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Shopping online is hardly a new habit for anyone. We have all quickly found how easy and exciting it is to spend money online. But what about saving?
Couponing can be a great and effective way to save a penny or two and there have been quite a few useful money-saving sites shared so far… But who has the time? Tracking coupons online requires a huge time investment which may never pay off: you need to first find reliable and effective coupon sources, then create various tracking and organizing systems, etc.
I have found that nothing works better than a relevant and timely price tracking email alert. Here are a few tools I am using to create one:
New Coupon Alert
There are a variety of coupon directories and aggregators out there. One’s choice is really based on personal preferences and trial and error experiences. The one I am currently using is Rather-be-Shopping which has (luckily) added the coupon alert feature with the latest update.
I like the tool because the coupons listed there seem to be hand-picked and more often than not prove to be reliable. One of the newest and most useful sections added as well is a free shipping one.
To add an email alert, you will need to create a free account, proceed to “Your Coupon Alert Settings” ad check what you want to be alerted of. You can receive alerts (1) by category or (2) by store (or both):
FreeShipping.org’s “Favorite Coupons” feature that I mentioned in another shopping-related post quite a while ago is another option to try here but it only allows you to add price alerts by merchant.
Price Drop Email Alert
Like with coupon aggregating, price tracking sites are quite a few. I’ve been using one of the most established and popular of them: PriceGrabber. To create a price drop alert you will need to use the search feature to locate your product (range), then create an account and use “Add Price Alert” link.
The alert settings will let you specify:
- Quality preferences (New, Used, Import, Refurbished, etc);
- Merchant range (you can include or exclude any merchants names);
- Desired merchant rating:
The actual alert will look like this:
Any Email Price Alerts
Google Alerts which you can have plenty of fun with is another tool we need to mention here. The best thing about the tool is that you can actually create an alert about anything while using the flexibility of Google Advanced operators:
- Get new product result within the specified price range: [laptop $500..$1200] – use two dots between the prices
- Include several products in one alert: [laptop coupons OR mobile phone coupons]
- Control the proximity to include various models: [“nokia * coupons”]
Almost with all those queries, scrolling down to “Web results” in your alert (like in the screenshot above) will give you most useful results.
With as much flexibility, why not use Google Alerts and that’s it? Unfortunately, the tool results are far from being perfect. In my experience, Google Alerts are most useful when applied for some type of research (for example, if you want to get daily updates on what people offer and which products exist based on your query). The tool won’t give you any actionable updates (unlike the two tools above).
Another tip to mention here is that you probably want to create a separate email account for these types of price alerts so that they do not clutter your main inbox.
Do you save money using your email? Please share your most successful money saving tricks!