Frugal Living and a Minimal 6% Discount at Amazon, Always!

How I got my Berkey!

I have been working on this post on and off for a couple of weeks now. The steps I took were difficult and hard to remember because in the meantime Microman was admitted to the hospital. He is doing fine now. So follow my steps below and feel free to ask questions when things are not clear. It all started when we ran out of drinking water again and I was so fed up I needed to have a Berkey. After the whole process described below I managed to get one for my family and we all are happy that I was able to do this. At the same time I also learned how I can get a minimal discount of 6% every time I shop on Amazon and sometimes even more.

I am happy because we have good quality of drinking water. Husband is happy because he is not running to the store anymore and filling up 5 gallon water bottles with drinking water. Overall it is a big success and we wish we had done this much sooner.

Frugal Living

Frugal Living Berkey Water Filter, discountWe are living on a budget. I have days that I feel really rich, looking around our house with all the stuff we have accumulated over the years, during our homeschool years. We have plenty. But sometimes I feel really poor. When I feel I need something and I can’t afford it. I do find ways to make it happen and give the kids the things they need or the things they don’t need, like skiing (which we do for basically no costs at all apart from gas), but I do want to give them. Today I like to share with you something else. I like to talk about a basic need… water. Drinking water to be precise. What I felt I needed, a Berkey Water Filter System, and how I got a 6% discount on Amazon.

The Importance of Quality Drinking Water

We ran out of drinking water again. I hate when that happens, because although the water from the tap is supposed to be drinkable I highly disagree. Maybe I am spoiled. But I am used to high quality drinking water that doesn’t have the taste of chloride. Where we used to live in the Netherlands the quality of tap water was high. I can say it was extremely high. The quality of tap water was even higher than the water you would buy from the store. That is my base line.

Berkey Water Filters

You can understand that running out of drinking water is an issue, I feel deprived from a basic need. I had heard about Berkey Water Filters before and looked at it but since dad has been without a job since Christmas 2015, our cash flow is non existent. I am in the process of writing about that too. It’s taking some time to write about that one. keep your eye out for the post: Keeping it Real. Back to the Berkey Water Filters, a couple of my friends own them and they rave about them. For me the idea of having clean drinking water available All The Time sounded wonderful. So I have been eyeing them for some time now. Hoping that miraculously I could afford them.

I wondered what size we needed and if we could do with a smaller size. However, we drink a lot of water during the day. Actually, water is mostly all we drink. We either drink water, tea and Dad likes his coffee. We hardly drink soda’s. So I eventually decided buying a smaller size wouldn’t be very cost effective at all. Dad commented: “Penny wise, pound foolish.” Which basically means that sometimes we focus on the wrong things to save money. I had decided on getting the Imperial Berkey Water Filter which is designed to accommodate a large family plus a Black Berkey Primer, which I heard would make my life easier and I could start using my Berkey quicker. The smaller options would have been either the Big Berkey (2 gall) or the Royal Berkey (3 gall), both I had considered.

The Search to Afford the Berkey Water Filter

After I decided which size would be right for our family I went on a search how I could pay for the Berkey Water Filter. First of all I had 9 5 gallon water bottles which I could return for cash, $6.- each. That is $54.- right there.

That was the easy part. After this the internet search started and that took me quite some time. So bear with me, it will be useful for future searches / purchases as well. I discovered I could save at least 6% on my Amazon purchases each time.

Cash Backs, A New Concept To Me

Being from abroad, I learned about cash backs through my credit cards. The whole concept of getting money back that I could spend again, because I was spending was foreign to me. Even using credit cards was new to me. Back home you mostly use your debit card. Most people don’t even own a credit card. So I went on a search.

1.Check Cash Back

My first step was to check which of my credit cards had an Amazon cash back special going on this period. Unfortunately neither of them had one at the moment. Sometimes they do. American Express had one last month and Chase for instance has them happen sometimes and then they have a cash back of 5% instead of 1%. Which adds up. You would have earned your 5% discount right then and there! So it is always useful to check. You can check the cash back specials from Chase here. Both my credit cards had a 1% cash back at this time. I prefer to buy American Express Gift Cards with my American Express Card.

