Amazon deal hacks

When you're gift shopping at Amazon there's nothing better than getting paid for your generosity. We'll share our secrets for getting the best deals and extra rewards.

Join Honey found this  Le Creuset dutch oven  for $38 less from a different seller on Amazon

Join Honey found this Le Creuset dutch oven for $38 less from a different seller on Amazon

Join Honey

Once you sign up and get the free plugin, Join Honey helps at online store checkout screens. It automatically tries coupon codes for you. You also get HoneyGold points redeemable for gift cards at places like Amazon and Target and Walmart -- and yes, it really works. We've cashed in several times. At some sites, such as Amazon, Join Honey will check to see if your item is offered by another seller for a lower price, and swap it into your cart for you.

Ebates

Sign up for free at Ebates and click through it to more than 2,000 stores to get cash back on your purchases. For example, it recently offered 3 percent back at Amazon and 6 percent back at Macy's. Every three months they'll send you a check or a PayPal deposit for what you've earned. They also offer coupon codes for various sites.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

This card earns 5 percent cash back at Amazon.

Amazon Smile

Shop at smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to a charity of your choice.

Discover Deals

We believe Discover is the best credit card to have in your wallet, and one reason is Discover Deals. It works like Ebates. Log into your Discover account and click through to an onsite store via the Discover Deals link. Earn cash back that you can then apply to checkout at Amazon or get gift cards with bonus amounts (discussed below)

Deal stacking

It's possible to double dip and take advantage of more than one of these techniques for a single purchase. For example, you could click through Ebates to Amazon, setting you up for 3 percent cash back. Add the $408 Le Creuset dutch oven to your shopping cart, and Join Honey finds it for $370 from a different seller. Upon checking out, choose to pay with your Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, and get another 5 percent back. All told, you save $68, snagging it for $340. That's 17 percent off.

In addition, since you took our advice and bought via smile.amazon.com, Amazon kicks in 0.5 percent, or $1.85, to your favorite charity.

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing (1985)

Cash back bonus multiplier effect

Once you've locked in the lowest price and cash back rewards, the final play is to pay with your accrued rewards. With Discover, you can take your cash back bonus and use it to buy gift cards, and there's a multiplier effect depending on the retailer. For example, you can redeem $20 of your cash back bonus and get $25 worth of gift cards at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Some retailers even have eCertificates so you can complete your purchase right away.

How do you shop online smart savvy? Share your tricks by leaving a comment!

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