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10 Tips To Get The Best Deals Online #AskMoneyJar – MoneyJar – Medium

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Never Leave Without A Deal

#AskMoneyJar 002: Dear MoneyJar, can you recommend any tips to make sure I always get the best prices when shopping online?

Jess B, York

TLDR (too long didn’t read): Shopping for deals online can present something of a paradox at times. It’s 50% patience and biding your time, and 50% seizing the moment and leaping at a price drop (providing it’s for a purchase you have resolved to make in advance!). I have had the best results using a mixture of rewards schemes, discount websites, cashback — and waiting for specific times of the year when I know prices will drop.

Dear Jess,

Thanks for reaching out to me about this! I have a whole list of websites, tools and resources I use to get the best prices online. The latest figures show that online sales now account for £1 in every £5 spent on retail in 2019. Here’s hoping this article will help you put that £1 to good use. Let’s get into this!

1. Camelcamelcamel

CamelCamelCamel is a free Amazon.co.uk price checker. I always use it search and track the historic price of an item I’m watching. It’ll show you the current price of an item, plus the highest and lowest price it’s ever been, and the historic price in a handy graph.

If it’s not an urgent purchase, you can sign up for an email alert to let you know when the price has dropped. As you can see above, the best time to buy Nintendo Switch last year — an item which rarely comes down in price — was mid November 2018 (i.e. Black Friday).

2. HotUKDeals

There are tonnes of discount forums out there, but HotUKDeals (HUKD) has been my go to “am I paying too much for this item?” resource for over 10 years now. They cover every website imaginable, plus physical retail locations around the country.

The best deals, discount codes and freebies are upvoted (given ‘heat’) by the HUKD community so they’ll always be close to the top.

I was recently able to recommend a pair of Bose QC35 II bluetooth headphones to a friend recently, £100 cheaper than the going UK price, from the Spanish Amazon store of all places!

3. TopCashBack / Quidco

I could honestly write an entirely separate piece on the virtues of cashback websites, but for now I’ll say this. If you do not use cashback websites for purchases you would have made anyway, you are throwing away free money.

My cashback website of choice is TopCashBack, but the UK is also home to Quidco which is just as good. Simply sign up for an account (ignore the Plus account), search for the available cashback deals and buy through the site. It’s brilliant for things like takaways (Just Eat), train tickets (trainline) and even travel insurance.

I’ll let the above screenshot do the talking. That’s my girlfriend’s TopCashBack account. Outstanding? One-hundred-and-seventy-five. English. Pounds.

4. Honey Chrome Extension

Honey is a free Google Chrome extension that searches the websites you visit for coupon codes (Coupon? What am I American) — sorry, voucher codes. It’s as good for clothing sites like ASOS as it is for home stores like IKEA.

Install it, and the extension button will show you a little notification when it’s found a code on a website you’re browsing, including when the code was last active. Never search for voucher codes again.

5. Curry’s PC World Price Promise

The Currys PC World Price Promise is pretty simple. If you find a Currys PC World item cheaper, and in stock at any other major retailer, online or instore, they will match the price. This includes (Amazon, Argos, Asda, John Lewis and Tesco). I have listed this here because this guarantee is great for high value items like laptops, where you might want to get a feel for the item instore before buying it, but find that the cheapest prices are in online only stores. When I have used this, the members Currys PC World staff have been more than happy to oblige.

6. Nectar Reward Scheme

There are lots of great high street reward schemes around, but Sainsburys’ Nectar Reward Scheme happens to be my favourite because of different partner sites you can earn and spend nectar points with.

Among the sites you can spend and earn at are eBay, Argos, ASOS and Virgin Trains — see the full list here. You can also sign up to Nectar’s survey panel, Nectar Canvass, to earn additional Nectar points for filling in questionnaires.

7. Jack’s Flight Club

Jack’s Flight Club started off in 2016 as a humble email newsletter and has since grown into an online behemoth with over 1 million members, a mobile app and with a membership that extends across the UK and Europe.

The Jack’s Flight Club team locates discounts, hidden offers and error fares to send the cheapest flights straight to your inbox. At the time of writing the site is advertising a £248 return flight from London to Toyko — about the same price as a first price ticket from London to York (How? Why?).

8. Lyst

Lyst is a fashion search engine, which aggregates thousands of fashion stores in one place. A keyword search of “jeans” for example brings up every single style of jean imaginable, from a selection of stores. You can filter by clothing style, sale amount and price. There is also the option to be redirected to the specific clothing site, or buy via Lyst directly.

9. MoneySavingExpert

Truth be told, many of the online discounts I hear about come to me via the MoneySavingExpert (MSE) website and its excellent weekly newsletter. MSE covers discounts, deals and consumer guides for not only retail, but banking, bills and utilities, travel and housing.

There’s so much more I could say about MSE, but as your question is focused on online shopping I’ll have to come back to the many brilliant things about the site in another post. All I’ll say is sign up to the weekly newsletter — it’s one of the few that I gladly welcome into my inbox.

10. Calendar (wait for prices to drop)

And for everything else…we wait. I’ve not mentioned this last point to be cheeky. As I mentioned in the TLDR, about 50% of getting the best deals online is about waiting for specific times of year when you know prices will drop.

You can almost guarantee that there will be discounts in relation to public holidays like Christmas and Easter, and on retail events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday (every November) and Amazon Prime Day (usually the second week of July).

If there’s an purchase you’re eyeing up, and it’s not urgent (especially for technology-based items), stick a reminder on your phone and wait it out.

Conclusion

Thanks very much for writing in Jess. I hope this list helps you in your future online shopping adventures. You strike me as someone who is already pretty savvy when it comes to online shopping (people who care about getting the best deals normally are) and if you take on and adopt even one tip from the above list, this article will have done its job.

Happy hunting!

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