I Tried It: Google Chrome Extensions That Saved the Most Money

So many Google Chrome extensions swear they’ll save me money, but will they really?

There are few things as satisfying and dangerous as online shopping. When you’re not swiping your card or handing over cash, it’s easy to overspend and forget that online shopping is still shopping.

While there isn’t a Google Chrome extension to pry the computer mouse out of my hand while I browse the Sephora website, many Google Chrome extensions boast they’ll help you save while online shopping.

Although I was skeptical, I was optimistic because technology has never failed me before. Kidding. Anyone who has a smartphone knows that’s a lie. However, technology can be amazing and I love Google Chrome extensions. I probably spend more time with Google Chrome than with my own family. Let’s see how these extensions added up.

The Test

I shopped on four store websites and tested each extension on the same purchases. I avoided items that explicitly said they were excluded from coupons and deals. I added a variety of items to my cart to cover more potential deals and coupons.

Macy’s Total: $292.26

Honey: After one click and a few seconds, Honey notified me that I saved $58.51 and earned a small cash bonus. Honey found a deal on shoes that the other add-ons had not found. ResultI saved $58.51.

InvisibleHand: The extension showed me two “deals.” One was an ad for discounted Macy’s gift cards. The other was “Up to $50 off select sunglasses purchases.” I was not buying sunglasses. Result: No money saved.

Offers.com: I had to hunt down codes from their list. Most were not applicable to my order. This extension caused a lot of pop up windows. I used the first applicable code it suggested. Result: I saved $4.93.

PriceBlink: It did the same exact thing as InvisibleHand, promoting the same two non-applicable “deals.” Result: No money saved.

Winner: Honey. This saved me the most money by a long shot.

For my fellow shoppers looking to max out on their deals, you can consider using a Macy’s credit card can increase your savings, as well. Read our review on the Macy’s credit card for details. (Before applying for any new credit, it’s best to make sure your credit score is high enough to qualify. You can check two of your scores free on Credit.com.)

J.Crew Total: $562.50

Honey: Honey found 10 coupon codes and applied the best one. Result: I saved $43.20.

InvisibleHand: When I clicked on the coupon code I wanted to use, InvisibleHand open a new tab, said I was on my way to deals and then just brought me back to the J. Crew homepage without applying any code. This happened for every deal I tried. Once again the top “deal” was an ad to buy J. Crew gift cards for cheap. Result: No money saved.

Offers.com: All the offer codes I tried from this extension were expired or not valid. Result: No money saved.

PriceBlink: The extension opened a pop up with deals, similar to InvisibleHand. It brought me to a new window, bringing me to the PriceBlink search engine. The only code that popped up was expired. Result: No money saved.

Winner: Honey. This was the only extension that saved me money.

LOFT Total: $375.50

Honey: Honey said the store had no working codes but did offer me a 0.1% to 5% cash bonus. The LOFT website clearly had a promotional code all over the homepage, but Honey missed it. This extension might not be as flawless as I was starting to think it was. Result: No money saved.

InvisibleHand: The pop-up contained the coupon code promoted on LOFT’s homepage for 40% off. I was able to copy and paste it without leaving the page. Result: I saved $150.20.

Offers.com: Once again, one code popped up and it was the same 40% off deal. I did, however, have to visit a new window to get the code. Result: I saved $150.20.

PriceBlink: PriceBlink also found me the 40% off deal, but I had to visit two separate web pages to access it. Result: I saved $150.20.

Winner: InvisibleHand. While three out of four of the extensions found the same deal, InvisibleHand was the most efficient and easiest to use of the three.

Payless Total: $154.93

Honey: After trying a bunch of codes, Honey settled on a 15% off discount. Result: I saved $23.24 and earned a small cash bonus.

InvisibleHand: This found a few deals but, again, most were not applicable. Result: I saved $21.33.

Offers.com: It found me a bunch of codes, but most were not applicable to my order or broken. Eventually, I saved 15%, but only after Offers.com opened 10 tabs. It was a different code than the one Honey found, but it got me the same savings. Result: I saved $23.24.

PriceBlink: Once again, it showed me a lot of codes that were not applicable. Result: I saved $21.33.

Winner: Honey. Although most of the extensions got me a similar deal, Honey was the most efficient and provided a cash bonus.

Final Verdict

Overall, these extensions are all capable of saving you money while you shop, though some are more efficient and effective than others. If you’re looking to save, strategically using a rewards credit card or subscribing to newsletters can also help. (In fact, we’ve rounded up a list of great credit cards for online shopping.) Here’s how I’d grade each extension I tried:

1. Honey: A

Honey was the most user-friendly and helpful extension of the bunch. It’s automatic and takes a lot of work out of finding the best deal. No need to manually to experiment with different codes and offers. It does it for you.

