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5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More

Everybody loves to score a deal. Retailers are keenly aware of this phenomenon and have become very good at tricking your brain into thinking you're getting a deal, even when you may be spending more than you should. Here are some clever ways retailers use coupons to get you to open your wallet wide, along with some timely tips to fight back.


Online shoppers love a good coupon code. But did you know that many online retailers are notorious for releasing a coupon only after jacking all of their prices up to full-retail? Suddenly your 25% off coupon code doesn't look so good, especially when you consider the fact that you could have actually saved more money the week prior, for example, when the website had everything in their new fall collection for 30% off, no coupon needed.

A few of the online retailers notorious for releasing a coupon when prices are high include Ann Taylor, American Eagle, Old Navy, and Macy's to name a few. It's always in your best interest to keep track of the pricing schemes of the online retailers you frequent on a regular basis. Pay attention to when they release coupons and when they offer sitewide sales and only make your purchases when the price is actually the lowest. Also, if you can time your purchase when you have a coupon code in hand andthe retailer is having a sitewide sale, you'll definitely maximize your savings.


Another commonly used trick retailers use to get you to open your wallets wide is "Buy one, get one for 50% off," also known as BOGO. Be aware that unless it is "Buy one, get one free," you're rarely getting a good deal. Buy one, get one for 50% off is the equivalent of a 25% off coupon — which is an okay deal, but only if you actually need two of the particular item. Keep in mind that many retailers, especially clothing and shoe stores, often have coupons that exceed 25% off, making the BOGO offer nothing more than a spending trap. Kohl's, Lands' End, JCPenney, and Gap are a few retailers that fit this bill and immediately jump to mind.


When it comes to shopping online, there is nothing worse than finishing your shopping at a website only to discover you're $10 short of qualifying for free shipping. Many online retailers will set a minimum threshold requirement for free delivery at $25, $50, $75, or even $100 to encourage shoppers to add items to their purchase and thus pad their profits.

The next time this happens to you, hit up Google and do a search for "[store name] free shipping coupon" and see if you can dig up a coupon code for free delivery. If that doesn't work, many websites employ live chat operators who have a select number of coupons to hand out if you politely ask. Just start a chat session, explain your situation, and tell the operator how you'd like to complete your purchase but can't justify the shipping charge since you're so close to the minimum order threshold. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with your result and stand a great chance of scoring a free shipping coupon without adding something to your cart that you don't need.


Another retail trick is to release "percent off" or "dollar off" coupons with a minimum dollar amount required to score the discount. Whether you need to spend $49, $75, or $99 to get the discount, it's important to realize that retailers are attempting to get you to spend more in order to "save" some money. This is often a bad proposition for consumers and can easily lead to overspending. A smart workaround is to never walk into a store with one of these coupons unless you're sure you'll meet the minimum. If you do walk in and are determined to redeem the coupon, make sure you're buying items that you actually need or can use as a gift down the road.


Popular websites like Groupon and LivingSocial allow you to buy deals and coupons for experiences like golfing, sky diving, cooking classes, yoga classes, and the like. But what many consumers don't know is that many of these deals have expiration dates. They're banking on you buying the offer and forgetting to use it, or deciding later that it's not your cup of tea.

Avoid this expiration trick by instituting a "30-day" policy. If you know you'll use the coupon within 30 days, then go ahead and purchase it. If you're on the fence in the slightest, pass on the offer as it'll probably go unused. Once you buy the experience or class, book it right away and get it on your calendar to make sure it gets used and doesn't end up in your desk drawer for all eternity.

By being aware of why retailers release certain coupons and deals, and how they can make you overspend, you stand a great chance of actually saving money on the things you need.



What to Buy During August

1. Air Conditioners The best time to buy air conditioners continues through August and runs through September.

2. Outdoor Furniture, Grills, and Camping Gear  Summer is nearly over, and the stores are clearing out their summer furniture space to make room for Halloween and Christmas.

3. Garden Plants and Flowers Garden centers begin clearing out their showrooms mid-summer, and the sales continue through August.

4. Lawn Mowers - The selection may be limited, but if you are looking for deep discounts late summer is a great time to find a bargain lawn mower.

