3 ways to save money — without cutting coupons

Feb 12

I’m not a coupon cutter — and probably will never be one.

My wife, Yael, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.

She always knows where to save 0.50¢ on English Cucumbers and a buck off a box of Cheerios.

Yael is what I call a “micro-saver.”

Don’t get me wrong; I think coupons and price matching are fantastic. I just wasn’t built like that.

I’m more of a “macro-saver” (versus a “micro-saver”).

In other words, I look at big ways to save money that don’t take a lot of time.

And if you’re a macro-saver like me, today’s your lucky day.

Below, I’ve put together my top 3 macro-saving tips, which could put thousands of dollars back into your wallet — without cutting a single coupon. 😉

Tip #1 ThriftBooks.com

Thriftbooks connects you to discount wholesalers that’ll sell you a new or used book for a fraction of the retail price.

Take Malcolm Gladwell’s, The Tipping Point, for example.

In hardcover, Barnes and Nobels sell it for $18.98.

At Thriftbooks, it’s $4.59 for a *like-new copy.

(* My experience of like-new is that it’s really “like-new.”)

In other words, you can buy four books for the price of one.

The only drawback to Thriftbooks is waiting for the books to come in the mail vs. getting them right away.

To get around this, I usually stock up and order five books at a time. Before I start my last book, I’ve ordered my next batch.

FYI: Shipping is free for orders over $10. But if you live in Canada (like me), they charge you a couple of bucks for shipping. It’s still worth it.

Tip #2 – Low-cost grocery stores

On average, you can save anywhere between 10% to 30% just by choosing to shop at a discount vs. higher-cost grocery store.

In the US, options like Aldi, Lidl, 365, Winco, Fresh Thyme, and Sprouts are good ones.

Here in Canada, we have FreshCo., Food Basics, Foodland, and No-Frills.

I have to admit, the low-cost store’s floors aren’t as shiny, and they don’t have the fancy-schmancy signage. But that’s how you save money.

I did my math: On average, if prices are just 15% lower at a discount grocery store, I will save over $148,000 in my lifetime. Bottom line: A can of tomatoes is a can of tomatoes. Bye, bye shiny floors. 😉

Tip #3 – Ebates.com

Ebates gives you cash back for shopping at stores like Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, Sephora, OldNavy, and Coach.

Typically they’ll pay you 2.5% to 10% of your purchase price (with a cheque) just by going through their site.

When I first heard about Ebates, I thought “this sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?”

There isn’t one.

Here’s how they explain it on their site: “It’s really quite simple. Just like almost every other online shopping centre, we get a commission from the stores when you make a purchase. Instead of keeping that money – like almost all other sites do – we share it with you!”

Personally, we’ve gotten lots of cheques from Ebates.

The only downside is that you might get tempted to visit other stores that are offering cash-back deals and buy something you don’t need.

If you know that online shopping is your kryptonite, you might want to stay away from this one and adopt a pay-only-retail strategy.

So there you have it — three ways to save money without cutting a single coupon.

I’m curious…

Are you a macro or micro saver?

Do you have any tips and tricks that help you automatically save money without cutting coupons?

Let me know in the comments.

Afterthoughts — A reflection from your comments. 🤔 

Big shout out to @MichelleMartello, @fbgcai, @James, and @PPGal for your generous comments.

Y’all came up with some additional resources that could save some serious bucks.

Here were my favorites (not in any particular order):

  1. Poshmark.com to buy new/slightly used clothes at huge savings — like eBay, but for clothes. (via @MichelleMartello)
  2. Retailmenot.com (I don’t know how I forgot this one) to find discounts on internet services and software. (via @MichelleMartello)
  3. E-books from BookBub.com. Thousands of e-books at a fraction of the cost of Kobo or Kindle. (via @James)
  4. Awesomebooks.com for bookworms. Comes with low shipping or free depending on the number of books that you will buy. (via @PPGal)
  5. Use the local library for DVDs, CDs, ebooks, audiobooks, online periodicals, streaming services, financial databases, consumer reports, etc. And cool sites that come for free with a library card like lynda.com, kanopystreaming.com, and zinio.com. (via @fbgcai)
  6. Save money on groceries by shopping your own pantry. I love the idea of being creative with what you got. Challenge yourself to make a meal with items that you already have, and pretend you’re competing in Masterchef. (via @PPGal)

Thanks for all your comments. I loved them all!

Avraham

About The Author

Hi, I'm Avraham (pronounced Av-Rum.) I'm a reformed spender, financial coach, and the founder of Avraham Byers Financial (I'm better with money than coming up with company names.) In a funny and non-preachy way, I teach people how to take control of their finances without giving up their smoked butterscotch lattes.

21 Comments

  1. Jody
    February 12, 2018 at 3:15 pm · Reply

    Ha! At first glance number two looks like an obvious one.

    But really I’m guilty shopping at the fancy stores like Whole Foods.

    148K! Really? Yikes!

    • Avraham Byers
      February 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm · Reply

      Yup, Jody, it’s true. I did the math and it’s really $148,000 in savings. Happens to be that we have a large family and eat healthy (that costs more.)

  2. Ira S.
    February 12, 2018 at 3:27 pm · Reply

    Another great blog Avraham. I will have to check out ThriftBooks.com.

    • Avraham Byers
      February 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm · Reply

      Thanks Ira. That one’s my favourite!

