The reality of the 21st century is that almost all of us need to shop for our necessary and discretionary items. Most of us don’t harvest their own foods or make their own clothes. Unless you barter for your stuff, there’s a cost involved for our everyday purchases. We can save a lot of money by reducing and eliminating certain things, and also by refusing, repairing and reusing some stuff. But, for the rest of it, we just need to buy them from others.
Although at Simply Muslim Home we grow some tomatoes and potatoes and make few of our clothes, we buy the rest of it ;). I try to extend our expenses whenever I’m at it. I have a few tricks up my sleeves to make the most of what I spend when I spend at stores- online store and brick & mortar shops. Here are 6 ways you can save when you shop for your everyday purchases as well insha Allah-
Use credit cards-
We use our credit cards to purchase everything, from buying shoestrings to getting plane tickets. You can get cash back bonuses, rewards points etc. from your purchases, depending on the credit card you choose to use. Once you have accumulated enough points, you can use them for all sorts of things- from staying at hotels without spending a dime to visit museums for free. We use our points/rewards to buy discounted gift cards for the stores where we shop regularly. A few favorites of ours are Amazon.com, Landsend.com and Kohl’s.com. These points and rewards are a simple and easy way to get something that you’d get anyways- for free.
Use a card that fits best for your family’s needs. A card that’s suitable for a family who flies frequently may not work well for a family that rarely travels by air. Not sure which credit card to get? Check out this website to find a credit card that works best for you and your familys needs.
Ebates is a cashback website that acts as a shopping portal offering coupons and cash back from over 2,000 online retailers. We use Ebates when we shop online. Ever dollar counts when you shop online with Ebates as they share a percentage of the commission with its members in the form of cash back. Members are paid quarterly via check or through PayPal. How much you’ll make will depend on the website you use for your shopping, from as high as 25% to 2%. They have over 2000 retailers that are affiliated with them so there is a good chance that your favorite shop made it to their list.
Ebates will send you a quarterly big, fat check for what you’d spent over that period. I just made $28 from what I’d spent on groceries and other things for the last few months.
Here is where you can sign up with Ebates. You will get a $10 referral bonus if you sign up through this link for your purchases made with Ebates.
We become store rewards members at wherever we shop regularly so we can earn points for our purchases made at these stores. We became members of many stores over the years, depending on where we’d lived and which stores we frequented during that time- Borders, Kohl’s, Panera Bread, Barnes and Noble, Gymboree, Staples, Eddie Bauer, Sears and grocery stores etc. The perks of becoming a member includes-
- Sale alerts about upcoming events.
- Members only coupon and discounts.
- Free gift cards.
- Birthday gifts.
- Rewards points.
You can earn points for your purchases and then use these points towards another purchase to get a better deal. You can also get a greater deal when you use the rewards certificates that they send you every now and then. The store rewards savings are on top of your credit card rewards so you get to make a deal even better when you use both your credit card and store cards.
I receive all kinds of things through these store rewards programs, from getting dollar off coupons at Safeway to free pastries from Panera Bread to getting school supplies from Staples for free.
Store cash back programs-
Store cash back programs are an ideal way to extend your dollars at the stores where you’d shop anyways. Gymboree, Childrens Place, Kohl’s are a few of my favorites for store cash back programs. We used to shop at Gymboree during sales and then used the Gymbucks later to get what else was needed or wanted ;). I still use Childrens’ Place and Kohl’s and use their respective cash all the time.
I only use a few apps for money saving purposes- to keep a clutter free phone. I have these apps on my phone for 2 reasons- the convenience of not having to carry paper coupons and the papers that can saved from using your phone for coupons. Currently, I have 1 department store app and 1 craft store app- both of which we visit regularly for our crafts and household needs. I get to collect my rewards points using my phone- so convenient alhamdulillah.
We subscribe to Groupon and Living Social, two e-commerce marketplace websites to save on local restaurants, kids activities and trips to places like, zoos, museums etc. These are not my typical everyday purchases but they are really handy for trying local events. They are also great if you’re making a trip somewhere and want to find a good deal on restaurants, family activities etc. You can search for what you’re looking for- like a particular cuisine or certain activities i.e pottery making or archery etc. If you’re unsure of what you’re looking for then you can read the reviews to get a general idea so you can make an informed decision before making a purchase.
We have had great experiences so far with both Groupon and Living Social. We saved a bunch and made some money as well while sharing our referral links after we’d made a purchase. They offer a ton of things and it’s a great way to try out something for a fraction of a cost that’s attached to a long-term commitment. We tried all sorts of things with them, from trying out Google Express to taking horseback riding lessons to museum trips.
A few reminders-
- Don’t use credit cards if you tend to overspend when you use a credit card. A lot of people stick to cash only for their purchases and it may work better for you as well. You want to avoid credit card debt and paying interest at all costs. No rewards are worth debt and interest. The reward from Allah(swt) is the best.
- The best way to save money is to not spend it over impulsive purchases. Don’t buy something just because you get to use a coupon or earn rewards.
- Don’t subscribe to too many rewards programs, cash backs etc. Only choose the stores that are beneficial to you now. Just because you used to subscribe to something once doesn’t mean you have to continue to this day.
- Select your store apps carefully- getting only the ones that pertains to your needs and removing the ones that don’t serve you anymore.
- Keep track of the programs and use the benefits in time, before they expire.
These are my go to tricks to save on everyday purchases. Between useful freebies, cool perks and great cashback rewards, I save hundreds of dollars each year alhamdulillah.When it comes to making and saving halal income- every cent counts towards a debt and interest free life.
I hope you’re able to save when you shop using these tips insha Allah. Feel free to share if you’ve an effective tip to save money.