Andy Fleming writing on financial freedom…
It’s almost always cheaper to buy things online. Just last week I picked up two replacement headlights normally retailing at $70 for about $12 each. Plus, if you live in a rural area, shopping online gives you access to goods you might have to drive half an hour or more to buy in store.
Of course, you shouldn’t let the ease of online shopping encourage you to buy more stuff you don’t need…but using the internet to get the things you already buy at a much lower price is always a good idea.
Whether you’re getting ready to do your holiday shopping, or just trying to find the best deal on something you need replaced, you can use these apps to save money, shop smart, and stay secure.
1. Invisible Hand
Just like it says in the name, Invisible Hand stays hidden while shopping, only popping up to tell you when it’s found a lower price on a different site. This great app integrates with Google, so if you use the search engine to look for a product, it will automatically tell you which site has the best price. Invisible Hand isn’t just for consumer goods either, it will help you find the best deals on airline tickets and car rentals as well, making it a great tool for travelers.
If you’re a coupon enthusiast, you can use Piggy every time you purchase something online. If you don’t use coupons, Piggy will do the work for you, and undoubtedly save you some hefty percentages. All you have to do is download and install the app for your browser. Once your online shopping cart is full and you’re ready to check out, you simply click the Piggy button and it will find all the best coupons for the items you’ve chosen and automatically apply them. Piggy can find coupons for up to 75% off some purchases across 1,800 stores. You’ll even receive cash back rewards when possible. If you want some finer control, consider Coupons at Checkout which shows all applicable coupons and allows you to select the ones you want.
3. The Camelizer
The Camelizer is a tool that can be used from the website above, or downloaded as a browser extension. Camelizer tracks the price history of any product you input, so you can see if it frequently goes on sale and decide whether you should wait to buy. You can also set up alerts to inform you of when an item’s price drops.
If you use multiple credit cards and want to maximize your rewards and cash back, Wallaby shouldn’t be overlooked. Install the app in your browser and link your credit cards. Then, simply click the Wallaby icon when your shopping cart is full and you’re ready to checkout. Wallaby will determine which cards should be used for which purchases, in order to get the best rewards available to you.
You’ve just found a deal that seems too good to be true, on a site you’ve never heard of or seen before. Before you input your credit card info, use SiteJabber to make sure you’re not about to get scammed. The app offers reviews and ratings for sites you visit and will instantly show you a “red, yellow, or green” rating for how safe the site is.
When it comes to shopping online, you should only input credit card information into sites that are secured with HTTPS encryption. You can easily tell if a site is secure by looking to see if the address starts with “https://”. If you don’t want to have to keep track of this, you can simply download HTTPS-Everywhere. Sometimes there are both secure and unsecure versions of a website. This extension ensures you’re using the secure version and warns you if the site is unsecured.
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