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Free, easy trick to get cheaper prices online

Are you an online shopper who loves a good bargain? Do you scour retail ads the moment they hit your inbox, messaging app or social media page? If you’re all about savings, tap or click here to view our buying guide: Best tech gifts under $150.

If you take pride in always paying the lowest price for items, even if it requires you to hold out for an annual sale, then you’re probably the kind of person who knows exactly when to buy so you can snag the best deals — or are you?

While you focus on promotions and exclusive sale days, you may be missing out on the real deals. There is a clever trick that is free, easy to use and doesn’t require you to install an app. Here’s the scoop.

The numbers game

Have you ever placed an item in an online cart but waited to make the purchase, only to come back a few hours later to find the price has either dropped or increased? Why did this happen? They’re pricing tactics used by online sellers.

One such pricing strategy is personalized pricing. Often based on individual consumer data, like your spending habits, this practice allows retailers to charge different prices to different consumers for the same product. Speaking of data, is yours protected? Tap or click here to learn about the hidden costs of unsecured data.

Chances are you have come across at least one form of this pricing approach. If you have ever left an item in an online cart, returned to it later and found a one-time discount offer as an incentive to complete the purchase, you have experienced personalized pricing.

The second, and most common, pricing strategy online retailers like Amazon utilize is called dynamic pricing. Dynamic pricing gives merchants the flexibility to change prices in an instant based on any number of factors, including competitors’ pricing, supply and demand, and even the time of day.

Wait for it

How often the price can change on an item is up to the complex algorithms retailers employ; however, to give you an idea, reports suggest online giant Amazon changes prices every 15 minutes.

Because of these pricing policies, consumers like you can find it difficult to get the best deals by merely relying on ads or waiting for annual shopping day sales. But there is a trick to open your eyes to dynamic pricing and help you grab items at their lowest prices.

RELATED: Tap or click for 10 tricks every Amazon shopper should know.

When shopping online, place an item you want to buy in your shopping cart, sit back and watch how the price fluctuates daily (sometimes hourly) — it’s like watching the stock market! When the price drops, or you see a flash sale, make your purchase.

The downside to this trick is you’ll have to keep a constant watch on your digital shopping cart. If you don’t have time to commit to this method, there are price tracking tools like CamelCamelCamel that alert you when the cost of an item drops. Tap or click here to learn more about CamelCamelCamel.

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