These Apps and Extensions Find Online Deals for You — Automatically

By Carrie Kirby on 8 June 2017 0 comments

You've taken the time to find the exact item you want to buy, put it in your cart, and you're just about to check out when you notice a box labeled "Promo code or coupon," just sitting there waiting to be filled in.

If you're like me, you won't be able to complete the purchase until you've searched the web for the best available code. It's exhausting, especially for moms like me who tend to use the wee hours to shop for essentials and really just want to go to bed.

Fortunately, Last-Minute Coupon Search Syndrome is one of the many afflictions that can be fixed with browser plugins. Try one of these free products and watch the savings roll in effortlessly. (See also: 8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop)

Honey

This browser plugin, which promises to automatically add the best available coupon at checkout and find deals on Amazon, has been heavily advertised as a big money-saver. But does it really work? People seem to love Honey. It has five stars on the Google Chrome store, and even my brother-in-law called me up to recommend it. So I downloaded it myself to check it out. It's also available for Firefox.

We were almost out of cat food, so I headed to Amazon to search for a deal. I quickly found a sale price that I thought was pretty good. Sure enough, I noticed Honey's logo on the product page, with the words, "Best Deal." Then I hunted for a new pair of Crocs for my daughter, and found some for $34 — but Honey told me I could pay $4 less by getting them from a different Amazon seller.

Finally, I tried Honey's coupon code feature. I went to an online pet store and put some flea drops for the cats in my cart. The front of the website advertised a 15 percent off coupon code, but I didn't type it in, hoping that Honey could hook me up with something better. But nothing happened. I located Honey's button at the top of my browser and clicked it, only to be told that Honey was disabled because I'd clicked to the site form "a coupon website." I had, in fact, clicked over from the American Airlines AAdvantage store. So take note that double dipping is not allowed.

I waited a few minutes, opened a new browser tab, and tried my purchase again. This time, Honey found me a 20 percent off coupon, which was indeed better than the advertised coupon code on the front of the site.

After my brief experience shopping with Honey, I was convinced that the reviews were correct. From now on, I'm a user.

Invisible Hand

As happy as I was for Honey to find me the best coupon codes, I couldn't help wondering if I might find a better deal at a different store altogether. That's where Invisible Hand promises to help.

Another thing I needed is a new printer, so I searched for one on Amazon. I had installed the Invisible Hand extension — which is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari — but when I pulled up a product page, and even put the printer in my cart, the plugin didn't do anything. I checked back with the site to figure out why, and learned that this service is still in beta, and Amazon is one of the retailers it doesn't cover yet.

I tried searching for a printer on multiple sites, but Invisible Hand never popped up to tell me where to find a better deal. I was, however, able to search for the printer I wanted by clicking the Invisible Hand button at the top of my browser and typing the model number into the search window, which brought up a list of prices at various stores.

My conclusion on this app is that it's one to watch, but not ready for prime time yet.

Slice Watch

The previous plugins cover coupons and store-to-store comparisons, but what if you want to wait until something goes on sale before you buy it? That's when you need Slice Watch. Created by Slice, a company that will sort through your email and keep track of all your purchases, the Slice Watch Chrome extension will notify you when prices drop.

I have been meaning to get a new case for my phone, but it's not urgent. So I pulled up the product page for a cute-looking Otterbox case on Amazon, and then clicked the Slice Watch button at the top of my browser to add it to my Slice Watch List. Now the company can let me know if the price drops. It also told me that the product costs about $4 more at NewEgg, which was nice to know.

Are they worth it?

So now I have three little icons at the top of my browser, waiting to help me shop. Going forward, I'm going to keep using all three, unless any of them noticeably slow down my browsing. Beyond saving me money, I hope these apps will speed up my online shopping trips, because I could really use some shut-eye.

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