Shopping online is becoming more and more convenient in terms of time and money saving – the key is to be up-to-date with new tools and hacks the web offers to us. Let’s have a look at most creative ways to shop on a budget. Couponing and budget shopping tools are numerous. They vary from cool free applications to huge services and portals. They key is not to try to keep up with every site you manage to find but to apply a smart approach: make the most of just a few cool tools.
Save Money with Your Email Box
You can opt in millions of mailing lists today and receive regular updates on recent offers and deals. Any coupon code site offers an email subscription option today. What you should always remember is that (1) you don’t want your email box to get full of automated updates and (2) with recently launched services you can use your email box much more creatively than just subscribing to anything more or less relevant.
Today you can customize your email alerts in multiple ways and aspects. One of the newest examples is “My Favorite Coupons” launched by FreeShipping.org. The service allows you to create a fully customizable page by adding your favorite stores to it. You will then receive updates either on regular basis or once one of your stores offers a new coupon code (depending on which option you choose). Naturally, some web 2.0 goodies are also available, for example, you can share your page with friends (they will be able to see it but not edit any settings):
Save Money with Your Mobile Phone
You can receive SMS alerts about your favorite deals and stores. First, many coupon directories and aggregators use Twitter as an alternative subscription option – and you can set up Twitter to send you SMS messages on updates. (Tip: you might want to create a separate Twitter account for that to avoid being bombarded with mobile messages).
Besides, a few new web tracking services offer to set up SMS alerts – Trackle being one of them. Trackle is a feature-rich online tracking service allowing you to monitor almost anything: Amazon deals, eBay auctions, Shopping.com portal news and even the product price changes over time:
Save Money with RSS Reader
I love my RSS reader because it allows to check for updates only when I want that: no full email box, no unsolicited messages or notifcations. All I need is not to forget to regularly check it for updates. Unsubscribing is also quick with no extra headache – just delete the useless feed and you are done.
Many coupon and money-saving blogs allow per-category subscription which is good because I don’t want to monitor shoes if I am rather interested in computers. So some sort of customization is also available here. Besides, you can preview the deal details before entering which saves your time immensely:
Save Money with Your Browser
There are a number of FireFox extensions that alert you of a deal while you are browsing. Tha advantages of using those addons are pretty clear: you are free to (dis)able them with one click of the mouse. Besides, they are tightly focused, so they do not bug you when you are not shopping. PriceAdvance is a good example of such add-on – it displays other sellers’ prices for the product you are viewing. The comparison is viewable in the small pop-up when you navigate to any product page. You are offered to compare prices across major shoping portals and resellers: Amazon, Buy.com, WalMart, BestBuy, etc.
Any more tools? Which one are you using?