I know, I know…I’m always talking about using browser extensions to save money while you shop online. If you are already using them, I say “Bravo, Smart Shopper!” But, perhaps you feel a bit intimidated by the idea. Read on for the best ways to save money online with browser extensions!
What is a browser extension?
So, first of all – what the heck is a browser extension? It’s a small tool that once installed (or plugged in) it “extends” the capabilities of your browser, whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. What this means is that it allows your browser to do more for you.
There are all sorts of browser extensions. Some block adds, where others save your passwords. Some restrict access to certain sites where others, you guessed it, help you save while shopping. And that’s my favorite kind, as you can imagine.
There are several good ones out there, and while they all have the same purpose, which is to help save you money through cash back, coupons, or both, they are all a little different. Here are a few of my favorite browser extensions for online shopping:
As you shop, you can earn bonuses in the form of “SB’s.” SB’s can also be earned by performing tasks, like watching videos and completing surveys.
While Honey is primarily a coupon platform that will run coupons for you at checkout while you’re shopping online, Honey members can also earn random amounts of “gold” just by shopping at participating stores.
Goodshop, which is also a coupon site, will run coupons for you at checkout, similar to Honey. What makes Goodshop different is that there is also a charitable component where as you save money, funds are donated to the charity of your choice.
Coupon Cabin is also a coupon site. Once Sidekick is installed, you will be alerted (via a popup) to coupons or cash back opportunities.
Ebates is primarily about cash back and you can use it in-store as well as online. They even have their own credit card.
The Amazon Assistant is a bit different than the others. As you would expect, it’s specific to Amazon. As you shop online, it will alert you to the Amazon price of the item you are looking at, which can be very helpful if the price on Amazon is lower! It will also track your Amazon orders and update you on the status of “watched deals.”
How do I install a browser extension?
Browser extensions are very easy to install. You search Google, Bing, etc. for the one you want, and it will pop up in the list of options. When you click on it, a page like this will appear:
Click to install. All browsers are a little different, but once you’ve installed it, you’ll probably see a tiny logo in your bookmarks bar or toolbar. If you click on that logo, different offers will appear or you’ll end up on the site of that extension, where you’ll find a variety of offers. This is a great way to plan in advance of shopping, but the great thing about extensions is that you don’t have to plan if you don’t want to. You can simply shop as you usually would and applicable cash back offers or promo codes will pop up. You just click to activate the one(s) you want and keep on shopping.
With tools like Honey, you won’t even need to click a thing – the browser extension actually tries a ton of coupon codes for you and chooses the one(s) that will save you the most money!
How do I collect my savings?
Every extension is different, but I’ve found it to be easy to collect. Some, like Coupon Cabin, provide your funds via Paypal, where others, like Swagbucks, offer your payment in the form of gift cards (some of which are discounted so you can get more bang for your buck).
Can I use more than one browser extension at a time?
Yes. I think this is a great way to give a test run to more than one and see which you like best, i.e. which has the strongest cash back offers or the most coupons that are relevant to what you are shopping for. Will you save more by using two? Sometimes. Because some are more coupon-based and others are more cash back-based, you will have access to more offers by using more than one. But, if they overlap in functionality, it’s not like you can stack them. At least I don’t think so. I have “activated” two cash back offers at once and have not received cash back twice.
So, I hope that I have demystified browser extensions for those of you who were hesitating! If you shop online, they are worth trying.