Here on Techlicious, I talk about Big Data a lot – that is, how companies use the information they have about you to better sell you products and empty your wallet. Well, data is a double-edged sword. You can also use it to squeeze every last dime out of the stores you regularly buy from, keeping that wallet full.
How? Simple: price tracking. I’ve put together a list of four great price tracking apps, websites and services that can help you figure out the best times to buy. That way, you can save money no matter how or where you like to shop simply by staying informed. Take a look.
For saving money on fashions and home goods: Pinterest
People use social network Pinterest for myriad reasons, but it tends to be especially popular with people who love to shop. The reason is simple: There are plenty of great Pinterest pages out there full of curated fashions, home goods and similar items that match your tastes exactly, all just waiting to be discovered.
Naturally, buying everything you like on the site would be too expensive. But the site makes it easy to start your own Pinterest page full of “wish list” items, complete with pricing information. Once pinned, should any item you’ve added to your list decrease in price, Pinterest will send you an email alert.
Pinterest currently tracks a large number of popular retailers and sites like Anthropologie, Etsy, Sephora, Urban Outfitters and more. To learn more about Pinterest and how to use it, check out Techlicious’s Pinterest 101: Understanding the Basics and Pinterest 102: Tips for Smarter Pinning guides.
For top-shelf bargain hunters: NIFTI
Do you spend a lot of time browsing the racks of fancy department stores like Neiman Marcus trying to find a bargain? Anxiously awaiting Nordstrom’s twice yearly sale? If searching for a great deal at upscale mall stores excites – and why wouldn’t it – then you may want to check out the Nifti app.
Like camelcamelcamel, Nifti has a searchable database of products from a wide range of familiar retailers. It also comes with price tracking features like simple charts and alerts. Unfortunately, my experience with the search bar suggests the Nifti database is still pretty light – I couldn’t find any results for Diesel, Levi’s or even the more generic “jeans.”
That’s okay, though – Nifti’s strength isn’t in searching for everyday items. It’s the curated “Nifti Picks,” a selection of incredibly cool items that have recently declined in price. I found a gorgeous reclaimed wood wine rack, a price-cut Vitamix blender and a 21% off deal on Beats Headphones. Of course, the tracking and price chart features work for these items too, in case you want to roll the dice on that tree stump nightstand decreasing in price. It is just a piece of wood, after all.
Nifti is a free download for iOS devices on the Apple App Store.
For saving money on past purchases: Slice
Most price-tracker apps focus on helping you determine when the right time to buy an item is. But just because you’ve already bought an item doesn’t mean your opportunity to save money has ended. Shopping assistant site Slice helps keep track of your spending history, alerting you if it discovers you’re eligible for a price adjustment.
See, Slice syncs to your Gmail account, automatically keeping a browseable database of your online purchases and emailed store receipts. If an item you’ve bought at one of the 23 retailers it tracks with price adjustment policies (i.e., Best Buy, Nordstrom, Zappos), Slice will automatically let you know.
Sadly, my initial download of Slice wasn’t able to find me any price matching opportunities. It did, however, create an instant record of my online purchasing history, discovering 184 items I’ve spent a grand total of $9,250 on. If nothing else, it may guilt you into spending less … and that’s a kind of savings, right?
For saving money on Amazon: camelcamelcamel
Are you looking to save a little bit of cash on your next visit to Amazon? If so, take a look at camelcamelcamel, a powerful website that monitors and tracks prices for both new and used items listed on Amazon.com using easy-to-read charts. Not only can the site tell you what the best price for an item is, it can also be set up to email or tweet at you when prices drop.
The site is easy to use. Just find an item on Amazon, copy the URL in the address bar and paste it to the search bar on the site. Or, you can download the camelcamelcamel browser app and do the research right in the Amazon browser window. Either way, a comprehensive price history of pretty much every item sold on Amazon is right at your fingertips.
If you’d like to cut your online shopping bill even further, check out our 6 Ways to Save Money Shopping on Amazon guide.
[Causal woman online shopping by Shutterstock]