I am a stay at home mother. Which means my schedule is a fun mix of predictable (pick up time never changes!) and unpredictable (nap time always does!). In the moments I find myself waiting in a car or waiting for a baby, those moments where I need to be distracted to pass the time but not so distracted that I can’t drop everything once my child is ready, I turn to the internet. And because I am a thrifty couponing loving SavEar of a mama, my Internet searches tend to be for deals, deals, deals.
And I find the deals because I write for Couponing to Disney, and y’all know we got deals.
But is there such a thing as too many deals?
We’ve all heard it said, the best way to save money is to not spend money.
But it’s hard to not spend money when there are so many deals! All day long, deals are popping up left and right! This was becoming a legitimate problem for me. I was texting my husband at work like, “Okay, so X has this deal where I can get 17% off all pants in the later half of the ROYGBIV spectrum, but also Y has this deal where I do a short survey and pay shipping and handling and I can get free dog bones for the rest of our dog’s life. I know we don’t have a dog, but we could do something with the bones, right?” I was getting overwhelmed by the quantity of deals, so I could no longer identify the quality of the deals. How do I know which deals to yaaaaas and which deals to pass?
So I made myself a little rule that has thinned the herd quite a bit. Only do online deals when there is free shipping. This enables me to take advantage of great deals and have them STAY good deals. How many times has there been a deal making something super affordable but then the shipping is three times what you would pay and the whole enchilada ends up being retail price anyway? Not the deal for me. It also helps me make decisions about the persnickety deals without having to text my husband in a savings panic. Skirts for girls with green eyes might be 37% on Tuesday, but if there is no shipping than my green eyed girl will just have to make due with the skirts she has.
Most importantly, for me, is that this rule limits my spending at the online retailers where I am constantly tempted to spend more money. Best example? shopDisney! Those guys are always running sales and I always want everything they have. But my free shipping rule helps me to identify the really great, money saving deals, not just the “oh this is 18 cents cheaper and I want it anyway, so huzzah!” type of deals.
But how do you get free shipping?
Many online retailers will offer free shipping at seemingly random times. It’s a good idea to follow your favorite brands on social media or sign up for their email list, since they’ll post that info there first.
- For Members
I have several stores where I belong to their free members or loyalty programs. Many online retailers do members only free shipping days, or offer free shipping as a perk to their loyal followers. These programs are a great way to make sure you’re getting the best value deals from your favorite brands.
- Part of Your Subscription
We are Amazon Prime members as well as Redcard holders. For both of those programs, free shipping is included. Does it make me more likely to shop there? 100%. Something might be $.89 cheaper at Walmart, but the Free Shipping and 5% off from Target make it a much better value for me.
- Everyday Included by the Retailer
Two stores I like that include shipping in all their purchases are The Children’s Place and Zappos. I don’t know that I necessarily shop at these two stores more because of it, but I do know they are the first two places I look when I need something specific for my girls’ wardrobes or someone in the family needs new shoes.
And of course, just because there is free shipping doesn’t mean the deals are good. I was sorely tempted the other day by a site with free shipping, only to realize they had increased the retail prices on everything, so the cost was the same as if I had paid shipping on the more reasonable prices. Be sure you’re getting the deal AND the shipping.
What are your thoughts about free shipping? How do you narrow down deals? Any free shipping tactics we missed? Tell me in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!