Tag: Online Shopping

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Eliminating Fees, Strategies to Save

8 Savings Solutions for Dynamic Pricing

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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This article comes to us from consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

One of the most powerful tools retailers use to trick you into spending money is dynamic pricing. This refers to the practice of fluctuating prices on products throughout the month, week or even day. Both online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores use analytical tools to manipulate prices based on demand, time of day, weather and even zip code with the ultimate goal of maximizing profits. For example, a study tracking Amazon found the online giant changed the price on a GE microwave nine times in just one day.

By adjusting prices based on consumer and market behavior, retailers can capture more customers while getting the most money from each sale. That means the price you viewed on a product in the morning could change by the time you get home from work at night. These analytical tools may also identify an IP address for repeat searches and subsequently send a price soaring.

With such advanced technology working against you, dynamic pricing may seem unbeatable. However, the following tactics can put you back in control of your spending and help you snag the best price on a purchase.

Clear Your Cookies

Cookies (in Internet-speak) are what help you avoid entering your login information every time you check your bank statement, but they’re also responsible for tracking your buying patterns across the web. This creates a digital profile of your purchasing behavior and sites adjust pricing and search results accordingly. Erase your cookies before your next online shopping task to receive unbiased results.

Shop Covertly

A study about price discrimination from Northeastern University in Boston revealed registered users to sites like Orbitz were sometimes presented with better deals than non-registered users. Clearing your cookies as advised above could impact member pricing, so in these cases it’s best to browse covertly. If you’re a repeat customer with a login, use Chrome’s Incognito mode or Firefox’s Private tab to search for prices and compare them to traditional browsing to determine any price differences.

Compare and Track Prices

The biggest weapon against dynamic pricing is price tracking. Knowing the history of a product’s price can show you how high or low it’s been, and during what times. CamelCamelCamel offers price history and tracking for Amazon products, while TrackIf.com helps you track products from other retail websites. You can also use price comparison search engines like PriceGrabber to find out who has the best price at the moment. Finally, browser add-ons like Invisible Hand alert you when a product you’re looking at is better priced elsewhere.

Set Sale Alerts

When you’re short on time, setting sale alerts is helpful to learn when a product’s price drops due to a promotion or available coupon. Pinterest actually has a setting to alert you when something you’ve saved (or “pinned”) from a retail website drops in price. You can also use SnapUp, an app that organizes your mobile screenshots of products into a database and lets you organize by category (“clothing” or “John’s birthday”), and sends you an email when product prices drop. PoachIt offers similar price-tracking features but highlights specific coupon codes that help you offset the cost of your purchase.

Apply a Coupon

Obvious, yes, but oh-so-important! If a checkout page has a field for a promo code, take a moment to look for one before you proceed. Search for coupon codes on deal sites like CouponSherpa.com to easily find deals from specific stores or within product categories. If you’d rather not search through coupon sites, install the Honey browser extension and have available codes automatically pop up during checkout.

Price Match

To compete for your business, several major retailers are willing to match one another’s prices, making your pursuit of savings much easier. Plus, if you have perks with one retailer (like rewards cash), you don’t have to sacrifice those rewards to get a better price. Review the retailer’s price-match policy or open up a live chat session with an online rep. You’ll have to provide proof of the better price but it should be as simple as copying and pasting a link from the other store.

Name Your Own Price

Ideally, you could always pay the price you think something is worth, but in retail it doesn’t typically work that way. However, when it comes to gadgets, electronics and, um, baby gear, Greentoe gets us to that point. Search for your desired product and Greentoe shows you the lowest and average online price, plus gives you an idea of how well your offer will be received. Submit an offer and the first retailer to accept it gets the sale, and you get the product at the price you want. You also have the power to name your own price through portals like Craigslist or Facebook Groups, where you can negotiate your preferred price with the seller.