Update: Amazon has two credit cards with higher cash backs, which would increase the total %-age advantage drastically. If you use the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card you earn 3% back when shopping on and when you have Prime you can apply for an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card and you can earn 5% back when shopping on If you don’t have Prime, you can always decide to sign up for a 30-day free trial. I started Prime also with a free trial and cancelling it the first time to save money.

I also checked my American Express Membership Rewards Points to see if I had enough to convert those to American Express Gift Cards. That would be another saving on my spendings. Luckily I had Membership Rewards Points!

2. Check Where you can get the Best Discount for American Express Gift Cards

Secondly, I checked for the best discounts for American Express Gift Cards at Ca$hback Monitor. I had some trouble figuring that out. Might be because the kids were busy or because I felt there were so many options and I didn’t know where to look. In my link it takes you directly to American Express Gift Cards and you can see who has the highest cash back percentage. In this case it were both Top Cashback and BeFrugal.

Frugal Living Berkey Water Filter, Discount


3. Buy American Express Gift Cards

The third step, open one of the two with the highest cash back. I opened BeFrugal where I signed up and searched for American Express Gift Cards. I purchased them, with the 1.5% cash back with my credit card and I only purchased the amount of money in gift cards that I needed. Sometimes they have an extra cash back and then it would be worthwhile to purchase more. But since I am on a really tight budget here and there is no extra cash back, there is no need on spending more. For the future it can be wise to stock up on these! Gives an extra discount on items you purchase!

Are you still with me? I told you this was a lot of work? So far we have in cash back 2.5%.

4. Buy Amazon Gift Cards with the American Express Gift Cards you just Bought

Okay, next step… To use the American Express Gift Cards to buy Amazon Gift cards, which I used to purchase my items.

Why would you want to buy Amazon Gift Cards? Because again, you can buy those at a discount. So for example, you can buy a $100.- gift card with a 4% discount or even more, you pay less for the card, but the amount on the card is still the $100.-

I signed up for where I bought my Amazon Gift Cards. If you are new like me use the promo code RAISE25AF and take advantage of their current offer of $5.- off for first time users on their already discounted gift cards. This will not only get you a 4% discount on your Amazon gift card but also $5.- off. Sometimes there are higher discounts available, I wasn’t that lucky, but I was lucky enough to find a couple of 4% discount cards. There were a lot of Amazon Gift Cards at a 1% discount available. If you already a member of Raise you can use this link which will take you directly to the Amazon Gift Card section.

After buying the gift cards you will receive them in your inbox and you can claim them at the Amazon Gift Card Redemption Page. After claiming them you are ready to make your purchase.

My Total Discount

If I add everything up, how much discount did I receive on my purchase:

For using my American Express Card I got a cash back of 1%
Buying American Express Gift Cards at a discount of 1.5%
Buying and using gift card which I got at a discount of 4%
Total = 6.5%

However, if you use the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card (3% back) or the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (5% back), your total discount would be between 8.5% and 10.5%!

Plus I returned 9 5 water gallon bottles for $6.- each and I got a $5.- discount at when I purchased Amazon Gift Cards which totals to $59.- and I converted my American Express Reward Points to American Express Gift Cards. I didn’t add this to my 6.5% discount.


In the End

And after all this I finally was able to order us a Berkey Water Filter. During my search I also found an amazing 10% cash back through Be Frugal, by searching Berkey. And if you fill in your details on the Berkey page and then leave their page, they will e-mail you an extra discount coupon. But than I had to order though the BerkeyFilterUSA website and I would have had regular shipping times instead of Prime shipping with Amazon and I couldn’t wait anymore after all that work. Prime comes with free shipping and delivery in 2 days, if you don’t have it, it is so worth it and you can try it out for free for 30 days. I am so excited. Two more days with crappy water. I can’t wait for it to get here. But if you do can wait it is a great deal!


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Post Author: The Art of Home Education

I am a former Business Intelligence Consultant / Account Manager DWH and still work as a freelance photographer. After working for a couple of years (trying, struggling, picking myself up and trying again) we discovered I have Pernicious Anemia and EDS, which I am struggling with daily. Now, I am a SAHM! - I am a mom to four boys and with The Art of Home Education, my husband and I provide our children with the opportunity to learn based on their interests. Our slogan is "Let the journey be shaped by the curiousity of the child…". - You can find us on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest and Google+ .

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