me Save Money Series – Unknown Merchant Tips to Cut Expenses

2012 October 17

It’s great finding little-known tips to help save money at stores or online merchants. It’s fun when you can cut an expense here or there each time you shop.

Here’s a few tips that might help you as you go through your day-to-day shopping adventures. 


The Target REDcard

With the REDcard you can save 5% every time you shop at Target. And, get free shipping when you use the card online. The great thing about the REDcard is that you can choose a debit OR a credit card.  (Another small Target tip is to use a recycled tote bag with your purchase and Target will give you 5 cents back)

Walgreens Toner Ink Refill Service

This is one of my favorite “little-known” offerings. Take a use toner cartridge into a Walgreens and they will refill er up – black or color ink for just $12.99. This is a pretty good deal considering many a toner cartridge can cost $30 or more. One downside is they only service these cartridges.

Amazon Prime

Although not entirely unknown – Amazon Prime is a great way to save money online – especially if you do a lot of shopping there. Prime gives you free 2-day shipping on a bunch of items (no minimum required), free streaming of movies and tv shows, a Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (There is a $79/annual fee for Prime – so best to only purchase if you are a big online shopper).

Use Twitter

If I’m going to make a purchase online (OR even go into the store or restaurant) – I will typically search to see if the merchant has a Twitter account. Retailers are using social media more and more to post discount codes and coupons for their followers. I’ve gotten some great deals this way.

Get Rid of that Unused Cash Card

I’ve written about using that small amount on your cash card before – but I think it’s a useful tip that bears repeating. Ever have a few odd dollars left on cash card and been unable to use it up? Amazon will turn it into spending cash. Better to get it working for you than sitting on your desk. :) All you have to do is purchase a digital gift card at Amazon (you can buy increments starting from 0.15 cents and up) with your leftover cash card. Send it to yourself via email. When you get the message – click on the link and load up your Amazon account. Easy as that.

Are there other unknown or unusual ways you know of saving through merchants that may benefit others?

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Aaron

Helped start Three Thrifty Guys with his friends Charlie and Mark after being inspired by how they lived their lives “on the thrift”. A designer by day, Aaron was once $40k in debt. After 5 years – he dug himself out and lives to tell about it. Aaron also blogs at the StarTribune

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4 Responses
  1. October 17, 2012

    Just yesterday my wife and I signed up for Amazon Mom to get the savings on diapers and everything else for the baby. Over a year it will help us save money.

  2. October 17, 2012

    Many merchants offer kick-backs on gift card purchases during the holidays. For example, one of my favorite restaurants gives you a $10 voucher for every $50 in gift cards that you buy. So if you buy gift cards to give to someone else, it’s nice to get a little kick back for yourself. Or if you know you’re going to go to that restaurant frequently, then go ahead and buy the gift cards for yourself and pocket the savings.

  3. Aaron permalink*
    October 17, 2012

    @Sean – Ah – great Amazon tip!
    @Rich – Super advice!

  4. October 27, 2012

    Good write-up. I am a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I’ll be a regular visitor for a really long time.

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