Using the Internet to Save Money
The Internet can be one of the most valuable tools available for saving money. When it comes to comparison shopping, finding coupons, and finding the best prices and price trends, it simply cannot be beat. It has taken the mystery out of many common price inquiries. For example, gone are the days of driving to the next gas station to see if it’s cheaper down the road. Now we have the internet and apps like Gas Buddy to do that for us. Simply go to Gasbuddy.com or open your Gas Buddy app and all the prices in the surrounding area are available to you. Many of these apps and websites exist for the benefit of the consumer.
Internet extension browsers, such as Invisible Hand and Ookong, help consumers save money when shopping online. Browsers like Invisible Hand will search over 100 websites for the price of an item being viewed, making it easy to see which retailer has the best price. Ookong is an Amazon exclusive that will provide the price history of an item that you are viewing. Clicking on the Ookong icon while viewing an item on Amazon will show you the price trend so you can decide whether to buy now or wait a bit depending on what direction the trend is.
Comparison Shopping Engines – CSE’s
Comparison Shopping Engines show you the price of an item at multiple retailer websites. Some of the more common CSE’s are Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, NexTeg, and PriceGrabber. These are great when shopping exclusively online, eliminating the need to go to each retailer’s site.
Cash Back Programs
Cash back programs are easy to use and will give you a percentage of the money you spend back in the form of a check that is mailed to you. So the more you spend, the more cash back you will get! Some of the more popular cash back programs currently available are MrRebates.com, Ebates.com, and FatWallet.com.
Mr. Rebates tends to have the highest cash back rewards out of the three mentioned here. One perk of using Mr. Rebates is that you earn 20% of your referral’s rewards. So if you refer someone else to use this service, you will get 20% of their cash back rewards. Your referral still receives their full rewards, as well. Therefore, if you use this program, make sure to refer as many friends and family members as you can to receive the maximum amount of cash back. With this program, you can request a cash back check anytime your account equals or exceeds $10. Mr. Rebates offers a $5 sign-up bonus.
Ebates offers a few more merchants than Mr. Rebates; however, they only pay out four times a year. So unlike Mr. Rebates, you cannot request a check for your cash back when your account reaches a certain dollar value. Ebates offers a $10 sign-up bonus.
Fat Wallet will send customers an email alert when a deal is posted for a specific product or company. Cash back earnings are paid at any time either by check or PayPal. FatWallet.com does not offer a sign-up bonus.
Miscellaneous ways to save money on the internet.
One can save money using the internet by streaming music, TV shows, and movies. Streaming video services, such as Netflix and Hulu, offer cheaper monthly rates than cable TV and services like Pandora and Spotify offer free versions of their services. With Pandora and Spotify, you will have to listen to ads, but when you’re trying to save money, nothing beats a free service! Before exploring these options, one should check with their internet provider to be sure their data plan can accommodate streaming video.
Subscribe to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service to save money on a telephone line. Many people are getting rid of their land lines in favor of a cell phone, but if you need to have one, a VoIP service is the cheapest. Since the voice traffic travels over the internet rather than commercial telephone lines, there are no limitations on usage for local and domestic long distance and they are both free. Even international calling is much cheaper. We, here at Mercury Network offer this service through our MercuryTel division. Our monthly cost for residential customers is only $25.00 plus taxes and fees. We also offer a business service that includes our business phone solution which is highly affordable and customizable with all the new technology and advanced features.
Finally, everyone should be sure to search the web for coupon codes before making purchases. Many companies offer discounts this way. Make sure you don’t miss out on a deal by doing a quick web search before shopping.