Do Penny Auction Sites Actually Save You Money?

This post does contain referral and affiliate links.  Regardless I only post legitimate offers from trusted sites.

You’re watching tv and you see an ad pop up for one of those penny auctions sites.  You know the ones where people are claiming they won laptops for $53 and big screen tvs for $75 or whatever the claim is.  It might be easy to wonder if you really can win and save money on these sites. If you talk to the person that won, they’d probably tell you yes.  If you talk to the other 80 people that bid on that Xbox One they’d probably tell you no.  I get asked this question frequently.

Penny auctions sites have very similar set ups. Quibids, Orange Bidz, Deal Dash, all similar set up.  Sometimes they will offer you some free bids to sign up.  After that you start paying just to bid. You’ll buy a bid package. Looking at a site like Quibids, the cheapest package is $27 for 45 bids.  So if you think about it in that aspect it costs you 60 cents every time you place a bid whether you win or lose.  I also think the commercials only tell you part of the truth.  Yes the lady in the commercial may have won the ipad for $50 but what they don’t tell you is how many bids it took her to get there, how many bids she bought, and how many others bid and didn’t win.

Pennies wikimedia
picture credit to wikimedia.com

If you don’t win you lose whatever bids you used.  So yes, if you lose, you lost 60 cents per bid. If you look at one penny auction  site, in their terms and conditions it gives you the average number of bidders depending on the cost of the item.  Of course bigger ticket items like flat screen tv’s and ipads get more bidders.  For items that cost $500-$1000 the average number of bidders is 88.8 for items over $1000, 186.3 bidders.  Remember there’s only 1 winner for each auction.  Depending on size of the auction the price will only go up 5 cents for each bid.  So even if there price is only at $50, do that math, that’s 100 bids already.  Depending on the site, when you get down to the last 30 seconds  or so, every time someone bids the clock resets to 30 seconds again. It continues this way until there’s finally a winner.  So you can imagine how many bids actually go into the auctions.  I could only imagine that as the holidays approach the number of bidders increase.

You then pay the winning price.  Let’s stick with the $50 for a laptop but you also spent the money on whatever amount of bids you used plus shipping.  If you lost, you take a chance on another auction. Again you can only bid as many times as you bid package you purchased.  Sure they allow you to buy more but you have to do the math.  You could realistically bid on 10 different auctions not win and actually be out $100+ with nothing to show for it.

So in a nutshell, I say no, they’re not a good way to save money.

You want my opinion on how to get legitimate deals and be sure you’re going to walk away with something with your hard earned money?  These are some of my favorite deal sites for finding deals on electronics and bigger ticket items:

Also if you want to stay on top of the deals but don’t have time or resources to compare all the deals, using a site like Nifti helps.  You set up a free account, add nifti to your toolbar, and add the items you want to your nifti account.  Choose a price you’d like to pay and it will keep track of the price for you and notify you when/if it hits the the price you chose.  This site helped me save a lot of money last Christmas.  You can try it with some of these products below.

How Nifti works: search for the item you want. Use your Nifti tool bar bookmark to add it to your list, input the price you’re hoping to pay, Nifti does the rest of the work for you.  Emails you when/if the item hits the price you want.

Apple - 16GB Silver 5th Gen iPod Touch - MGG52LL/A

Apple – 16GB Silver 5th Gen iPod Touch – MGG52LL/A

This is something on my two oldest boys’ Christmas lists this year

Apple – 16GB Silver 5th Gen iPod Touch – MGG52LL/A – $199.00, Free shipping – Available at ABT

 

Amazon - Kindle Fire HD 7

Amazon – Kindle Fire HD 7″ 16 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet – w/ Special Offers (Android, LCD Touchscreen, 1280×800, 11 Hours)

My youngest son wants one.  He was using mine until mine kicked the bucket.

Amazon – Kindle Fire HD 7″ 16 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet – w/ Special Offers (Android, LCD Touchscreen, 1280×800, 11 Hours) – $149.97, See Site shipping – Available at TigerDirect

 

Apple - iPad Air 9.7

Apple – iPad Air 9.7″ 32 GB Wi-Fi Space Gray Tablet (iOS 7, LCD Touchscreen, 2048×1536, 10 Hours)

I know the iPad air is on a lot of lists this Christmas

Apple – iPad Air 9.7″ 32 GB Wi-Fi Space Gray Tablet (iOS 7, LCD Touchscreen, 2048×1536, 10 Hours) – $599.00, Free shipping – Available at B&H Photo-Video

 

Microsoft - Xbox One Black 500 GB Console (Xbox One)

Microsoft – Xbox One Black 500 GB Console (Xbox One)

Game consoles are another big ticket item at the holidays

Microsoft – Xbox One Black 500 GB Console (Xbox One) – $499.99, Free shipping – Available at Microsoft Store

 

Sony - Playstation 4 Black 500 GB Console (PS4)

Sony – Playstation 4 Black 500 GB Console (PS4)

another big game system for the holidays

Sony – Playstation 4 Black 500 GB Console (PS4) – $399.99, Free shipping – Available at B&H Photo-Video

(55 reviews)

 

Dyson - DC 65 Multi Floor Upright Vacuum - 205497-01

Dyson – DC 65 Multi Floor Upright Vacuum – 205497-01

One of these are on my Christmas list!

