Monday, May 05, 2008

Save money at places you're already shopping

Tonight, apparently I was bored. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) There was something on HSN (yes, the cable shopping channel, yes really) that I wanted. But I'm a tightwad when it comes to buying online. I expect to be able to use a coupon, get free shipping or some other sort of promotion on everything I order.

Now, yes, I'm aware that people like me are the reason so many online retailers went bankrupt. Oh well. Still I needed an HSN coupon. Well, I'm a existing customer so I can't use their juicy 15% off any 1 item first purchase coupon. A reasonably exhaustive search netted no usable coupons. Well poo.

Then something caught my attention. Most all of the major ecommerce sites have paid referral relationships. Great... but I don't want to manage hundreds of referral links and agreements. So I did what I always do. I went digging.

At the end of my digging I found a neat program called BigCrumbs. There are some competitors I was already aware of - like FatWallet and eBates. BigCrumbs' model is much like Telarus' master agency model, automate, automate, automate and pass as much money to the end users as possible.

So it turns out that BigCrumbs has relationships with most of the majors - including HSN. And on HSN purchases if you click on the BigCrumbs link (or use their bookmark) before you go shopping you get 7.2% back on all purchases except electronics and clearance, which yield 3.6%.

That means if you bought a $100 piece of jewelry, you would automatically get $7.20 back via BigCrumbs. It's sort of like an automatic rebate.

Some of the deals are even wilder. For example, right now through Expedia using BigCrumbs you can get 50% off on Hertz car rentals plus 1.8% cash back. That's astonishing!

For eBayers, you get 36% back of the fee of the transaction! You read that correctly... you get 36% back on the fee the seller paid to eBay for the auction! So you get to dip in eBay's pocket and take money back you didn't pay in the first place. Wow.

Beyond that, BigCrumbs also lists any coupons and special offers that apply to the site you're about to go shopping on. For a tightwad like myself this has to be nirvana.

Take a look for yourself at their Special Offers page, sign up and start saving today. You can even just use their special offers page to save money without signing up. (Of course you don't get the cash back then.)

Now I guess I should sit here and write out a Thank You note to HSN for the 7.4% I'll be getting back tonight. No thanks to their stingy coupon policy. All thanks to BigCrumbs.