Restrictions and caution over COVID-19 may push most of us to do a lot more of our shopping on our computers. A recent survey from Travis Credit Union found a whopping 95% of Americans plan to shop mostly or entirely online this holiday season. The survey also found that the majority of shoppers have lowered their holiday budgets by an average of 38%, meaning there’s no doubt everyone is looking for the best deals.
When online shopping in the past, I’ve often taken the time to go on a website like Retail Me Not to look up promo codes, especially for free shipping. Another money saving tactic of mine is searching through my inbox to see if a store has send me a recent email with a coupon.
Online shopping tools Honey and Capital One Shopping (formerly Wikibuy) save you the trouble of searching for deals by automatically doing it for you. Just download the free browser extensions, and each time you add something to an online shopping cart, little boxes pop up showing possible promo codes that could save you money. They ask if you’d like them to try the promo codes and take under a minute to run through each of them to see which ones still might be valid. Millions of shoppers are already using these money-saving tools.
I’ve been running these extensions on my laptop as I’ve wrapped up buying my holiday gifts this week.
I bought gifts in the last three days from Built Bar, Target, T.J. Maxx, Macy’s, Walmart, Sierra Trading Company, American Eagle and Amazon. With each purchase, when it came time to check out, both extensions popped up to tell me they had promo codes to try. And each time, they ran through the possible deals and ultimately told me I was already getting the best price.
So, while I’ve only been using these for a few days, I have made a lot of purchases and have yet to save any money by using these extensions. But I will continue to use them.
There is a wonderful sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing I’m getting the lowest price before I click to confirm my purchase. Honey does this specifically with Amazon. A message appeared with my most recent Amazon purchase that told me I was getting the best deal on my item from all Amazon sellers. Capital One Shopping will compare prices across more than 30,000 retailers. It even takes into consideration shipping and membership costs.
Both tools give shoppers the chance to earn rewards. The extensions have something like a cash-back program. But instead of giving you money back on purchases, Honey gives you points called “gold” and Capital One Shopping gives credits. How much gold or credit you receive depends on the store. With Honey you can get up to 10% back from Madewell, for example, but only up to 2% back from Walgreens. When you rack up enough gold or credits, you can redeem them for gift cards from a favorite store. Capital One Shopping also gives you credits for shopping at certain retailers after linking your credit card to the Capital One Shopping website and then using it at that retailer. And it has a section on its website featuring those retailers closest to you, in case you want to shop local.
Honey’s Droplist and Capital One Shopping’s Watchlist keep track of items you have your eye on. They watch prices for you and let you know if they drop.
These two desktop browser extensions also have mobile apps. They check coupon codes and can give you alerts when an item on your list drops in price. Users can also use Capital One Shopping’s app to scan barcodes to find which retailer has the best deal.
These companies can offer their tools for free because they earn a commission from stores when you make a purchase. Honey’s website claims its users save $126 each year on average and it costs them nothing to use it.
With little effort on your part, Honey and Capital One Shopping may be the easiest way ever to find bargains online.