This extension requires a sign-up through e-mail or Facebook, but it offers a rewards program. Their “HoneyGold” rewards program gives you Amazon gift cards as you shop at Honey-supported online stores or refer friends to the extension, a great perk for frequent online shoppers.

2. Offers.com: B-

Although it usually provides many discount options, some of the codes had expired and most were not applicable to the order. I had to click on codes to reveal them, then new windows would pop up. I then had to copy and paste each code in to see if my order qualified. You also have to search for the store you’re in and sort through codes for some web pages. Not great.

There was also an Offers.com pop up on every page of the store I visited. The main way this extension could’ve saved me money was by aggravating me until I gave up on shopping.

3. InvisibleHand: C

Every time I was browsing a store on every single page of the online store there’d be a pop up across the top of my screen telling me about deals. Very irritating. A lot of the deals were not really deals or were expired.

The app promised to “automatically get the lowest price on whatever you’re buying,” but that’s not what I experienced. The process is not automatic. The only thing it automatically did was irritate me. This extension was pop-up city. It opened new windows each time I clicked on a code but didn’t actually apply the code. This extension often prompted me to apply for credit cards and buy gift cards, which I wasn’t looking to do.

4. PriceBlink: C-

While shopping, I faced constant pop-ups as well as ads for cheap gift cards. I also had to click multiple times and open many tabs to access the deals, a lot of which had expired. I did save some money, but it was inefficient. It would have been easier to use Google to find discounts.

Image: pixelfit

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8 Online Shopping Hacks Everyone Should Know

Should You Use Credit or Debit When Shopping Online?

While brick-and-mortar stores still account for most shopping purchases, almost 70% of adult consumers shop online at least once a month, according to the global market research firm Mintel,

If you’re like me, you love the convenience of shopping in your PJs. But how do you find the best deals? The following tips will help you score the very best price on everything, from books to the shelves that hold them.

1. Do Your Homework

To make sure you’re getting the best price, use comparison sites like Price Grabber or Yahoo Shopping before deciding on a site. Simply enter the name of an item and all the retailers that carry it, and the store with the best price should magically appear.

2. Get Dynamic

If you have the patience, watch how a product’s price fluctuates over the course of a week or more. Many sites use “dynamic” or “surge” pricing, which can cause prices to rise and fall due to demand and other factors. Rumor has it some sites even price items based on your personal browsing habits, so try clearing your search history before shopping.

An easy way to keep an eye on prices at popular e-tailers like Amazon, Newegg and more is with price alerts like the ones provided by Slickdeals. Just create an alert for a specific item and you’ll receive an email if the price drops below a certain amount. When the price is right, pounce.

3. Look out for Coupons

Now that you’re armed with info on which retailers have what you want at the lowest price, see if you can get an even lower price by looking for coupons on sites or apps like Dealnews and FatWallet. You may not find a discount or free shipping offer to apply to your purchase, but it’s worth a try.

4. Give a Gift to Yourself

Check sites like GiftCardGranny and Cardpool to look for discounted digital gift cards for the site where you plan to shop. You may save anywhere from 2% to 30% on your purchase.

5. Become a New Customer

If you have not shopped on a certain site before, you probably have a “new customer” discount coming your way, which will pop up when you visit the site. And whether you are a new customer or not, familiarize yourself with the store’s return policies. While most e-tailers accept returns, some won’t do it for free, so it’s good to know the rules just in case.

6. Let It Be 

If you can bear to wait, try leaving your item in the shopping cart for a day. The e-tailer might send you an email offering a discount on that item. Or you might find a discount in your social feeds. Be mindful that if the product’s already on sale, it could sell out while you wait.

7. Ship Items Free

Try to avoid paying for shipping if you can help it. Some sites offer free shipping all the time and some have fairly low spending thresholds, like $25. Rather than pay $7.95 or so for shipping, consider adding a low-priced (but useful) filler item like a pair of socks to score free shipping. If you shop with Amazon but don’t have Prime, try the helpful Filler Item finder for suggestions on what to buy to reach their $35 free shipping threshold.

8. Join the Club 

If there are sites you like to shop, sign up for their mailing list so you can be privy to sales and other special offers. Some sites even send discounts on birthdays or offer bonuses for referring a friend. Following your favorite online brands on social media will also keep you abreast of sales.

Remember, when shopping online it pays to be safe. If you ever have reason to believe your personal information was compromised, you can check your credit report for signs of fraud on Credit.com.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Jupiterimages

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