Dyson – DC 65 Multi Floor Upright Vacuum – 205497-01 – $499.99, Free shipping – Available at Target.com

 

Canon - EOS Rebel T5i Black SLR Digital Camera Kit w/ 18-135 mm Lens (18 MP, 7.5x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot)

Canon – EOS Rebel T5i Black SLR Digital Camera Kit w/ 18-135 mm Lens (18 MP, 7.5x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot)

I LOVE my Canon Rebel.  Best camera I’ve ever owned.  Though since they came out with the T5i this will be a “someday” purchase.

Canon – EOS Rebel T5i Black SLR Digital Camera Kit w/ 18-135 mm Lens (18 MP, 7.5x Opt, SD/SDHC/SDXC Card Slot) – $899.00, Free shipping – Available at B&H Photo-Video

(7 reviews)

 

Electronic Arts - Madden NFL 15 : Xbox 360

Electronic Arts – Madden NFL 15 : Xbox 360

Always popular at Christmas.  Video games, particularly the Madden games.  My dad get the new one each time it comes out.  These games have some hot deals around the holidays.  Add it to Nifi and let it keep track for you!

Electronic Arts – Madden NFL 15 : Xbox 360 – $59.99, Free shipping – Available at Microsoft Store

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links provided by Postpresso.

 

Habits (Dirty Secrets) of This Cheapskate Mom

When you have a family and a budget sometimes spending things on wrapping paper doesn’t make sense.  I mean you spend upwards of $5-$10 for a roll of wrapping paper only to have it ripped to shreds and thrown in the trash.  And napkins? You wipe your hands and faces with it and throw it away.  Still some things are necessary or convenient so we find ways to save money wherever we can.  Yes we’re the “cheapskate” moms. I started thinking about some of the things I do and just had to wonder, does anyone else do this?

Stashing fast food napkins I mean seriously taco bell will give you 12 tacos and 34 napkins (I might be exaggerating a little bit) I take all those napkins we don’t use, put them right into a freezer bag and store them away for bbq’s and lunchboxes.

Speaking of freezer bags does anyone reuse freezer bags?  My mom was also a mom of 4.  I used to wash her wash out freezer bags and dry them and reuse them. I thought she was the ultimate cheapskate until I became a mom of 4 a realized how much it cost for disposable plastic bags. I don’t reuse them if they had raw chicken or something in them but if I just used them to store extra clothes or something, yep, i sure do.

Saving tissue paper and gift bags yep, I do it.  I take the tissue paper out and fold it up, fold up the gift bag and store it in a tote.  I rarely buy wrapping paper except at Christmas time or larger gifts.

Hallmark can keep their $4 gift tags! It seemed like highway robbery for me to pay $2-4 for a 2×2″ gift tag for gifts especially for the kids when they don’t always bother to read the card anyway.  I bought myself a packet of those card stock squares (just a couple dollars) an acrylic blog and a few stamp shapes: birthday, thank you, happy anniversary, etc.  I cut out a cardstock square stamp it and attach it to the gift. Done. You pay maybe $6-8 for the initial investment (the small acrylic square and stamps are a $1 a piece at my local Michaels and I think the card stock scrap packet is about $4 and there’s probably 50 pieces of scrap cardstock in there) You’re making gift tags for pennies on the dollar.

cheapskate gift tags

Buying Holiday wrap in February yep, I told you I only buy wrapping paper at Christmas and for big gifts.  You can get Christmas wrap dirt cheap after the holiday is over in the holiday clearance section.  I bought a bunch of rolls: LEGO Christmas, Dora, etc for 70 cents a roll last year at Toys R US. PS you can also buy just plain red, green,silver, wrap too and use it any time during the year.

Stashing non-perishable snacks in your purse or diaper bag so you don’t have to pay for concessions and you’re not tempted to stop for fast food.  You know when you’re headed to the football game, the drive-in, wherever you think you can get away with it.  Fruit snacks, granola bars, dried fruit, whatever you can stash.

Buying reusable everything.  Fabric book covers for the kids for school, reusuable K-cup pod, washable nursing pads, steel or glass straws, whatever you can find.  I mean why buy book covers every year if you don’t have to? And disposable nursing pads are expensive! On a side not, you’re also living greener this way

Sticks, stick, sticks.  Seriously does anyone else do this?  I save popsicles sticks for the kids to use as crafts, to spread icing, make puppets, whatever (washed of course) I’ve received a few fruit bouquets and they had tons of those nice shish kabob and city chicken sticks in them and I saved them just for that purpose.

