What You Said: Tools and Tricks for Scoring Great Deals Online

By Jason Fitzpatrick on March 11th, 2011


Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite tools and tips for scoring great deals online. Now we’re back to showcase your money-saving techniques.

Our Ask the Readers series gives you, the awesome How-To Geek reader, a chance to share your tips, trick, and technological know-how with your fellow readers right on the front page. Every week we ask a question and every week we round up your tips to share. This week we’re taking a look at your tips and tricks from What Tools Do You Use to Score Great Deals Online.

Enjoy Easy Comparison Shopping with Browser Extensions


The most popular browser extension by far was InvisibleHand, a completely free and ad-free browser add-on for Firefox and Chrome. Reader Paulette summarizes the general reader sentiment well:

Invisible Hand – definitely! Great Firefox add-on that automatically looks for better deals on just about any item you’re looking at online, gives you a choice of where to get it, and isn’t obtrusive. It has saved me literally hundreds of dollars.

If you’re a frequent online shopper hundreds of dollars is really just a starting point. Anytime you shop online, InvisibleHand quietly compares prices behind the scenes and alerts you if the item you’re shopping for—DVD set, BBQ grill, whatever—is available cheaper anywhere else. Saving even five bucks a transaction adds up rapidly and InvisibleHand makes it completely effortless; it’s comparison shopping without the effort of actually comparing.

Price Blink was another popular extension mentioned by readers. Available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari browsers it performs a similar function to InvisibleHand—with an added bonus. Reader Tom explains:

It is a browser add-on that does price comparison while you shop. I’ve compared it to Invisible Hand. In my experience, it works on more stores and provides more accurate price comparison results. Plus, it also displays coupons for the merchant you are viewing.

Price Blink is like a mashup between InvisibleHand and popular coupon/deal code web site RetailMeNot. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to kill two birds with one money-saving stone.

Finally, readers who enjoyed using AllYourPrices for their deal hunting needs preferred the AllYourPrices Chrome extension. While AllYourPrices doesn’t have the most advanced browser extension around, the AllYourPrices website also includes a rebate tracker and a directory of refurbished and open-box sale items.

Deal Sites and RSS Efficiency


In addition to browser extensions, readers also hit up deal sites and worked some pretty neat tricks with RSS feeds to save cash. Among the most popular deal sites were FatWallet and SlickDeals.

Even more interesting than simply visiting web sites that cataloged deals (as much fun as that can be), is the way some readers leveraged RSS feeds to help them save. Reader Ryan used a combination of RSS feeds and the RetailMeNot bookmarklet:

I use three RSS feeds in my Google Reader account (Slickdeals, Dealnews, and Gamerdeals.net), as well as a RetailMeNot! bookmarklet.

Organizing the feeds from deal hunting sites in your RSS reader is a great way to stay on top of general deals when you’re not looking for something specific. Reader Sneakily1 ups the RSS-as-money-saving ante a bit higher by combining RSS feeds and Craiglist to score local deals—his technique could easily be adapted for any other deal site with deal news, however:

I use RSS ticker and Firefox to score stuff on Craigslist the moment it’s posted. I did up a tutorial about a year back on how I do this.

Considering the first-come-first-serve nature of Craiglist postings and how quickly really hot deals can vanish, Sneakily1’s technique is a great way to stay on top of specific deals.

For more tips and tricks hit up the original post’s comments to see how your fellow readers save big while shopping online. Have a question you want to put before the How-To Geek audience? Shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com with “Ask the Readers” in the subject line and we’ll see what we can do.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/11/11
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