One key part of being frugal is to comparison shop. There’s no reason why anyone should not compare prices before making a big (or even an average-sized) purchase. Even if you’re doing well financially, why pay more for something if you don’t have to? With technological advances, now you no longer have to go store to store to comparison shop. The power to compare prices across hundreds, if not thousands of stores now rests in the palm of your hands.
Your smartphone may have cost you hundreds of dollars, but it can save you thousands in the long run. There are apps for your phone that will let you scan the bar code of items in the store. When you do that, a list of prices for that item will come up on the screen. This is instant comparison shopping. If you’re seeing the exact same item for sale at the store for $75 but available for $50 at an online store, you might just want to have it shipped to you instead.
Brick and mortar stores have the deal with the high cost of rent and employees while online stores typically do not have that kind of overhead expenses. This is why you can find great deals online. You can use these five price comparison apps on your smartphone to compare prices and find the best deals.
Price Check, a price comparison app from Amazon, lets users see prices from Amazon.com’s marketplace (including its’ 2 million + merchants). You can scan a barcode, snap a picture of the item, type the name of the product or even verbally say it to the app to bring up the search results. Amazon, as I’m sure you know, has just about everything at rock bottom prices. The Price Check app is available for Android smartphones and for the iPhone.
My personal favorite of the bunch, Shop Savvy is a simple to use app available for the iPhone, Windows and Android phones. It works as you would expect. You scan the barcode of the item you’re browsing at the store and it will display a list of retailers along with their price for the item. Retailers may not like it that their customers are using apps like this one, but if they don’t like it, they can lower their prices to match the competition. By using this app in the store you’ll surely become a more savvy shopper.
Another free comparison shopping tool is RedLaser. This app has a QR code reader that will allow you to compare prices as well as browse reviews of items you are thinking about buying. What I like about this app is that you can scan an item and save it so you can further research the item later. It’s ideal for checking prices and creating a shopping list while on the go. This app is available for iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and Android users.
The Goodzer app is a local comparison shopping guide. Here’s how it works. You can search for the product you’d like to buy and the app will locate nearby stores that carry that product. Then once you find the store with the lowest price, you can view the store on the map and get directions right to the store. It doesn’t get any easier than that. This app is only available on the iPhone for now, but you can visit the goodzer website from any other smartphone to have access to the same info.
When comparing prices, people typically forget all about eBay. eBay has an app available for smartphones with a built in barcode scanner. This auction-based site has a reputation for being a place to buy used items. But there are plenty of stores who also list their items on eBay in new condition. The advantage of buying through eBay is that, if you’re already signed up, you don’t need to create an account with a new retailer and give them your credit card information. You can buy from thousands of different retailers all in one convenient location and pay with your paypal account.