Three steps to maximize your savings

If you've been following along with my Weekly Re-Caps, then you've seen that since the end of April (when I started tracking my savings), I have saved over $1,600 just by using coupons.

This $1,600 does not include shopping the sales and clearance bargains. It's simply coupon savings, whether they're online with coupon codes or in-store with actual coupons. And I expect this to be over $2,000 by the time I'm done with Christmas shopping. Not bad for eight months.

Anyway, I wanted to pass on a few holiday shopping tips...

The number one thing I'd like to stress when you're shopping online, is to always, always, check for coupon codes. There aren't always codes you can use, but most times there are!

On this blog I try to highlight the really good codes that I find. But my four favorite places to look for codes are WantNot.net, Everybody Loves Coupons, Baby Cheapskate, and a simple Google search.

The second thing is to sign up for any of the free Rewards Programs that many of the stores have. Most often they give you coupons, rebates and points based on how much you spend. Simply signing up for these programs will likely bring you lots of great coupons. And of course, it's always nice to be rewarded for shopping that you needed to do anyway.

My third tip for shopping online is to make your purchase through one of the many shopping sites out there that offer cash back for a percentage of your purchases. These are third party sites that get advertising money for you clicking on their links and shopping through their ads. So in turn, they give you a percentage of their advertising income.

Some of these sites are Ebates, Inbox Dollars, Send Earnings, and MyPoints. There are many more out there, but these are the four that I use. And as always, I only like to recommend sites that I use and can personally recommend. Most of these sites also give you a bonus $5.00 just for signing up and making your first purchase.

Oh, and most shopping sites will also give you bonus cash if you refer others to sign up as well... usually $5-$10 per referral!! Always a nice little extra!

Hope these few tips will help stretch your dollar further this holiday shopping season. If you are serious about savings, you will shop around online for the best price and then combine that with the three tips mentioned above.

It's always a tight time of year, but this year especially, it will be even more important to make sure you are getting the absolute most for your money. You'll be amazed at how much money you can save and how much cash back you can get!