1) If you don’t have a PayPal ID I recommend you get one. It’s very secure. I can have online rebates deposited to the account. I can shop with what’s in that balance (this makes shopping at eBay easy). If I don’t have enough in the account, I can have an automatic withdrawal from checking posted to it. Sellers gleefully accept your PayPal payments because your payment is guaranteed to them. You can have interest on whatever balance you keep in your PayPal account so just think of it as checking with interest.
2) Get an ID at eBay. Today, the shopping rules heavily favor the buyers so it’s easier and safer than ever to shop there. I always check for deals, even for things like the filters for my kitchen faucet, my cashmere knee socks, and batteries! You can bid on an item or use the “Buy it Now” option. Don’t forget to figure their shipping charges into your equation!
3) Register at the sniper sites. This lets you bid on eBay items automatically by setting your beginning and max bids. It will try to go only so far as it needs to in order to try and win your item (this is called sniping); it’s as if you jumped into the auction room 7 seconds before the bidding closes with a few cents more than the top bid. I have obtained incredible deals (like a $48 Bobbi Brown Limited Edition palette for $27).
4) Save the links to the coupon code sites. Often you’ll find the codes for free shipping and/or free gifts to use at online stores. Current Codes is probably the one I use the most: http://www.currentcodes.com/
5) Register at the online rebates sites. More and more online stores are signing up for these rebate sites which means if you go through the rebate site first and THEN shop, there’s a rebate you get. I have my rebates deposited to my PayPal account. For example, the other week I shopped at the Lancôme site. Not only did I use a coupon code to get free shipping and extra free gifts, I also got a 12% rebate through eBates posted to my PayPal account. This can add up to a lot of clams! I’m registered at the 3 main sites and always compare their deals before shopping at a store (such as Nordstrom, Bobbi brown, etc.). You may find more but these seem to be the main ones:
a. eBates: http://www.ebates.com/
b. Fat Wallet: http://www.fatwallet.com/
c. Mr. Rebates: http://mrrebates.com/
6) Search the web for the best deals (and later work the coupon codes and rebates into the equation). I use Froogle (that used to be the name) which is now called Google Advanced Product Search. I still call it Froogle. It is (I think) searching shopping activities to determine prices. You might find the best deal at an online store or on eBay. The link is: http://www.google.com/advanced_product_search
Be armed for battle!