I love to shop, but I rarely buy anything full price. I’ve used BeFrugal.com for years when I’m shopping online and looking for an extra coupon code to knock the balance down. I’m glad Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com granted my interview request to share his wisdom with my readers! Read below for his tips on saving money, which credit cards are best for cash back and more!
What are some credit cards you can recommend that offer the best cash back rewards? (I don’t have a cash back card…yet).
At BeFrugal we want to help people save money, so we would encourage shoppers to carefully consider all the details before signing up for a cash back rewards card. It’s important to review information including reward restrictions, annual feels, and interest rates. We also recommend paying off one’s balance each month.
There are two of the cash back credit cards we like at BeFrugal.com: Chase Freedom and American Express Blue Cash Preferred. The Chase Freedom card would be a wiser choice for single people or those not making a large volume of purchases, while the American Express Blue Cash Preferred is better suited for someone who is shopping for a family.
- The Chase Freedom card has no annual fee and 1% cash back on all purchases. There is 5% up to $1500 maximum spend on rotating categories (such as Q3 of 2012 for gas stations and restaurants). There is also a bonus of $100 cash back when one spends $500 in 3 months.
- The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card has a $75 yearly fee and higher cash back rates. There is 6% at supermarkets, 3% at gas stations and department stores (including Amazon) and 1% on everything else. There is a bonus of $150 when you spend $1,000 in 3 months.
Say someone doesn’t have a cash back credit card, is it still better for them to buy online and use a coupon?
Of course! Shopping online with coupons & cash back is always a smart move. Using a rewards card is one way to get more benefits from a single transaction, but placing orders online still offers many benefits without a rewards credit card. Shopping online means one can place their order 24/7 without needing the physical store to be open. With long days and busy schedules, this offers flexibility. Another perk is shopping from the comfort of one’s own home and having a wider selection of stores to shop at than the limitations of shops within driving distance.
How do you guys at BeFrugal.com come up with the most up-to-date coupon offers?
We have a team dedicated to keeping our offers current. They check existing coupons and constantly add new ones. We always want to pass along the savings. In fact, we just began offering savings alerts where shoppers can select up to 10 favorite stores and get email notification when there are new savings opportunities at the stores they select.
Why do you think retailers push consumers to buy online as opposed to in store? I’m always getting “flash sale” emails. Sometimes I just want to shop in-store.
Some retailers can offer more savings when their shoppers buy online, due to less overhead costs when there are no physical stores to staff, merchandise and ship to. In addition to being more convenient for shoppers, they can take advantage of sales and online discounts in addition to earning cash back. Shopping online is really a win-win. Even those who prefer to make purchases at the store can use their computer first to educate themselves and save money. By looking at weekly ads for retail stores, one can identify the best sales without driving from store to store. Printable coupons are also available for free online.
Jon Lal, founder of cash back and coupons website BeFrugal.com, knows the ins and outs of saving money: Since its launch in 2009, BeFrugal.com’s money-saving offers have saved shoppers more than $20 million dollars – an average of 27% per order on online purchases. For additional savings, BeFrugal.com recently launched a Cash Back program so shoppers can earn money – an average of 5% on more than 2000 stores – when they shop online. And shoppers can “double-up” their savings by combining cash back with coupon codes and free shipping deals posted on BeFrugal.com.
Prior to founding BeFrugal.com, he founded Winferno Software, a consumer security software company.
Jon Lal holds a BS in Finance and Economics from California State University, and is also a CFA charter holder.