And, in a move that is totally uncharacteristic of me, I found myself signing up for them both.
To be honest, this kind of thing isn’t my usual jam. I tend to avoid trying new apps, or really any system that isn’t part of my existing routine. I like to shop however I feel like shopping in the moment, rather than employing a strategy; some weird mix of rebellion + impatience often keeps me from even taking the step of digging up a coupon code.
But I was about to head into heavy holiday-shopping mode, so I figured, “Why not?”
Now here’s where I start feeling silly for not ever having looked into this before. Both services took about three minutes to sign up for, so I was able to start using them right away. And yes, they saved me money – hundreds of dollars so far, actually, in coupon codes and cash back combined.
Honey searches coupon codes for me and then automatically applies multiple codes in my shopping cart at checkout to find the best one. I would never have known how or where to dig up most of these codes and having Honey try them automatically saved me so much time.
Honey also has other features I haven’t really leveraged yet, like comparing prices across the internet or letting you know when the price on something you’re considering drops.
But honestly, just having the extension running in the background has already saved me so much money – and it automatically pops up whenever I’m checking out of a participating shop, so I don’t even have to think about it.
Rakuten is all about the cash back – something I admit I have not taken nearly enough advantage of in this digital world. Again, if you have the Rakuten extension downloaded, you don’t have to do anything extra if you’re shopping at a participating store – the cashback offer will automatically pop up once you start browsing.
You can also go to Rakuten’s website to browse stores by name or niche, or you can even search for specific products and see what pops up.
I found this really helpful for reducing my reliance on Amazon this year, and instead chose other stores I knew and trusted – or sometimes just went for those with the best cashback deals.
Within just a few days of my using it, Rakuten had deposited $40 into my Paypal account, and I’ll have another payout on its way soon.
(By the way, both the links above are referrals; so if you sign up with Honey we both get 500 “Honey Gold” ($5 value), if you sign up with Rakuten and spend $20 through the service, you’ll get an additional $20 cash back and so will I!)
I admit, I have gotten no small amount of pleasure out of the little, incremental “wins” of saving 20% here and there, or watching $10 or $20 cash back on purchases stack up into a decent little pot of cash.
And this experience perfectly illustrated how sometimes taking a few minutes of effort to set yourself up for a reward can be so worth it.
Maybe it’s putting your Christmas tree lights on a timer so you the first thing you see each morning is the glow of a lit tree – without worrying about burning the house down overnight. Or sliding your fuzzy slippers a little closer to the bed each night so you can step right into them in the morning without having to walk on a cold floor.
Maybe it’s taking the time to put up an out-of-office auto-responder so you don’t feel as obligated to check your email during the holiday. Or perhaps, like me, it’s figuring out a streamlined way to earn and save a little cash, and then celebrating with each dollar that heads back your way.
This year, big wins may have felt hard to come by. But there are still little wins to be had, and they totally count – it just may take a few minutes, some effort to get started, and the willingness to slow down and step outside your usual way of doing things (not always easy, I know.)