I love automation.
I love it so much, I try to automate whenever I can — even when it comes to shopping.
From the comfort of my browser and favorite pair of sweatpants, I can:
- Get my grocery shopping done
- Buy some new books
- Order a vase of flowers for my mom because I’m an AWESOME son
. . . all while saving time to focus on my business.
Though the convenience is great, I’ve also been able to incorporate savings into my automation process.
Before everyone accuses me of being a frugalista who clips out stacks of coupons to save a few cents on toilet paper, know that I do actually think it’s a good idea to save on your purchases — but only if you automate the savings so you’re not wasting time.
Here are 5 ½ extensions (you read that right) I use to find the best deals without wasting a bunch of time.
1. Honey — Finds coupon codes everywhere
That’s right, no more relistening to old podcast episode ads so you can write down that coupon code.
Say I head over to J.Crew’s website to buy a new sweater. As soon as I open up the site, the extension automatically tells me how many coupon codes are available for the store.
At checkout, I simply go to the Honey extension, click the code I want to use, and paste it into the promo box.
Once you’ve bought enough items using the extension, you have the opportunity to get cash back through the app.
Instant savings and cash-back. It’s a smart way to save money and time.
2. Amazon Assistant — Save time and money on Amazon
Amazon Assistant, which is Amazon’s official browser extension, gives you handy product and price comparisons so you don’t have to spend hours looking for a cheaper option online.
It also automatically allows you to check out their Deal of the Day, their markdown of some great products that only last for one day.
My favorite thing about the plug-in has to be the feature that takes you straight to AmazonSmile — a program that automatically donates a portion of your purchase to various charities at no cost to you. (I like Pencils of Promise.)
Let’s recap the benefits:
- Savings on products you want
- An easy way to browse daily deals on Amazon
- The warm feeling you get from donating to a good cause (you’re saving money AND lives)
3. Price Alarm — Find the best prices on eBay and Amazon
Price Alarm tracks prices on both Amazon and eBay so you can STOP constantly checking that listing like it’s an ex’s Instagram.
Just find a product you want on Price Alarm’s website, click on the price alarm button, and set the price you want to pay for the product. Once the item reaches the price you set, you’ll receive an email or tweet notifying you.
Plus, you’ll get some of the best deals on stuff. Check out how much cheaper this TV is on eBay compared to Amazon.
4. Swagbucks — Get cash back constantly
This plugin earns you Swagbucks by doing things online you would have already been doing anyway like:
- Watching videos
- Using a search engine to find information
You can eventually trade in the Swagbucks for gift cards to stores like Amazon or Wal-Mart, or for cash back through PayPal.
Swagbucks is also completely legit, unlike a lot of the other rewards plugins out there.
For example, you can get 4% cashback on Amazon purchases. Swagbucks inserts their affiliate code in your purchase and then shares the affiliate commission with you.
Imagine a future where you use Price Alarm to find the lowest price for printer ink on Amazon, then use Swagbucks to get 4% cash back, and pay for the ink with a credit card that gives you 1% cashback.
Swagbucks works on a point system. Every time you take an action that Swagbucks rewards, you get a certain amount of points that you can later redeem for Target or Amazon gift cards or real bucks.
Make money doing things you’d normally do online. Awesome.
5. Ixigo Inspire — Saves money on travel
I normally have a rule of thumb that I don’t download anything I can’t pronounce. However, some rules were meant to be broken — especially when there’s a deal too good to pass up.
Enter ixigo inspire.
This Chrome plug-in provides you with the best prices on any travel website when you visit them.
Which is FANTASTIC for someone like me, since I’m normally splitting my time between San Francisco and NYC.
A nice touch is that the extension will also change the background of each new Chrome tab to a photo of some exotic locale to really inspire you to travel more.
Check it out.
5½. Use Amazon Assistant or Price Alarm to save money in stores
Sometimes you need printer ink on a random Wednesday afternoon, and you can’t wait for some delivery guy to bring it to you.
You can still save money using these plug-ins while shopping in a physical store.
Many stores price match Amazon, like Staples. So when I ran out of HP 851 printer ink at the worst possible moment the other day, I went to Staples, pulled up the ink on Amazon Assistant, and showed the cashier the listing on my phone.
They price matched the ink, saving me $16 instantly.
Price in Staples: $63.99
Price on Amazon: $47.99
Savings: $16 (25%)
Getting Ink Immediately: Priceless
Automation is awesome
Instead of spending days dragging yourself through the internet to buy something you want for a few bucks cheaper, automate the process with browser plug-ins that do the searching for you.
This is why I love automation.
But really, it’s only the beginning when it comes to how you should approach your spending and finances.
I want to share with you something my team has spent a while working on to help you automate your expenses so you don’t have to worry about spending money on things you love.
The best part: it’s absolutely free.
Click here for the Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance.