Save money shopping. Pic by Ken Teegardin

Tips to Save Money Shopping Online

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Finding the best deals on Amazon (regardless of whether it is for the home or business/office) is about gathering & analyzing sales, coupon and price data to empower informed buying decisions aimed at saving money and spending wisely.

There are a whole bunch of well established price tracker websites that monitor changes in prices for products over time. These can help shoppers decide if they're getting a good deal or not by providing a price history with which to compare the current price.

Basically they can tell you if something is selling for $60 today, but it was available at $40 yesterday you're not getting a good deal. Or, conversely, if it was selling at $60 yesterday and it is priced at $40 today, you are getting a good deal.

Easy enough, right? Wrong.

The Problem with Daily Data

On an eCommerce platform like Amazon there can be thousands of sellers all competing to sell a single product. This makes the price of that item essentially fluid. It can change at any time.

Use an HOURLY price comparison service that finds money saving online deals other sites miss.

Since most deal sites only gather one or two price points a day, they often miss big discounts that are short-lived (for example, if one seller decides to get rid of their stock by halving the price on their last two remaining items).

Even worse, they might catch a big discount and report that as the price for up to 24 hours, fooling you into thinking you're going to get a great deal when in fact the price has shot back up hours ago; leading to wasted time and frustration.

Here's a sample hourly price chart showing the price history for the Honda EU2000i Inverter sold on Amazon:

Price changes for the Honda EU2000i Inverter

As you can see, the price of this item can change on an almost hourly basis so it's important to use a system that can accurately report the price as it is right now - not 12 or 24 hours ago.

Inverters & generators aren't the only products that experience extreme price volatility. Almost any widely sold product can experience price drops and increases on an hourly basis. Even robot vacuums, like the popular iRobot Roomba, can experience huge price swings from hour to hour:

iRobot Roomba 652 hourly price change chart

Use Price Comparisons (to Save Money like a Pro)

It's kind of a no brainer, right? Better, more fine-grained data, gives you more responsive and accurate insight into price changes that can save you a lot of money.

In the chart above, for example, those price swings on the Roomba are from around $900 down to $750 - meaning you could save $150 on one item just by waiting for the right time.

There are plenty of great online resources that provide tips, tricks and hacks to save money shopping online with Amazon (simply Google something like 'online shopping tips'). All of them recommend using a price tracker to research whether the current price is good or not. But none of them have updated to include price comparisons to give that (potentially huge) extra benefit.

Buyers simply aren't saving as much as they should because they aren't using accurate price data that empowers them to shop smarter.

The Online Shopping Guide

The Uncommon Guide to Shopping Online for the Best Deals shows how using price comparisons can turn anyone into a money saving shopping expert who can squeeze every last dime of savings out of Amazon deals and sales.

Use Hourly Price Updates for Killer Price Comparisons

Hourly pricing data builds up quickly too, giving a detailed price history that can lead to some interesting insights into which products offer better value than others. For that, you need to compare price histories (including things like highest price, lowest price, average price, price volatility, and all sorts of other juicy price goodness).

Here’s a price comparison bubble chart that shows off the price (x-axis) vs. current saving in percent (y-axis) for a selection of leading 2-in-1 laptops (the size of the bubble indicates sales volumes):

Price comparison chart for 2 in 1 laptops

And of course, all of this data can be represented in a sortable and searchable table that allows you to quickly reorder a list of items by any price metric - current price, lowest price, saving ($), saving (%), and a Buy Rating (that analyses the entire price history and tells you if the item is currently at a fantastic, or ‘meh’ price).

Check out this price comparison table for a bunch of bestselling projector screens:

Price comparison table for bestselling projector screens

Shopping for your Home Office (an Example)

Let's take a quick look at how much money can potentially be saved shopping for your home office . Here's a random shopping list of small business/home office items that might be on a typical shopping list for someone who has recently started working from home:

  • Business laptop
  • Office chair
  • Desk
  • Printer
  • Shredder

I spent approximately 3 minutes searching and gathering the pricing data on these products and here is what I came up with...

Business Laptop (ASUS P Series)

Price history for the ASUS P series laptop
List price: $840
Current price: $729
Total saving: $111

Office Chair (BestMassage Executive Vibrating Office Chair)

Price, savings and buy rating for the BestMassage office chair
List price: $170
Current price: $100
Total saving: $70

Desk (Tribesigns Large Office Desk)

Price, savings and buy rating for the Tribesigns office desk
List price: $300
Current price: $130
Total saving: $170

Printer (Canon imageCLASS)

Price, savings and buy rating for the Canon imageCLASS printer
List price: $400
Current price: $284
Total saving: $116

Shredder (Bonsaii EverShred)

Price, savings and buy rating for the Bonsaii Evershred shredder
List price: $232
Current price: $156
Total saving: $76

Tallied up, this shopping list represents a total saving of $543.

Not bad for three minutes browsing and comparing prices of bestselling products in their respective categories, right?

There are also some great knock-on benefits, like having access to lists of products that have dropped their prices right now (in the last hour), or items that are currently selling at their lowest historical price. Because these lists update every hour, it's super easy to check back to find new savings and deals at any time, day or night.

Actually, it’s easy enough to simply setup an email alert to tell you when the price drops, but it is quite fun checking back because the list is always different - precisely because price changes happen so frequently across such a wide range of products. Plus, You can be sure that discounts & deals are likely still available because they're not based on stale data.

All charts and data used in this article was provided courtesy of GoPennyGo’s free Price Comparison Engine.

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