Here are some very useful and somewhat surprising tips for helping you find the best prices on the internet.
10. Use the Right Browser and Device
Did you know that if you’re shopping online using Internet Explorer or Safari you could end up paying more than someone who’s shopping on Firefox, Chrome or on a mobile device? The same holds true for shoppers using Mac computers. That’s because retailers assume you have more expendable income and might be willing to pay more than someone who uses a PC. So, they’ll employ a technique known as “dynamic pricing” to serve different prices to different people depending on the browser and device they’re using. Sounds crazy, right? Unfortunately, it’s all true.
9. Shop in Incognito Mode
Speaking of your browser, you’ll also want to make sure your browser is in incognito mode when shopping online. That’s because your browser shows your location, your shopping patterns, and your preferences. Retailers can see this information, and as a result, some stores jack up the prices for shoppers in higher income ZIP codes and in rural areas where there’s not as much competition. And, if you’re a repeat customer, they might raise prices on you as well. Thankfully, shopping in incognito mode will prevent this from happening.
8. Use the Right Search Engine
According to consumer expert Clark Howard, if you want to prevent online price gouging, you should shop using a search engine that doesn’t store any information on you as you search. One such search engine is DuckDuckGo. In fact, they market themselves as “the Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs.”
Depending on the browser you’re using, you may actually see DuckDuckGo as an available alternative. If it’s not there, you can always go to the search engine’s website to use it.
7. Use a VPN
Did you know that you can use a virtual private network (VPN) to find the best deals online? Because stores serve different prices based on ZIP codes, you can use your VPN to connect to any VPN server location in a different city or state and find prices that are lower than what you would pay in your area. It’s important to note that you’ll need to check the website’s terms since not all retailers allow you to make purchases from a virtual location.
NOTE: If you’re going to use a VPN, you’ll first need to clear your browser’s cookies. Then, you’ll need to switch to private/incognito mode. Next, you’ll simply need to enter the specific website you want to shop on. After you’re done, close the window and clear your cookies. Repeat this process until you’ve found the lowest price.
6. Check for Coupons
Sites like Groupon and RetailMeNot offer discounts on everyday products at retailers such as Target, Walmart, Macy’s, and Sears. So, before you make a purchase, checks these or similar websites for any discounts you can apply. Once you get your coupon code, simply copy and paste it into the “promo code” field to redeem your rewards.
Or, to make it a bit easier, you can use a browser add-on like Honey to find and apply coupon codes at checkout with just one click.
5. Get Automatic Price Adjustments
If you’ve purchased something that has a price guarantee, you can use an app like Paribus to get an automatic refund if the price happens to drop.
Here’s how it works:
Sign up for Paribus with the email address you use for online shopping receipts. They’ll scan your inbox for receipts from the 25+ stores they monitor. When they detect potential savings, they’ll let you know and help you get money back. FYI, Paribus also monitors hotel room rates booked through Expedia, Marriott, Hilton, Priceline, Booking.com, and Hotels.com. And, best of all, Paribus is absolutely FREE to use!
4. Abandon Your Shopping Cart
Believe it or not, there are some websites that will send you a savings offer via email if you abandon your shopping cart, with items in it of course. “This is a great way to score a 10 to 20 percent off coupon code with little effort. Instead of acting right away, just be patient! Bonus: you’ve just avoided an impulse buy,” businessman and American radio host Dave Ramsey said on his blog.
Perhaps the thinking here is that they can persuade you to come back and make a purchase from them if they sweeten the deal, so to speak.
3. Search Deal Sharing Communities
Deal sharing communities like slickdeals can help you find the best deals online. All you have to do is sign up and set up customized alerts to be sent to you. Once someone in the slickdeals community has found and posted a new discount offer on the product you’re looking for, you’ll be alerted so you don’t miss out on the savings.
According to Money Under 30, slickdeals is the most extensive deal sharing community. They help you find discounts on food, clothing, health and beauty aids, travel, video games, and even financial products and services.
2. Compare Prices While You Shop
The simplest way to do this is to use an easy-to-install browser add-on that will automatically tell you if the product you’re looking to purchase is cheaper somewhere else. Priceblink is one such add-on. It compares and links you to stores with cheaper prices, plus it also compares shipping costs. Priceblink will also automatically find any active coupons you can apply and alert you to them for even more savings.
Priceblink is free to use and is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. And, according to its website, it stays hidden when you’re not shopping so it doesn’t take up valuable screen space when it’s not in use.
1. Negotiate the Cost
Think it’s impossible to haggle online? Think again! It actually can be done with a browser plug-in like PriceWaiter. Here’s how it works:
You click the PriceWaiter “Name Your Price” or “Make an Offer” button to make an offer on a product. The retailer will then decide to accept, reject or counter your offer. Once your offer is accepted, you can proceed to checkout.
NOTE: In order for you to use PriceWaiter, it must be integrated on the website you’re shopping on. That being said, some of PriceWaiter’s retail partners include JackRabbit, shadesdaddy, Coleman Furniture, Govberg, Hyperikon, Gray & Sons Jewelers, 1StopLighting, sohomod.com, and Watches.com.
Here are some additional ways you can save money online.