Recently, retailers have sent out some great “no minimum purchase” coupons worth $5, $7, and $10. If you’re a Stapler Confessions Facebook fan or Twitter follower, you know that Eddie Bauer and Shop Your Way Rewards sent these out recently. Retailers want you lure you into their store with that free money, and it’s a great method for getting customers to spend more money. Some people might throw those coupons away if they don’t have anything they’re eyeing at those stores. I have used them to get free items like pajamas for our preschooler, t-shirts for my husband or me, and stocking stuffers. Sometimes I fall victim to the lure, though. Most recently, I used an Eddie Bauer $5 gift certificate to spend $40 on work clothes. Oops! On my better days, I get free stuff with “no minimum purchase” coupons.
Here is my four-step method for using the current Eddie Bauer $5 off gift certificate and Shop Your Way Rewards 7,000 points ($7) to get things for almost free. I couldn’t make it completely free, but I came pretty close.
Step 1: Do They Have Free Shipping or Free Ship to Store?
Eddie Bauer is a great site for using that $5 coupon without having to go into the store. As you can see from this screenshot of their site below, they offer Free Shipping, no minimum purchase! (Sorry about the poor quality. I can’t seem to get my photos to be bigger when I edit them. I’m working on it!)
Shop Your Way Rewards is the rewards program for Sears, Lands’ End, and KMart. It’s another great site for using “No minimum purchase” coupons because you can get the item shipped to the store for free. So, when I got an email telling me that I have 7,000 Shop Your Way Rewards points (equivalent to $7) to spend by December 11, I was psyched! In fact, I still am psyched, and you’ll see why below.
Step 2: Sort by Price: Low to High
Next, I find the “Clearance” page. If I can view all clearance items, I then click on the drop-down menu to Sort by “Price: Low to High.” I’m looking for stocking stuffers on the Eddie Bauer page, so first I went to the “Gifts under $30” page and sorted by price. What did it reveal? The lowest-priced items are $9.99. That’s great if I have someone on my list who wants that cool mini lantern: I can get it for $5 out of pocket if I use the $5 coupon. But I’m on the hunt for something free, so I have to look somewhere else. If you are OK with spending a few dollars on stocking stuffers, you might want to keep poking around on that page, because there are some good things on there.
But I am searching for free stuff with my “no minimum purchase” coupon. So, the next place I turn is the “Clearance” page, which does have a sorting tool but first I have to choose between “women,” “men,” “gear,” and “home.” There’s nothing under $5 in the “gear” and “home” sections (as I quickly learn by sorting for price). In the “women’s section,” I have to choose a type of product, so it is tedious. After going through each type of product, I find that the cheapest ones in there are shirts for $6.99, which isn’t bad — if there is a shirt I like, it will cost me $1.99 after the coupon, but I might be able to also get cashback.
If you’re having no luck, try looking at “Accessories,” which are usually moderately priced, or children’s items — especially children’s accessories. On a site like Sears, take a look at their home accessories. One time, I used Shop Your Way Rewards to get a toothbrush holder for free. It’s one of those little expenses that we would have incurred anyway.
Step 3: Add items to your cart.
Maybe picking Eddie Bauer turned out to be a bad example of how to get something for free, because what I ended up buying was this cute t-shirt for $1.99 after applying the $5 gift certificate (originally $24.99).
On the Shop Your Way Rewards front, I already had $1.07 of rewards in my account, so the free $7 they gave me made my total $8.07 to spend. I narrowed down my choices to: (1) oil drip pan and funnel from Sears for $0.17 (originally $12.62), or (2) fleece touchscreen gloves from Lands’ End for $1.99 (originally $19.99).
Step 4: Search for Cashback and Coupons
Once those items are in your cart, open a new tab on your browser and head on over to Ebates or Shop At Home, where you will be able to search for the store and see what kind of cashback the site offer. You can usually get cashback in addition to any coupons you use at checkout. Sometimes, you can also enter a coupon code in addition to getting cashback and the “no minimum purchase” coupon. Typically, if the “no minimum purchase” coupon is in the form of rewards points or a gift certificate, it’s a form of payment and can be combined with a coupon.
In the case of Eddie Bauer, Ebates offers 4% cashback, and Shop at Home offers no cashback. It also has a coupon code for 20% off your regular price order, but that doesn’t apply to me because my item is on the clearance rack. In the case of Sears and Lands’ End, Shop at Home offers 5% cashback for Sears and 6% cashback for Lands’ End and Ebates offers 6% back for Sears and Lands’ End (but 3% back on clearance Lands’ End items).
After evaluating which site offers more cashback, and whether there are coupon codes to use, I click through to my store on the preferred cashback site. In Eddie Bauer’s case, no one is offering valuable coupons for my item, so I just click through Ebates and the Eddie Bauer store pops up. The page that loads should have your items in the shopping cart. You want to be sure to place your order on the tab that Ebates opened, so I usually close the tab I had open before.
Are you still following me? Do you see what just happened? Whatever is in your cart — whether it’s a $6.99 shirt or $9.99 pair of gloves — you will get cashback after your purchase as long as you click through Ebates or Shop At Home. It might be a small moneymaker, or it might lower your net cost for the item. I got $0.21 cashback for the Eddie Bauer shirt — that’s 3% off of the price of the shirt, not the price I paid after applying the gift certificate. Using Shop At Home lowered the cost of the Lands’ End gloves to $1.43. The cashback discount on such a low-priced item is not going to buy you a coffee at Starbucks, but it’s something. All in all, I’m getting two items at 93% off! Not too shabby.
Did you get any “No minimum purchase” coupons lately? Did you throw it out, give it away, or spend it?
* The ebates and Shop At Home links are my affiliate links. If you’re not a member of these programs and sign up with my links, it benefits this blog. Thank you!