You no longer have to drive to every store in town or check out every newspaper and mail circular to find the best price on something you’re shopping for. Between internet price comparison sites and phone apps that do the work for you, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble before you even get up from the computer.
Online price comparison
Sites like PriceGrabber and NexTag are among the best-known price comparison sites online, but just put “price comparison sites” into a search engine and you’ll find dozens more. You can also search for specialized comparison sites that focus on just electronics, cell phones, and other niches. Even if you check several price comparison sites for one item, you use less time and energy than it would have taken to visit one shop.
Phone app price comparison
Many phone apps for iPhone, Droid and other operating systems help with price comparison. Some of them work much the same as the online services, and there’s little or no advantage in using them as opposed to a website.
But some of the apps do something really amazing: you’re at a shop. You find an item you want. You wonder if it’s cheaper anywhere else locally – or on Amazon. Instead of going to all the shops that might carry it and checking – or even calling those shops and sitting on hold while clerks look around – you just do something like this:
- Open your app (it’ll give you specific instructions – most apps work roughly the same).
- Take a picture of the item’s bar code with your phone camera.
- The app will tell you what other local stores have the item, how much they’re charging, and sometimes even how many they have in stock.
- Some of these apps also check Amazon prices for you.