saving money

Saving money automatically is a huge win for consumer advocacy.

Saving money while shopping has been a principal theme of this blog, and I am always on the lookout for new, easy ways to do so. Price comparison, coupon codes (and card linked offers), and sales are effective shopping strategies that consumers should leverage. But, those are strategies to utilize for saving money BEFORE buying something. But, what about AFTER you buy something? It’s flipping the equation a bit, and some might think “the horse has left the barn.” But no, there are definitely measures you can take to help ensure you got the best deal on a purchase. Today, we’ll discuss a few.

Price adjustments. Some retailers, sadly not Amazon much, if all, anymore will match a price drop if you find a product has decreased in cost within a certain period (typically, 30-90 days, but could be less). Tracking prices is relatively easy and there are several tools to do so. But more on those later. If you do see that a price has dropped, you can typically contact the retailer (email, chat, Facebook, Twitter, or web form) and inquire about an adjustment. You will have to provide some sort of proof that the price has dropped such as a screenshot, ad, or web link.

Price protection. Via certain credit cards (a lot of Chase cards have this benefit), if you buy something and the price drops within a certain time frame, you can fill out a claim form with the credit card company, and if honored, they will refund the difference. I have done this before and it’s a bit of pain, so you will want to be sure the difference is worth your time. And, the trick to remember here is that you have to have used that same credit card to make the purchase to make a claim.

Saving money automatically is the future

But, what if there were a different way? Relatively easy, painless methods for saving money that don’t involve much, if any, work on your part? I have previously written about Paribus which is a free tool that will track your purchases via your inbox for a period and then alert you if prices have fallen on a particular item. Here’s the fun part – if the price does fall, Paribus will fill out the claim for you and send you a check – free. I have had some luck with them previously but was really surprised recently when I used a relative newcomer, Earny, for the same purpose. We had purchased some running shoes from Amazon with my Chase card and after falling in price about $80, Earny tracked that and then sent me a check for $60. Awesome! It was like found money. Earny takes a 25% cut, which I didn’t mind because I wasn’t even tracking any price movement on my own because Earny was doing it for me.saving money

I am really interested to see what other tools may be launched in the future in the digital consumer advocacy space. For years, retailers and credit card companies have offered these consumer protections and now tools like Paribus and Earny automate the claims process. I think saving money this way is a total win for consumers and worth signing up for.

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