Coupons are a beautiful thing. You save money on particular items, or on an entire cart full of different things, depending on the business offering them, and how they're distributed. Using Google Chrome plugins, you can get coupons and discounts for your online purchases, just like you get them for purchases in the store.
It's amazing that coupons also exist for online purchases, or are sometimes exclusive to online purchases, helping endlessly with big ticket items, or even just in justifying the cost of shipping on something you really want.
Coupons can be messy when you have a drawer full of them for local businesses, expiring on you unexpectedly, or being overused and discontinued. Add the infinite number of online shops and their coupons to that, plus sales they offer, and it's truly too much to manage.
It can be impossible to keep track of sales when each site has different ones at different times of year, and coupons are great, unless you're not sure you're using the best ones in the moment. What can you do to consistently save on your online purchases, whether it be little bits here and there, or hundreds of dollars at a time?
Google Chrome plugins -- applications that work directly with the web browser -- can help you find the best coupon or deal for the item you're looking for, or the site you're visiting, exactly when you need them. In the list below, we explore some of the best plugins for saving you money while you shop online. Check them all out, and download the ones that apply to you so you can start saving ASAP!
With over 9 million members, Honey is a very popular plugin with a simple premise -- as you shop online, Honey searches for valid coupons and coupon codes for the site you're on, and lets you know what they are with a simple click. Once you see the codes available, and which deal works best for your purchase, Honey applies the code to your purchase, and you save money right then and there.
On top of that, when you shop on Amazon, where coupon codes are rare, Honey will find you the best time to buy an item you're looking at based on price history charts, and will alert you when discounts are happening on your favorite products. It can also find better prices from other sellers of the same item. Honey is truly committed to saving you money on your online purchases, and might be the best Chrome plugin for this purpose for the widest majority of shoppers. You can download it straight from the Chrome Web Store fore free here.
While it provides coupon codes much in the way Honey does while you're shopping, the plugin InvisibleHand has its real money-saving benefits in its automatic price comparison. While you look at a particular item, InvisibleHand quietly searches the web on your behalf, and lets you know via an alert if the item can be found for less money on another site. Checking for prices in real time, you can take advantage of deals you might not otherwise know about, and can maybe learn about sites that are consistently giving you better prices on your favorite items, so you can shop there first.
InvisibleHand's great price comparison ability also carries over to rental car, hotel, and airfare searches, which most plugins don't do. This is a huge benefit whether you're a frequent traveler or not. So perhaps Honey is a better plugin for coupons, and saving money while purchasing multiple items at the same time -- InvisibleHand is here to make sure you get the lowest price on absolutely any individual thing you're buying, making it most useful for big purchases, or one-off items. To get your cheapest individual purchases, get InvisibleHand at the Chrome Web Store here.
Being able to shop around to find a deal is great, but let's say you like Amazon's reliability, or you've got Amazon Prime and you want your free two-day shipping investment to pay off. If you want to do all or most of your online shopping on Amazon, Keepa is the Google Chrome plugin for you to make sure you save money.
Keepa is an Amazon price tracker; it graphs the cost of different items on Amazon over time, and puts this graph onto the Amazon item page when you have the plugin downloaded. You can then see if the price of this item, used or new, is at a high period, or at an all-time low. If the price is currently high, you can ask Keepa to track the product, and alert you via email when the price is at an amount you set that you're willing to pay. If it's low, you know to take advantage of the deal you've found! There are downsides to Keepa; its abilities are limited to Amazon, and it requires a good deal of patience, as it can take quite a bit of time for prices to go down to the levels you want. On top of that, if you'd prefer to be told if something is a good deal or not rather than working it out on your own, Keepa might not be the plugin for you. But if you mostly shop on Amazon, or just prefer your experience there to other sites, and you'd take any amount of savings since it's not a site that offers a lot of coupons, you can get Keepa on your Google Chrome browser right here.
If you not only want coupons, but also cash back on your purchases, it's worth checking out Ebates, the Chrome plugin that gets commission from sending you to certain stores, and then shares that commission with you as cash back. Shop as you normally would on the sites you like, and Ebates will let you know if you can get cash back on purchases, and automatically applies the deal when you check out. Ebates also helps you see cash back rates from search results pages on Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and finds you coupons for sites that it automatically applies as well, so you never miss out on a deal.
The only problem with Ebates is that not all sites you shop at will offer cash back through the plugin. You have a better shot at finding the sites that do thanks to the rates appearing on search pages, and the Ebates website tells you which sites are offering cash back, or even double cash back right now to help you decide where to shop. These sites can be high-end stores, and even Amazon. Still, the plugin can't guarantee every item you want will get you cash back, or cash back at a rate you want. But if you're willing to shop around a little, and like to take advantage of deals as they come up, especially in regards to cash back on purchases, Ebates can get you up to 40% cash back at over 2,500 stores. Just download the plugin from the Chrome web store here.
Sometimes sites offer multiple coupons or discounts at once, and it can be hard to know which single coupon, or which combination of coupons, will get you the best deal. Enter Piggy, the Google Chrome plugin that finds all the discounts available on an item, and, at checkout, tries every combination of codes to see which one gets you the best deal and saves you the most money.
Piggy takes away all the guesswork of coupon codes, saving you time as well as money. It even gets you cash back rewards at thousands of stores, getting you the money via check four times a year. Piggy doesn't allow you to decide for yourself if a particular coupon combination is the best one for you; it can only aim for the lowest price, and applies that automatically. So if you like having a little more control over your shopping experience, being able to reserve limited discounts for future purchases, or if you just enjoy making coupon calculations on your own, Piggy might not be the plugin for you. For those of us that want to take away the guesswork and just save money, Piggy is a perfect fit! Get it in the Chrome Web Store here.
7 simple ways to save money online
You probably remember that problem from high school math class: If you saved $5 a day and invested it at a nominal interest rate, you’d make $147,000 after 35 years. The point your math teacher was trying to make was that little amounts add up. But you don’t have to stick a $5 bill in a jar. The virtual universe is full of deals and tricks that could lead to big savings.