How to Shop and Not Go Broke

Everybody loves getting new things but the part where you have to pay for them kinda sucks. Luckily there are some steps you can take to save some money and soften the blow to your wallet.

Let’s use this pair of shoes from Dick’s Sporting Goods as an example.


As you can see they’re selling for $199.99…for a pair of shoes. Yeah, we’re definitely not going to pay that much.

1.) Do Some Research

The first place you visit probably isn’t going to have the lowest price for the product you want. Just Googling around a little bit can save you a ton of money, for example I found these same shoes selling for $140 straight from Adidas. That’s a $60 savings right out of the gate! Many stores (including Dick’s Sporting Goods) match the prices of competitors so we’re going to take advantage of that.

2.) Coupons

This one should go without saying. Coupons are like free money. If you’re not using them you’re messing up. Like I mentioned earlier, Dick’s price matches so we now have the $140 price point and they accept coupons on top of that. They regularly have 20% coupons so let’s factor that in. To stay on top of discounts you could check out websites dedicated to coupon codes for various stores or you could sign up for the store’s email list.

Our price is now $112 after applying the coupon. This is about as low as we’re going to be able get the price directly at Dick’s but we can still save in other ways.

3.) Discount Gift Cards

There a few websites out there that sell gift cards at a discount. You can buy these and use them towards your purchase to save a few bucks. For this example let’s say we got two of these $60 ones at an 8.2% discount. This will cover the cost of the shoes and just about cover the tax as well. I won’t factor in the sales tax though because it’s variable based on location. Let’s just calculate an 8.2% discount from the price of $112, which will give us a savings of $9.18.

4.) Cash Back Apps

Cash back apps are your friend when you’re shopping online. They won’t directly decrease the cost you’re paying at the time of purchase, but they will pay you a percentage of your total bill. One of these cash back apps, Ebates, was offering 5% cash back for Dick’s at the time of writing this. That equates to $5.60 saved from the purchase in the form of cash back. They send out checks intermittently so you would recoup this amount once you received your check from them.

If you want to try Ebates, click the image below and use [email protected] as the referrer email. You’ll receive $10 after you make a purchase of at least $25 and I will receive $25, so it would be cool if you did.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back


5.) Cash Back Credit Cards

Credit cards that offer cash back are a great way to save money. They typically offer 1-2% cash back, which may not seem like a lot but saving one to two cents for every dollar you spend adds up quickly. Do some research to find one that looks appealing to you. Some of them offer additional incentives like a cash bonus if you spend a certain amount in a predetermined time period.

I personally use the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card. You get 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make plus they give you $150 if you spend $500 on the card within 3 months of opening it. If that sounds interesting to you, again, it would be really cool if you used my referral link below to apply. This is the card I’ve been using for quite awhile, so I’m not trying to misguide you just because of the referral system.


6.) Loyalty Programs

Many companies offer free loyalty programs that allow you to rack up points from spending at their business. You can then turn these points into additional savings once you get enough. I won’t factor any earned rewards into this purchase but just keep in mind that for every purchase you make you could be earning points towards more discounts.



Let’s recap real quick. We started out at paying $200 for these shoes but by the end we’re essentially paying about $95. That’s a $105 saving for only a few minutes of extra work. That’s kind of a big deal. As an added bonus not only did we save half off the purchase price but now we’re only paying about half the amount of the sales tax we would’ve originally paid.

The above chart gives a breakdown of all the tricks we used along with the calculations if you’re a numbers person. This goes to show that you can get expensive stuff for a reasonable price without having to do anything too crazy. Just don’t use this as justificatioin to go on insane shopping sprees.

Author: Finance Brofessor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *