Your Best Friend During Holiday Shopping – Technology!Financial Capability CFEE12.05.19
The holidays can be a busy and hectic time, often due to the amount of shopping many of us have to do. Whether it’s gifts for others, or food and drinks for entertaining, there’s a reason why the stores are so busy this time of year.
What many of us don’t realize however, is that almost all of us are armed with super powerful shopping assistants that we rarely use or take full advantage of. That’s right – computers and cell phones can be incredibly helpful when it comes to shopping, saving us time and money so we can relax more with loved ones.
In this post, we’re going to outline a few of the ways technology can help you save a significant amount of money this holiday season.
When shopping, the goal is always to pay the lowest price possible. For a long time, it would be hard to know, when standing in an aisle looking at the price, if that’s the best price or another store may be selling it cheaper. Technology though, specifically cell phones and shopping apps, have changed that. Today, shopping apps like Flipp make it incredibly easy to pull out our phones and know which store has the lowest price within seconds. Simply pull out your phone, search for a desired product, and Flipp will show you which stores have the same product, and at which price, even allowing you to sort by lowest price.
Ideally, you’re planning your shopping and doing this at home prior, so you can go to the stores with the lowest prices for the items you’re shopping for. Or, you can go one step further and take advantage of price matching (see below).
You can even go one step further than simply comparing prices and take advantage of price matching policies. Many stores, in an effort to convince us they offer the lowest prices and become our one-stop shop, offer price matching. This means if you find a lower price at another store, they’ll adjust their price when you’re checking out and match it. In the past, this often involved scanning through the weekly flyers one-by-one for competing deals and lower prices. It was a tedious process, to the point that many couldn’t be bothered. Today, again, it’s incredibly fast and easy to search across multiple stores simultaneously thanks to our cell phones and shopping apps. This means when you’re out shopping, you can pull out your phone and check prices on a given item at other stores in a matter of seconds. Assuming you’re shopping at a store that price matches, just show your phone screen to the cashier, and they’ll adjust the price down to the lower price. Money saved! Get to know which stores price match, and if you’re not using those as your primary shopping spots already, give it a try!
Price Tracking and Alerts
Similar to comparison shopping, there are other websites out there that give you a detailed look at an item’s various prices over time. The website Camelcamlecamel is an Amazon price tracking website that shows us all the historical prices for an item, as well as allowing people to set email alerts for when a product drops below a certain price in the future.
Using tools like this allow us to see if the current price is good relative to other prices something has sold for in the past. If we can see that the price regularly drops lower, then you can sign up to be alerted when the price drops again.
Smart shopping isn’t always just about saving money, but can be about saving time too. How many times have you wasted hours running around to multiple stores for an item, only to keep being told it’s sold out? Many websites now offer a view into their inventory and show which stores do and don’t have a given item in stock. Having a look online and confirming something is in stock before you start running around can save precious time and stress.
You can even go one step further and use websites like stocktrack.ca to give you a detailed look into which locations have a product, and even how many are in stock! This site works for many popular Canadian retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and more.
Shopping-specific Message Boards and Forums
Deal-hunting and getting the best prices for items, has almost become a sport for many. There are many websites out there such as RedFlagDeals where people frequently post great deals. By having a look at sites like these regularly, you can leverage other people sharing great deals and save money. Just remember however that it’s only a deal if you need it. It’s easy to get sucked into buying something that’s an “amazing deal”, but there’s a difference between money saved on something we needed or wanted, and money spent on something we didn’t.
Make it Habitual
There are so many shopping tools out there today to help us save money with our shopping, but they only work if we use them. While they may be new to many of us, try making them a regular part of your shopping routine, and we think you’ll be surprised how easy they are to use and how much money they can save you!