Making Things Complicated

When it comes to shopping, I tend to make things complicated. My goal is to never pay full price for needed items when possible.  Part of frugal living means planning ahead so that you can search items out secondhand, keep an eye out for sales, or locate coupons.  I make a good salary, but I only work part-time.  I am able to do this in part because I watch my spending and budget pretty closely.

Recently, I was searching out a pair of black tennis shoes to wear to work on days when my feet aren't doing well and I need to wear orthotics.  My favorite place to buy shoes is 6pm- I know, it's a strange name for a shoe store.  It's actually the clearance site of Zappos.  I located a pair that I liked and started to search around for coupons.  I didn't have any luck, but I found a Visa rebate card for $10 on my desk that needed to be used.  (As a side note- I HATE when companies send rebates in the form of rebate cards instead of checks.  HATE. It makes things more complicated.)  I wasn't sure if 6pm would take more than one form of payment (the rebate card and my credit card), so I purchased an online gift certificate in the amount of $10.  Problem solved- you can use a gift cert and a credit card with no problems.  I also went through Upromise for both transactions for an additional 5% back which will be swept toward my student loans.  Whee!!!!

Complicated, right?  Not really.  This is just how my brain works nowadays- I automatically try to maximize savings in all directions.

Another example: I wanted to purchase an ebook from Amazon.  I rarely spend actual money on ebooks and instead usually just download freebies.  I have paid for ~10 of the nearly 200 ebooks on my Kindle.  Anyhoo, I realized that I had credit card rewards that could be cashed out for an Amazon gift certificate.  Here's the kicker- if I select a $25 cash back reward, it costs 3000 points.  However, if I select a $25 gift card, it costs 3500 points.  Where is the logic there?  I don't know.  What I do is purchase an Amazon online gift card using my credit card and then choose the cashback option.  I get my Amazon gift card and the cashback is immediately posted to my credit card statement, so I never feel the pain of the purchase. This saves me 500 points each time and is even quicker since it arrives immediately via email.  

This may seem crazy to you, but I really enjoy deal hunting in this way.  It challenges my brain to always be searching for the best way to maximize my dollars.


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