  3. Erin
    February 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm · Reply

    I’ve heard of ebates before but never looked into it because it sounded scam-y. Thanks for the tips!

    • Avraham Byers
      February 12, 2018 at 4:07 pm · Reply

      Erin!!! Thanks for coming by my blog. Yup, ebates is 100% legit.

  4. Melanie
    February 12, 2018 at 7:10 pm · Reply

    I’ve never heard of Thriftbooks before.

    I went to check it out just now and found the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. It was only $3.79!

    Bought it!

    Thanks Avraham for this post.

  5. Michelle Martello
    February 12, 2018 at 7:13 pm · Reply

    ooh love this ..my latest trick – poshmark.com to buy new/slightly used clothes at huge savings (like ebay, but for clothes)
    And retailmenot.com to find discounts on internet services and software.

    • Avraham Byers
      February 12, 2018 at 7:26 pm · Reply

      Yes, Michelle! Retailmenot.com, how could I forget?!

      Poshmark.com, looks REALLY interesting. I’m going to have to check it out further. Thanks for sharing that savings tidbit.

      You’re awesome. 😉

  6. fbgcai
    February 12, 2018 at 7:24 pm · Reply

    Hi Avraham,
    good blog – I’m a split personality 🙂 -both macro and micro saver.
    Isn’t the obvious alternative to #1 on the list your local public library? Free vs. any dollar outlay ? I’ve been using my local library for a long time and I am still surprised at the resources available – books of course but also DVDs, CDs, ebooks, audiobooks, online periodicals, streaming services, financial databases, consumer reports, archival databases – the list goes on and on – I’d conservatively guesstimate my annual use would costs thousands of dollar if purchased, all for the price of showing up at a branch and showing ID – best deal on the planet.
    I agree with #2 but still check the higher end banners – sometimes they are less expensive than the discount banners.
    And ebates is great especially when applied to bigger ticket items -travel for example.

    • Avraham Byers
      February 12, 2018 at 7:38 pm · Reply

      You’re absolutely right.

      A library is a great option — because it’s free.

      For me, my challenge is that I ALWAYS bring the books back late and get dinged for it. (It’s ingrained in me — and I can’t seem to shake it.)

      But if you’re good with the returns, then absolutely, go to the library.

      You’re also bang-on with the “higher-end-banners” sometimes being less expensive than the “discount-banners.” My wife is always on the prowl for good deals and sometimes finds them at the higher-end-banner stores. She’s like a walking grocery store computer and knows all the prices.

      Me on the other hand, I resort to doing the “discount-banner” store shop because I don’t know what’s a good deal and what isn’t.

      Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it.

      • fbgcai
        February 12, 2018 at 7:55 pm · Reply

        Avraham , borrow the ebooks/audiobooks online and they “return” automatically – no late fees – same scenario applies to the other resources accessed online.

        • Avraham Byers
          February 12, 2018 at 8:04 pm · Reply

          That’s a really good point!

          To riff off your library idea; here in Toronto, apparently, if you have a library card you also can get Lynda.com for free as well.

          Thanks for your ideas. I love them!

          • fbgcai
            February 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm ·

            Ok learned another thing about TPL 🙂 – btw not being picky but it is Lynda.com
            While you’re there check out Hoopla.com, kanopy.com and zinio.com
            So when are you picking up your library card?

          • Avraham Byers
            February 12, 2018 at 8:39 pm ·

            Thanks for letting me know about the typo in “Lynda.” I’ve corrected it.

            Those are great library services you listed there!

            Do you have anything else up your sleeve?

            I’m sure people would love to hear…

  7. Mike G
    February 12, 2018 at 9:13 pm · Reply

    I also use ebates. I love seeing the checks come in the mail. Cheers!

  8. James
    February 13, 2018 at 2:44 pm · Reply

    Avraham,

    If you are into e-books there is a site called BookBub. They have thousands of e-books at a fraction of the cost if you bought through Kobo or Kindle. The authors are current and they offer a wide range of categories. Also, they send you titles based on your preferences.

    If you are into reading and saving this is a great site.

    • Avraham Byers
      February 13, 2018 at 5:15 pm · Reply

      James, nice one!

      I just checked it out and it looks like there are some great deals @ BookBub.

      I appreciate your comment.

  9. PP Gal
    February 14, 2018 at 11:34 pm · Reply

    I’ll check thriftbooks.com. Another site for bookworm is awesomebooks.com which comes with low shipping or free depending on the number of books that you will buy. I bought hard-bound trilogy of The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo on that site.

    In Canada, I prefer to buy in Walmart and Superstore, but to save I opted for the less popular brands like Great Value or PC which also have vegan/vegetarian products. Now, I’m not brand conscious anymore. But quality is still a priority.

    And the best way to save for my grocery is to shop in the pantry. Most of the time, I overlook some items and by the time I pay attention, the foods are way passed the best before date. Such a waste of money, food, and time. Instead, try to be creative and challenge yourself to make a meal for items that you already have, as if you’re competing in Masterchef Canada or somewhere else.

    • Avraham Byers
      February 15, 2018 at 12:03 am · Reply

      Thanks for these great tips.

      I’m going to have to check out awesomebooks.com.

      And I TOTALLY agree with you, foods past the best before date are a waste of money, food, and time.

      Becoming a Masterchef sounds like a fun challenge!

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