It is hard to determine the lowest possible price that any given product can have, either online or in a brick-and-mortar store. There are so many places to search that many of us just use one or two searches, then settle on a price we are willing to pay. We may feel that all that searching has limited returns and that our time is valuable. However, there are a few easy to learn techniques that can help you save tremendous amounts of money, any time you shop.
- Start with Amazon
Amazon started as a small online book seller, and has risen to become the world’s largest retailer. A recent survey of 2000 shoppers found that a massive 44% of all internet searches for products start at Amazon.com. This is both good and bad for the consumer. Many retailers on Amazon may be offering the same product at different prices. Amazon does not always show you the cheapest price. Items are not sold by order of pricing, or the would get less commissions from their merchants. Amazon should only be a starting point for your search, to see the general price of an item.
- Use Google Tools
If you use the Google search engine in a full sized browser, as opposed to a phone app, you will get access to more tools. When you do a search for a product, look it up by its make and model, size or other distinguishing features. When you get your results, click “Shopping” at the top of the page, then set the “Sort” drop-down list to “Price – low to high.” This will place the lowest prices at the top. Check the websites for the first few results and check the cost of shipping. The lower the initial price of an item is, the more important the cost of shipping will be. A $5 item with $10 shipping is much more expensive than a $6 item with free shipping.
- Use Groupon Coupons
You may have used coupon codes before. They give you things like free shipping or a percentage off your purchase. If you have searched online for coupon codes before, you know how frustrating it can be. 3/4s of the codes you get are out of date or in some way invalid. Groupons has a coupon section with with coupons from many thousands of online merchants. Each merchant has a page with a variety of coupon codes, such as this one for Advance Auto Parts. Finding a coupon such as “30% off your next purchase” can save you tons of money.
- Join Store Newsletters
Most merchants have newsletters these days. They offer occasional coupon codes and access to special sales. If you use a Gmail account when you sign up, you can have the newsletters automatically placed in their own tab, as they come in. This keeps your phone from chiming for emails so often and cleans up your inbox. When you are shopping for an item that you think might be available from one of your merchants you get emails from, take a quick look at their latest email to you. You may find a sale or coupon code to save 50% off or more. These newsletters usually have a percentage off welcoming coupon code, for new subscribers. Before you buy at a new site, take a moment to subscribe. Wait a few minutes for that first email and you might get an extra 20% off or so.
- Join Loyalty Reward Programs
Loyalty programs often give you a percentage off each purchase or a merchandise credit after you have spent a certain amount of money. Any time you can use one of these cards or numbers, it is like money in the bank.
- Combine Techniques
If you get good at these techniques, you will be able to find deep discounts quickly. Especially on major purchases, combine these techniques to multiply your savings. For example, you could do a comparative price search for an item, find a sale from a favorite merchant, use a Groupon Coupon code and get a loyalty rewards discount. Every dollar you save is like giving yourself a raise.