Save Money Shopping Online With Google

by Carlos Portocarrero on 9 October 2010 6 comments
Photo: Google

Paying full price for something is ludicrous these days. There are so many different ways to ensure you're getting a deal — all you have to do is a tiny bit of work.

You're already on Wise Bread, so you've (hopefully) already figured out whether this is an essential purchase or not. But once you know you're going to buy something online, what next?

The first thing you ought to do is comparison shop. If it's something you can get at a bunch of different places (say a book or a DVD), then make sure you check out a bunch of different sites. I'd start with Amazon.com and maybe Overstock.com. They usually battle each other pretty good when it comes to prices.

And depending on the item, Wal-Mart.com is worth a peek too. Also under "depending on the item," you may want to try EBay or Craigslist. Buying used can save you a bunch of money.

But if you really want to "go deep" you should entrust the services of the masters of search. Run a Google search and then look for the Shopping tab at the top of the screen. Google will look for prices across the whole web and find the cheapest price. Sometimes that will mean visiting "CrazyCheapElectronics.com." That might make you a little uncomfortable, especially when it comes time to type in your credit card number. But that's an individual comfort level thing.

Then there are times where what you want to buy is only available at one store. My wife and I recently bought some thank you cards from Tiny Prints. A friend had recommended TinyPrints and we compared their overall prices with some other sites. We went and added a custom picture of our newborn, tweaked it a little bit, and settled on a design template. It was really cute.

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After doing all that work, you better believe we were going to buy from them come hell or high water.

But this is where people tend to get a little lazy. They figure they didn't do any comparison shopping so they're doomed to pay retail. Don't be a sucker, though! When you're checking out, keep your eyes peeled for some entry boxes labeled "Promotional code" or "discount code" or "Enter coupon code." Something that denotes the ability to get a discount it you have the right code.

Whatever that box is called, it means you can save some money. Say it says "Promotional code." Take that phrase, wrap it in some quotes, then add the name of the site you're on, and run a Google search for it. So for TinyPrints, I believe it was:

tinyprints.com "promotional code"

tinyprints search

Then let Google do the rest. It will find sites that have coupons listed for your site. If a site has a "promo code" box in the checkout process then that means there are promo codes floating around somewhere, and who better than Google to find them for you?

I usually like to check Retailmenot.com, which allows users to vote up the coupons that are working for them to give you a better idea of what works and what doesn't. But this Google search will open the doors to any other coupons and deals that might be out there.

Maybe it's 10% off or free shipping or something. But trust me, there's a deal out there waiting for you. All you have to do is find it.

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Guest's picture
Steven P

I also always check out www.google.com/products and either enter in the description of the item or the UPC code. It maybe takes 30 seconds and you know if you're getting a good price or where to find the best!

Guest's picture

When it comes to buying off a site I've never used before and dealing with the nervousness of providing my credit card, that's when I'm glad that I have a Citi credit card. Citi allows you to create a virtual credit card number on the fly that you can set to expire in the current month and set any credit limit, so that you can put it near your purchase price. This would prevent someone from going hog wild using your credit card info if it turns out the site isn't legit.

Carlos Portocarrero's picture

That's a great feature. I used to have a credit card that did that and you're right: it made me feel A LOT better about any purchase. Wonder why more CC companies aren't doing it...

Guest's picture

I can't help but think this is to make google look more of a better company, lol. Nevertheless its a great way to save money and compare prices with other sites. Google is GR8!!

Guest's picture
Pat

you can also use cashback portals like mr rebates. get cashback at thousands of online stores and get a $5 bonus to sign up (all thats needed is an email), check it out- http://www.mrrebates.com?refid=648290

Guest's picture
Steve

Good article, I am big believer that coupon codes is the best money savers from this article since it is so fast to get and apply them. Retailmenot is cool but HelloCoin.com is great too, these two are my favorites when I look for online discounts.