Call Customer Service

When in doubt, give customer service a call and speak to someone. You’d be amazed what you can get by simply asking. A friend of mine was disappointed with part of a purchase she made over Black Friday weekend, and was torn about whether to keep it anyway because the return-shipping fees would be outlandish. I encouraged her to call customer service and let them know she wasn’t satisfied with the product. She did, and the company sent her a return-shipping label, no questions asked. I’ve also used this tactic countless times and have had expired coupons honored or been granted free overnight shipping.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

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Earning Cashback

Swagbucks: Is it Worth the Time to Earn the Virtual Currency?

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As someone who enjoys getting things for less by leveraging frequent flier miles, cashing in credit card rewards points or the occasional churning of a credit card, the idea of earning gift cards or cash just by using an online search engine intrigued me. Enter Swagbucks.

How Swagbucks Works

Swagbucks is an online rewards program where you can earn virtual currency known as “Swag Bucks”. The more Swag Bucks you earn, the faster you can capitalize on obtaining prizes.

Setting up a Swag Bucks member account is a simple process. The website is fairly easy to navigate although it can appear overwhelming at first due to the amount of promotional offers available to earn Swag Bucks.

You can earn Swag Bucks (SB) in several different ways that include buying items, redeeming coupons, screening promotional videos, friend referrals, playing games along with answering surveys and polls. By far the easiest way to earn the online currency is using their search engine, Swagger, every time you log into your account.

Earning swagbucks

Swagbucks earns money from Google sponsored advertisements and in turn passes on some of their earnings to members in the form of Swag Bucks. Swag Bucks are immediately credited to your account upon completion of each task with the exception of those earned from shopping online via the Swagbucks website. It can take between 32-92 days from the date of purchase for shopping Swag Bucks to be credited to your account.

How to Redeem Swag Bucks

Once you have accumulated between 450 – 500 SB, you can cash them in for a $5 gift card from several major retailers such as Amazon, Starbucks, iTunes and Target. You can also choose to donate your Swag Bucks to help support a Swagbucks charitable organization partner like the American Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.

Swag Bucks Gift Card Redemption Scale

  • 450-500 SB = $5 gift card.
  • 1000 SB = $10 gift card.
  • 2000 SB = $20 gift card.
  • 2500 SB = $25 gift card.
  • 5000 SB = $50 gift card.
  • 10000 SB = $100 gift card.
  • 25,000 SB = $250 gift card.

Once you redeem your Swag Bucks for a gift card, it can take up to 10 days to fulfill your request and receive receive your gift card code via e-mail. 

Swagbucks Swagstakes

Another option is to enter a Swagbucks Swagstakes. By redeeming Swag Bucks for Swagstakes entries, you have the opportunity to earn bigger prizes. Each Swagstakes are either divided into Limited Entry contests, which open to a select number of entrants, or Limited Time contests that offer discounts for multiple entries. 

Swagbucks Cash Redemption

If you prefer to redeem your Swag Bucks for cash then you would elect for a PayPal gift card. In doing so, you can transfer the amount on the gift card from your PayPal account to your personal bank account. Note that you will need to earn 2500 Swag Bucks in order to redeem the lowest available PayPal gift card which is $25.

Additional Points to Consider

If you are concerned as to whether Swagbucks is a legitimate enterprise, then look no further than the Better Business Bureau. Swagbucks has an A+ rating with the BBB and have been in existence since 2005.

Keep your purchase receipts in order to resolve any discrepancies if Swag Bucks earned from shopping are not credited to your account. Remember that it can take 32-92 days from the purchase date before Swag Bucks are posted.

Swagbucks is 100% free to join and it doesn’t take much effort in order to start earning Swag Bucks. If you refer a friend and they join Swagbucks then you’ll earn 10% of the Swag Bucks they earn, for as long as they remain active. This is a pretty sweet referral deal.

What may be harder to determine is how much time is being spent to complete each task and whether the effort is really worth your time. It will also take you longer to accumulate enough Swag Bucks in order to redeem a PayPal gift card for cash versus a retailer gift card.

Spending a few minutes on Swagbucks to earn free gift cards or cash, especially when doing things that you were already planning to do like searching online and shopping can eventually result in more money in your wallet.

Check out these other referral sites:

Kassandra Dasent |

Kassandra Dasent is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kassandra at kassandra@magnifymoney.com

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