5. Swim Wear and Flip Flops Watch for end of season sales on all summer wear in August. Stock up on items for your kids for next year, and maybe something special for you as it doesn't look like the temperatures will be cooling down any time soon.

6. School Supplies Bargains for back to school supplies are to be had everywhere. You can find pencils for a penny, paper for a quarter, and backpacks marked way down. 

7. Laptops Per PC World, July had some stellar sales on laptops with prices dropping to record lows, and these bargains will continue into August with back to school sales that not only offer discounts, but could also offer freebies such as free software or free printers.

8. White Sales: College, back to school and fall are good times to stock up. The next best time to buy for linens? January.

9. MP3 Players Stores are clearing out old models to make room for the new models arriving in September. Look for great bargains on last year's models.

10. Food When looking for bargains on food this month think fresh produce. The list includes vegetables such as cucumbers, corn and eggplant and the fruit includes such delicious items as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, and peaches.


Free Samples, Coupons More from Tablespoon

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Ibotta Money-Saving App


  • First download the FREE app here.
  • Before you head out to shop, browse through all the different offers. You’ll earn money by watching quick videos, viewing recipes, taking polls, posting to your Facebook Wall etc. AND then actually going to the store to purchase these specific items. Note that Ibotta works in every Target, Walmart and Walgreens in the United States and has plans to expand to additional retailers in the near future.
  • Be sure to check out the product detail page on the app itself in order to view the offer’s expiration date. Offers can sell out, so it’s important to redeem them before they’re gone! 


  • After you make your in-store purchases, you’ll just need to upload your receipt via the Ibotta app. Ibotta will then verify your purchases and determine whether credit should be added to your account within 24 hours.  In many cases, you will receive word from Ibotta in under 1 hour. It is super simple to upload your photo and money was added to my account within an hour.  
  • Once you’ve reached at least $5 in earnings, Ibotta lets you transfer your earnings directly to your PayPal account.  Choose Withdraw Cash from the main menu of the app, then select Get My Cash to link Ibotta to your PayPal account. 
  • If you’d rather opt to donate your earnings to your favorite school, you can make a donation to any school in America as soon as you’ve earned $1 with Ibotta. Just choose Withdraw Cash from the main menu of the app, then select Donate to Schools.  Ibotta can use your current location to find nearby schools, or you can type in any zip code and pull up a list of schools in that area.
  • Be sure to tell Ibotta which offers you like and dislike by tapping the image of any product and choosing either thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Over time the app learns what kinds of products you prefer and offers them accordingly.
  • Also note that there is no limit on the number of offers you can redeem.  Once you have successfully redeemed an offer, Ibotta immediately restocks your shelf with a new offer.  The more offers you redeem, the more new offers you will see, and the more money you can earn.


Click below to get started!



What to Buy During July

1. Air Conditioners Bargains on Air Conditioners begin in July, especially around the holiday weekend. If you can wait until September even better, and the absolute best time to buy air conditioners is in the winter, especially October through February.

2. Major Appliances  I'm sure you've noticed the July 4th Sales popping up all over the television from your local appliance stores. Holiday weekends around major holidays such as July 4th are great times of year to find bargains from anywhere up to about 50% off. 

3. Home Decor July is still wedding season, so look for bargains this month on home decor  gift items such as linens.

4. Furniture New furniture styles hit the stores two times of the year and August is one of them. Look for great sales in July as furniture retailers look to clear out their showrooms.

5. Computers It's back to school sale time for computers and sales can be found. Look specifically for computers that are being replaced by newer models.

6. Summer Wear The deeper into summer we get the deeper the discounts for summer wear get as well. Especially watch for next month's discounts on swim suits.

7. Kids' Clothing & Back to School Supplies  Sales start in July for bargains on anything related to back to school. 

8. Craft Supplies School Supplies start to go on sale in July, and along with them so do craft supplies. Enjoy the discounts and stock up the many needed tools you use to get your crafting on.

9. Grills Some sales on grills are available in July (after the July 4th holiday), but for the best deals wait until August.

10. Broadway Tickets July is a slow time for New York tourism, and big bargains can be had on Broadway tickets because of this lull. Beat the heat, go inside, and enjoy a great show on the cheap.

