Save money when shopping by tapping technology

Comparison shopping and saving money has gotten easier for those who invite technology to help.

Everyone wants to get the best bargain for their hard-earned money, so we pour over sale flyers in an effort to find the lowest price.

Don’t stop there. Michigan State University Extension recommends that once you have decided what you want to purchase, now is the time to do your homework; comparison shop.

The internet has made the process of comparing prices significantly easier. A wide variety of apps are now available; it’s just a matter of choosing the app that best fits your needs.

Some new apps tell you current prices, while others alert you when the item has gone on sale or compare prices online with the price at local stores. There are apps that save you additional money by storing loyalty certificates and others offer rebate checks, gift cards or allow you to donate your savings to charity. If you have a spending limit, you can use an app to notify you when the item’s price is within your spending range. All these apps help you compare prices so you can get the best deal.

There’s even an app that helps non-technology savvy individuals find the right gift for the techie  in their lives by providing easy to understand product descriptions and recommendations on who would enjoy the gift.

Apps can also help you after you have purchased an item. The app from one retail store compares prices against competitor’s advertised deals. For these apps you receive the difference in a rewards e-gift card.

How the app works depends on the one you select. Some require that you scan the item’s barcode while others allow you to type in the name of the item you are interested in.

While online, check out the reviews posted by those who have purchased the product. This will allow you to learn valuable information regarding hazards, defects or potential risks. Some apps provide an incentive to those users who write a review.

If you are trying to purchase items at the lowest price, be sure to calculate the shipping and sales tax on items purchased online as compared to the cost of the gasoline and sales tax you would pay if you visited a local store.

Comparison shopping and saving money has gotten a little easier for those who invite technology to help.

For more information on youth money management topics, check out the 4-H Youth Development website, contact your local MSU Extension office or go to the personal finance page on the eXtension website.

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