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I like saving money and I like shopping online, but you know what’s better than both of those things? Saving money while shopping online!
No matter what I’m purchasing, I’m always looking for the best deal. That’s the frugalista in me.
The minimalist and the frugalista in me don’t always get along. The minimalist says:
You don’t need to buy that. It’s just one more thing that’s going to clutter up this beautiful open space and take up room and energy in your life that’s better used in more meaningful ways.
She’s very peaceful, serene, and clutter free.
The frugalista says:
OMG THAT’S A GREAT DEAL YOU HAVE TO GET IT NOOOOOOWWW!!!
She’s an online shopping enthusiast always searching for great deals on nifty things. And she’s pretty good at what she does.
You can see how these discrepancies could cause issues, yes?
So before I go on to talk about the greatest tools that I use to save money while shopping online, let me preface this by saying:
Just because you’re “saving money” doesn’t mean you should be spending it in the first place! You’re not “saving money”. You’re spending less money than you normally would, but you’re still spending money.Don't buy things just bc it's a good deal. Buy things you need and look for the best deal possible.Click To Tweet
Without further ado, here are the three essential (and free!) tools to help you save money shopping online.
In case you haven’t heard about Wikibuy, it’s a browser extension that sits in the background of your computer waiting to save you money on everything you purchase.
While you’re doing your thing shopping online, Wikibuy waits to see what you’re shopping for. When you find a product, Wikibuy scans the Interwebs for pricing and shipping information on other sites.
If it finds a better deal somewhere else, it’ll let you know with a green pop-up notification in the bottom left-hand corner:
When you click on the notification, Wikibuy displays purchasing options from different sources around the web so you can compare each deal side by side:
If the place you’re shopping is the best deal online, it’ll let you know that, too (again, bottom left):
Using Wikibuy is like spending hours shopping around your favorite budget sites in search of the best deal, except without all the work. And the hours.
Not to mention it’s free, so why wouldn’t you give Wikibuy a try?
I used to spend hours browsing coupon sites for the best deals online, but not since I got Honey.
Honey is another browser extension built to help you save money shopping online. Similar to Wikibuy, Honey helps you save money by finding the best deals on your favorite items. Only instead of crawling the web like Wikibuy, Honey applies coupons to items already in your cart.
You can choose to use Honey manually or automatically. I use it automatically because I’m forgetful, so I don’t trust myself to remember to push the button at checkout. Honey can sense when you’re in your cart, and it’ll inform you of potential savings for your items before you buy.
Click “Save Money” and Honey will scan through all the coupons available on the website and apply your savings.
BOOM! Money back in your wallet.
If you’re not using Ebates yet, then what. what. WHAT are you doing??
Ebates is a five-star Google Chrome extension with over 1.5 million happy users. You know why they’re happy? Because they’re saving money!
Similar to Honey, Ebates gives shoppers coupons and cash back through a variety of retailers. Unlike Honey, you can explore the cash back percentages for each retailer on the Ebates website and choose where you shop accordingly.
So for example, if an item you’re looking for is the same price at JCPenney and Macy’s, then you may choose to purchase it at Macy’s and earn 6% cash back rather than 3% at JCPenney.
Why should you use all three?
Um, why not? They’re all 100% free and all of them have the potential to save you money in different ways. Having one money-saving tool is okay, having two is good, but three? That’s enough to earn you your I Never Pay Full Retail Price for Anything frugality badge (like girl scout badges, but for money savvy adults).
These three tools are the perfect combination and I’ve used them all congruently to save hundreds of dollars shopping online.
When the Stars Align to Save You Money
Here’s an example of something that happened to me the other day:
I was shopping on one of my favorite clothing sites for a particular item. My brand loyalty for this particular item is pretty high (I knew I wasn’t going to buy any other brand, but I would have bought from another source had it been available).
Wikibuy popped up to tell me that it didn’t find this particular item cheaper anywhere else.
So I went to my cart. Honey dropped down from my browser bar and told me there were SIX coupons that could potentially save me money. I clicked “Save Money” and let it do its thing.
Honey found a coupon that saved me 25% on this purchase. Sweet.
I continue with the checkout and eBates slides in from the side like he’s stealing the game-winning run to tell me that I haven’t activated cash back for this retailer. Whew, that was a close one. (It was only like $0.15 for that order, but still) .
I click “Activate Cash Back” and proceed with my checkout.
I’ll take that badge now, thank you.
I wish I had taken screenshots because this was the perfect example of these three awesome tools working side by side to help me save money. Sadly I did not because I’m not that forward thinking. Womp. Next time.
But hopefully you can see how these three tools are the perfect money-saving system for savvy online shoppers like you and me.
What are you still waiting for? Click the logos below to download these apps and start saving money!
P.S. Be sure to check out my resources page for my full list of the best products and services to help you make, save, and manage your money.
Your Turn: Do you use any of these apps? How do you save money shopping online?
I’m a financial coach and author + owner of Goodbye to Broke. I love all things personal finance, money management, and healthy living. And I talk to my dog way too much, if we’re being honest.