It was nice of country crock to give me this food storage container,  I LOVE those plastic containers with the lids that some of my grocery items come in: butter containers, cottage cheese containers, coffee containers, you get the idea.  They’re perfect for sending food to my dad’s or my father-in-laws house and not have to worry about if I get my good tupperware back.  Also good for crafts, sending to school with your kids, planting starter plants, etc.

cheapskate containers

Heading straight to the clearance section.  One of the first places I go when I’m looking for something in particular.  I need a nice picture frame for the boys’ school pictures, wonder if they have any decent ones in the clearance section.  Dang sugar bowl broke, I bet they have one in the clearance section..if not I’ll use my blue bonnet container and mark it.

Using up every last bit, It’s nut uncommon to see upside down ketchup bottles in my fridge, upside down shampoo bottles in the bathroom, a little water added to the hand soap pump, and a visibly empty (except to the cheapskate eye) eye shadow compact because, hey, there’s still 2 more application in there!

Washing plastic flatware, I’ll be honest I didn’t always do this.  I have an aunt that does this.  I thought geez a box of plastic flatware is only $2 or $3 for the generic one at Walmart but the more I thought about it.  She’s right! So I wash them and store them in a freezer bag for a few more uses.

cheapskate plastic ware

Cutting off the kids torn jeans or sweatpants and hemming them to make them shorts for the summer.  They still fit, they just have a huge whole in both knees.  Cut them off, hem them and the kids have Levi’s jean shorts to play in this summer.

Who in the world buys cleaning cloths? Old towels, t-shirts with wholes, stained sweatshirts, cut them into pieces, whatever size works for you and you got yourself some new cleaning cloths.

Looking through your coupons to go out to eat.  It’s been a while, let’s all go out to eat.  Hold on let me check my coupon binder. I know I have coupons for a few places for free kids meals or 20% off our bill on Tuesdays.

Making old crayons new crayons, nothing like a fresh box of crayons but you have a container of broken crayon tips, crayons that broke in half, and crayon nubs.  The kids don’t want to use them.  Ok so you melt them down and use a candy mold or or soap mold to make cute shapes out of the nubs.  Hey kids check out these new crayons I got you!

Why would I keep buying bubbles?  You kids probably get bubbles in party favor bags, from school events, etc.  Save the bottles and wands and make your own over and over again with a blog of dish soap or bubble bath and some water.

 

As I was writing I kept thinking of more and more.  I got to 17 and thought, wow how many have I written.  I went back and started reading them and wasn’t sure if I should pat myself on the back or use a pen name so as not to embarrass my kids.

Tell me one of your “cheapskate” habits

 

 

 

 

Another way to save money–double (or even triple benefits)

I realize I’ve been doing a lot of review and giveaways lately so i don’t want to stray from the heart of my blog.  Saving money!  Another tip is getting double or even triple benefits from your savings.  Let me give you a few examples with things that i do. 

–I know I keep talking about mypoints.com but I honestly love it.  One reason is the added savings benefit.  Mypoints.com has a coupon section.  For every coupon you print and redeem you earn 10 mypoints.

So savings point #1 coupons  saving point #2 mypoints then the mypoints go into your mypoints account that you can save and redeem for a gc of your choice.  I always use my mypoints.com account like a holiday club, which is savings point #3.  I save it up all year and redeem it a month or 2 before christmas.  The last 2 years with this year being no exception I’ve been able to get at least $100 worth of gc’s.  Now that doesn’t all come from the ooupons but also from the free points in emails, shopping like i normally would but through their site, etc. 

–Another one of my favorites, Famous Footwear.  Famous Footwear sells brand name shoes. If you are lucky enough to have one near you (or are willing to shop for shoes online) get their rewards card.  It’s free.  You earn gift cards for every so many points you get from purchases—savings point #1.  Then several times through out the year they have buy 1 get 1 half off sales.  This is great for back to school, sports shoes, etc.  They normally have it around back to school time so families can def take advantage of this deal—savings point #2.  Then if you have their rewards card and sign up for emails you get coupons every so often too that you are allowed to use during the buy 1 get 1 half off sales.  I took my 2 school age boys to Famous Footwear to get their back to school shoes at the buy 1 get 1 half off sale.  I also had a 20% off coupon i printed from an email I received.  Used that too along with my rewards card to earn points toward my free gc. 

—Giant Eagle grocery stores and Get go.  If anyone has these stores near them when you shop at Giant Eagle grocery store you earn what’s called fuelperks.  For every $50 you spend in groceries you earn 10 cents off per gallon of fuel at Get go has stations.  It cumulative so you don’t have to spend $50 in one shot.  Giant Eagle is a bit more expensive so take your coupons! Then when you pump gas at Get Go you also earn Food Perks at giant eagle.  For every 10 gallons you pump you earn 1% off in food perks (which is also cumulative but i know it stops at 20% or i think it’s 60 days then you lose it so you have to use it).  Also if you buy a drink in the Get Go has station you earn 1 cent off per gallon of gas too.  So you get a cup of coffee that’s another 1 cent off your gas. 

There’s lot of programs out there.  Some people don’t know that much about. Some people don’t take full advantage of.  I’d love to hear about the programs you know of that give more than one benefit. 

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