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Expert's guide: How to save money on everything you buy online

Expert's guide: How to save money on everything you buy online
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What's the best deal you've ever found? Maybe it was a clearance item that someone returned in like-new condition or items from a going out of business sale. No matter how you stumbled across that deal, it was likely a memorable experience. Maybe even something you bragged about to family and friends.

Saving money on the things you want is almost guaranteed to have that effect. But it's not always easy. With so many options out there, it can be overwhelming. That's why we've put together these expert tips that will help you save money when you shop online.

1. Use Google Alerts

Rather than spend all your time hunting down sales, let Google do all of the hard work for you. If you're shopping for something specific, set up a Google Alert with that item's name plus the word "sale."

Example: iPhone 7 sale

As long as that Google Alert is in place, Google will scan the web regularly and notify you via email whenever something pops up online that matches your keywords.

To set up a Google Alert, just follow these steps:

  • Go to https://www.google.com/alerts.
  • Sign in to your Google account (if you're not signed in already).
  • Enter your search term into the field that says, "Create an alert about..."
  • Click the "Create Alert" button to save your search.

Note: To customize this search, click "More Options" to the right of the "Create Alert" button. This allows you to narrow your search by region, source and language, and set the email address you'd like the alerts to be sent to.

2. Compare prices at a glance

While Google Alerts will notify you of deals that are out there, they won't tell you which of those deals is the best one. For that, you'll need another tool. An app called Pricegrabber.

Pricegrabber is a free app for both Apple and Android devices. There is also a website if you prefer: Just visit Pricegrabber.com.

With the app, simply scan the barcode of a product with your phone's camera. PriceGrabber displays stores selling the scanned item, as well as the price at each location. With the website, simply enter the information of the item you're looking for.

You also get features like BottomLinePrice, which shows you the entire cost, including tax and shipping. More entertaining is Gift Shaker: Just shake your phone and it will randomly suggest a gift to buy.

3. Promo codes and coupons

To encourage shoppers to buy their products, manufacturers offer discounts to sweeten the deal. However, many times, you have to use a special coupon or code in order to save on the price. 

In the past, grabbing such coupons required either hours of scouring the web to find the right code or hours of clipping coupons that came in the mail. 

Now, however, there are tools that do this for you. Here are a few that work really well.

Promo Codes:

CouponCodes has a team of editors that check every coupon code and sale posted on the site to confirm it's going to work. And with codes and sales for more than 3,900 stores, you're guaranteed to find something that you want to use.

Not only that, in addition to searching by store, you can also search for your favorite brands. You'll see stores that have the brand you want on sale. It saves you time hunting through multiple sites trying to find deals on a specific item.

Click here for two more places to find money-saving promo codes.

Coupons:

The MyCoupons website has been around for more than 20 years. It's the internet's oldest coupon, coupon code, and shopping forum related site.

The site was created to provide users with the best discounts from one source. You will find many categories to choose from including clothing, computers, department stores, music, and electronics to name a few.

First, click on the category in which you're interested in finding discounts. You will see a list of known bargains, from all available items. Select all coupons, codes, sales or printable.

If it's a digital code for online shopping, you will see the code listed inside an orange rectangle. Just copy the code and enter it in the promo box that you will find during checkout on the website in which you're making the purchase. The discount will then be applied.

If you're not shopping online and heading to a brick and mortar location, look for printable coupons. Just print out the available discount and take it to the location that it's intended for.

Using the Flipp app is another easy way to find coupons for the items you're looking for. All those paper flyers packed with savings are now packed inside your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet and easily accessible from the palm of your hand.

This app will make shopping and checkout so much easier than fussing with a million little flimsy paper coupons. Flipp collects weekly flyers from more than 800 of your favorite retailers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, The Bay, Sears, Staples, Toys "R" Us and more. 

Browse through the flyers, zoom in on certain products, filter by discount or price. Then, simply click on an item to add it to your shopping list. Or simply tap the magnifying glass icon to search for a certain product by name or keyword.

Even better, you can search through the flyers on your tablet, do some comparison shopping, then automatically sync your shopping lists with your phone, so you can easily take everything you need with you.

How much will you save using this app? The average shopper saves up to 40 percent using flyers and weekly mailers. Let me know how much you save by posting in the comments below.

4. Make the web your go-to store

Here's a little trick that many don't know about. Sites like Swagbucks and eBates will actually pay you for your online shopping. This means you can get money back just for purchasing items you already intended to buy.

eBates gives you rebates for select items you purchase, while Swagbucks lets you earn "Swagpoints' that can be redeemed for gift cards. With Swagbucks, you can also earn points for doing other activities online, such as watching videos and taking surveys. If you're like the average internet user, the points add up quickly!

5. Shop smarter on Amazon

In the same way, Walmart has become the retail giant of brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon has become king of online shopping. You can buy almost anything there; however, there are a few secrets to find lower prices.

We've put together a series of articles that delve into secret Amazon shopping tips. Read these articles for proven ways to save big when shopping on Amazon.com.

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