11. Food Think barbecue this month.

  • Soda, Pope or Coke (depending upon which part of the country you're from)
  • Beer
  • Condiments
  • Hot Dogs
  • Ground Beef
  • Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
  • Salad Dressing
  • Chips
  • Ice Cream
  • Popsicles
  • Bottled Water
  • Iced Tea Bags and Mixes

Target Settlement- Apply by July 31st

Remember that data hack at Target in 2013? You can join in the Target Breach Settlement case and may be able to RECEIVE COMPENSATION.

If you shopped at Target between 11/27/13 and 12/18/13 and can prove that you suffered losses to your credit or debit card in the hack, you may be entitled to as much as $10,000. You must SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION FOR SETTLEMENT before 7/31 and provide proof that your information was stolen during that time.

Even if you shopped at Target between those dates and can’t prove your data or identity being stolen, you may be able to get $30.

Send in your information to be included or excluded from the settlement before 7/31.


5 Items in Your Garage with High Resale Value

Before anything hits the trash though, take a step back: there are probably a number of items you have stowed away that could earn you some impressive cash. Check out the ideas below, and feel free to share your tips of the trade in the comments. 


A brand new generator might set you back between $200 and $2,000 from my latest survey of prices at a popular home improvement chain. My dad has a portable generator he bought when my parents lived way out in the country. Now that they've moved to a more central location, it gets little use and he wants to sell it. Sound familiar? Consider the value. I searched "used portable generator" on eBay and discovered around 75 hits with prices ranging from $50 to $2,400 for items in good condition.

Other big ticket sellers might include snow blowers, ride-on mowers, and even motorcycles or cars. The trick is assessing a fair value and finding the right place to sell. Kelley Blue Book is always the first place to check with vehicles. For the rest, try looking at similar listings in your local paper, Craigslist, eBay, or even on donation valuation charts (as a loose guide). When we bought our house last year, the couple who lived here planned to downsize. They sold their snow blower in two days for $350 by simply placing it outside the garage with a cardboard sign.


We have a whole shelving unit full of camping stuff in our garage. There's anything and everything from lanterns to tents to portable cooking devices to cots and much more. Other frugally minded outdoorsy folks would surely appreciate the care we've taken to keep our gear in working order, so we might try to sell a few things this year. In fact, we bought our large family tent used for a couple hundred dollars — so we know the system works.

If this arena interests you, try sites like GearTrade, where you can buy and sell camping wares or just get insight on appropriate pricing if you'd rather sell yourself. Some items in "excellent" condition attract up to 99% of their original value. There are also a couple area camping groups on Facebook I might contact about larger things to avoid shipping.


Let's face it, most of us aren't super handy. But that doesn't stop the hand tools from streaming in as gifts from well-meaning friends and family. Rather than hold onto a tool waiting to be inspired, try selling it. Take this Bosch 18-Volt Hammer Drill, for example. It retails at $219, and a few days ago I found a used one on eBay for $150. This number accords with the $131 average price for used hammer drills listed on Statricks. And it would make a solid return (a little over 55%) on something you might not have touched in over a year.

Keep in mind that certain brands of tools resell better than others, including DeWalt, Bosch, Ridgid, Makita, Milwaukee, Hitachi, Porter-Cable, Skil, and Delta. In other words, that entry-level saw you got a great deal on new might not seem as appealing on the used market. Along with quality, your buyers will be inspecting these tools for wear and tear, so check for any crimped cords or other issues and price accordingly.


Most of us have bought and sold on Craigslist, but have you heard aboutDiggersList? Those of you into DIY and home improvement might want to take a look. You can sell your surplus building supplies (or find some to purchase) and get a good portion off the original price. Anything back is better than waste, right?

You can sell your doors, pavers, flooring, wall tile, appliances, circuit breakers, and much more. If you'd rather not list online, try taking out an ad in the classifieds or contacting a local carpentry club. Then consider donating anything you don't sell to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore.


Children outgrow their playhouses and other outdoor toys quickly, so they clutter garages like crazy. Not only can you earn back a good portion of what you paid (depending on the condition) — but the used toy market for items like these is refreshing with each generation of kids born into the world. Before having a yard sale, try local Facebook groups, Craigslist, and even re-sale stores like Once Upon a Child.