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With the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales just around the corner, now is a good time to up the ante on your online shopping skills.
Here are five ways you can save money with your good friend Google.
BROADEN YOUR SEARCH
If you type “Marks & Spencer sale” into Google, you will get results that match your search terms,but that is only a small piece of the whole of the retail market.
Whenever you do an online search, always scroll down to the bottom of the page to check out “related search terms” which can lead to better – and more specific bargains.
When I had a look today, for instance, other terms suggested were: Marks & Spencer clearance, Marks & Spencer 1p sale, Marks & Spencer sale date and Marks & Spencer flash sale – and each one produced different results.
HUNT DOWN DISCOUNTS, DEALS AND FREEBIES WITH GOOGLE ALERTS
Google Alerts is a great tool for any savvy online shopper – and using it is easy. Here you can set up alerts for the topics that you are interested in – all you do is enter a key words and Google will email you any new content that contains these search terms whenever it is published online.
What’s more, you can narrow your search further and add additional criteria, such as the frequency of the alerts, the clothing size and the local area or country you want to see content from.
Chose your search words carefully, and focus on terms such as retailer specific coupons or discount/promo codes, sales, freebies and giveaways. Instead of having to search the internet yourself for content the best bargains on offer, you can get Google Alerts to do hard work for you.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Search “as is” or “reburb” on shopping sites for big reductions on returned and refurbished products items. Often, the item on sale is discounted because the packaging has been opened, it was a shop display item or minor damage that can be easily repaired.
Bear in mind that buying a second-hand gadget through an online marketplace, even when it is described as “refurbished”, is inadvisable – and it is very different from buying the items direct from the manufacturer. This is because refurbished gadgets sold by the manufacturer come with a warranty – giving valuable protection should something go wrong. So read the product descriptions carefully.
USE THE GOOGLE SHOPPING TAB
Search in Google’s shopping tab to compare several shops advertised prices before you fork out any cash. Not only is this a good way to ensure you are getting the best value, but you may be able to have the price matched at another high street retailer.
Several retailers have a “price-beater promise”, which means they will match or beat any price from a competitor.
At Currys PC World, for instance, the shop will match or beat the price you’d pay at AO.com, Argos, Asda, John Lewis or Tesco. Even if the competitor’s running a voucher-offer discount, and even up to seven days after you have made the purchase.
B&Q offers to refund the difference and give you an extra 10% off the lower price, so long as the competitor shop is within a 10-mile radius and this offer is good for a fortnight after you buy.
John Lewis’s “never knowingly undersold” price matching policy even extends to purchases online for up to 28 days after purchase, but bear in mind it will only consider retailers that also have a high-street presence.
FIND THE CHEAPEST FLIGHTS ON OFFER
If you are planning a trip abroad, use Google Flights to help you get great deals with just a few clicks of the mouse. To use it is simple: just type in www.google.co.uk/flights into your browser and search your destination.
But, Google Flights will go the extra mile to ensure you get the best fare and highlight any deals that you might be missing out on.
If you search for a flight that has a similar but cheaper route, for instance, the “tip” bar lets you know how much you can save if you are willing to be flexible with your dates or airports.
Once you decide on a route, select “save this itinerary” button to track its pricing. You can then hit the red button in the menu to see how prices are changing, and Google will email you when – and if – the price falls.
What’s more, if you click price graph (to the right of flexible dates), you’ll see a comparison of prices over the course of multiple months, which can be adjusted by both trip length and travel dates to suit your needs.