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I have a membership at Barnes and Noble, and I also have a nook, so it’s easy for me to have a bit of a bias for the store.

Amazon is much cheaper, sometimes. It’s cheaper than most stores, honestly. Sometimes (briefly, don’t tell) I wish that I’d bought a Kindle instead of a nook. But, I was sucked in by the prettiness of the nook, the ability to add more storage and the ability to put music on it. (I’m not trying to sell anything, I promise).

Funnily enough, I didn’t purchase my nook from B&N, I bought it at Best Buy because I like their Black Tie protection. I’ve dropped my nook once (it was a sad, sad, sad, sad day) and the screen cracked, I took it to Best Buy and they replaced it, no problem.

I had a point. I’ll find it in a moment.

Yep, there it is, lying in the corner, looking at me sadly.

So, sometimes I purchase books (that are not nookbooks) or videos or other things from B&N even though it’s a liiiiiitle bit more expensive, because I get free shipping (perk of the membership) no matter what the cost of the items was, and I get cash back through Ebates.

It’s not much cash back (4%) but sometimes I think it’s worth it.

The problem I have is finding the balance, finding the line where it’s too much of a difference and not enough of a difference.

Like, if I wanted to buy a book that was $14 on Amazon, but $17 on B&N (after shipping) — is the $0.68 in cash back worth it? This is a simplified example, obviously, but — at what point is buying something a little more expensive worth the cash back?

I mean, right now, at Ebates I have $16.71 coming back to me (next month, I think, they send them out every 3 months — I think). There are other things that will go through, and I’m pretty sure my cash back will equal about $20.

I mean, I just don’t know if buying something that cost $2 more at B&N is worth that cash back or not. I know that if I’m buying something at Amazon and not getting free shipping, then I’ll check B&N and see if it’s more/less than the product with shipping, if it’s less, I’m buying it from B&N.

So, what do you think? Is paying $2 more worth cash back? Is having a bias towards one company totally skewing my view, here?

PS — Also: is this crazy: I will buy things online at Wal-Mart through Ebates and get the free shipping to store, so I can get the cash back. Yeah, is that insane, or … is it frugal?

Also: where is the line between frugal and crazy?

Suggestions, people, and chocolate or anti-crazy meds are much needed.

Also: Has anyone seen my sanity?


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