Most shoppers know they can find some great deals online – but few know how to find the lowest prices for the goods they are buying.
The internet is a huge department store, but every merchant wants you to spend with them rather than their rivals.
But the best deal is not always the first deal and shopping around can save some big bucks.
The secret is knowing how to search and compare prices.
Unless you are buying an exclusive direct from the manufacturer, most stores offer the same goods at varying prices.
Your own online catalogue
So, treat a store you trust as a catalogue and copy and paste the exact name and model number into Google Search.
Google will return a ‘shop for…’ List at the top of the first page and then a list of web sites mentioning the product.
Go into the shopping list and change the sort default to ‘low to high’. This lists the product from cheapest to most expensive.
Watch out for the cheapest offers – these often add delivery charges that hike the price up to the same as products offered by better-known stores that include free delivery.
If you are buying electronic goods, look for the cheapest in your country as the rest are ‘grey goods’ that come without a store or maker’s warranty, which could spell an expensive disaster if the unexpected happens.
Vouchers and discount codes
And don’t forget those voucher sites.
If your store displays a box for a discount or voucher code, search Google again for the code to ramp up the savings.
The voucher tip works well for visiting tourist attractions, with dozens of web sites competing to offer heavily discounted prices of sometimes up to a third of the pay-at-the-door cost.
If you are booking a trip, book weeks in advance at a hotel. Check the rate before you go as the hotel will often offer a cheaper rate nearer the time if the rooms are not selling and cancel the room you booked earlier.
That way you will always have somewhere to stay but may make a saving.
…And always leave something in the cart as most retailers will send reminders and discount the price to try and lure you as a customer.