WASHINGTON — The search for online bargains gets easier with the right tools and strategies such as a few recommended by a local consumer’s group that wants to save you money.
Comparison shopping for the best prices, Washington Consumers’ Checkbook details some apps that will do the work for you.
“There’s lots of these shopping-bots like, ShopSavvy, BuyVia and PriceGrabber that will do a lot of this for you and they’ll even include what the shipping costs are,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Checkbook.org.
Utilize social media
If you intend to make a big purchase or a number of purchases with a specific retailer, first engage with its social media accounts.
“What that does is, it might open up exclusive offers just for its followers,” Brasler said.
You might already know to search sites such as RetailMeNot and CouponCabin for coupon codes to apply at checkout, but there also are plug ins you can add to your browser that do that automatically — such as Honey — that work with online sites such as Amazon, Target, Nordstrom, Starbucks and Crate & Barrel.
“These are all great sites to use. We sometimes find we can save an extra 20 or 30 percent. Or we can get free shipping, or something that makes the deal better,” Brasler said.
Take advantage of group affiliation
New Balance, for example, offers 10 percent off at checkout for anyone using a military email address. For senior, student, teacher or veteran discounts, some retailers require you go through a verification process. But Brasler said you definitely should inquire about them shopping in-store.
“Sometimes, just asking for a discount will result in discounts. They’ll say — ‘Oh, this person wants a discount. Let me try to figure out a way to make this less expensive for them.'”
Don’t let them fool you
Another bit of advice from Brasler: realize “the price,” is seldom the real price. When you’re shopping online and see a crossed out price with a cheaper price next to it, Brasler said it’s a gimmick. Retailers never charge the crossed out price. So, no matter what they’re offering the item for — there might be a better deal out there somewhere worth searching for.