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Comparison Shopping: The Ultimate Resource To Save Time and Money (Pre-Holiday Tip!)

Comparison Shopping: The Ultimate Resource To Save Time and Money (Pre-Holiday Tip!)

Saving money is often the foremost thing on most of our minds (especially when it comes to holiday shopping!) When we get down to the business of indulging in a new toy, household item or other product, saving ourselves time ranks a not-so-distant second.

Besides, with huge range of products available today, finding the balance between the best price versus the best quality may take you hours of research and driving from mall to mall.

But, with the nearly endless responsibilities that life puts on our plates each day, who has time to spare?

If you answered that question with a resounding “not me,” then check out these four fantastic comparison shopping tools that allow you to save both time and money:

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1. ShipGooder

ShipGooder

    Sometimes the biggest expense with an online purchase is shipping, a terrible problem that many market analysts see as the last big hurdle to getting people to switch en masse to online shopping over more traditional brick and mortar stores. Whether you shop via a third-party connection marketplace like Amazon or direct from the official website of your favorite retailer, the deals offered often seem very nice, until you reach the shipping page and find that what little money you hoped to save would be negated when you add in the cost of delivery.

    When you’re dealing with prohibitive shipping costs, the new ShipGooder server is an excellent tool that helps you to flesh out your options. Simply enter two zip codes and the package weight and ShipGooder will instantly return the available options for you to scan, saving you both time and money when it comes to shipping and receiving online purchases.

    2. Nextag

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    Nextag

      General price comparison websites are a dime a dozen, but Nextag stands out for its sheer size as well as its ease-of-use. The website’s simplistic design makes searching for a particular product a breeze, and their wide range of merchant partnerships means that millions of products are available through their service.

      With more than 10 years of experience and 30 million users per month taking advantage of it, there is no doubt that Nextag is a leader where price comparison is concerned, and you’ll definitely find it useful, assuming they partner with the merchants you need to find the product you’re looking for.

      3. PriceGrabber

      PriceGrabber

        One of the most popular price comparison websites in the world, PriceGrabber is well-known for its thorough product listings. The website provides both a search function and handy highlights on popular products, helping you to find the best deal on the hottest items with only a click or two, saving you time even while it promises to save you money.

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        Unlike Nextag, PriceGrabber provides comparisons in price and reviews from retailers across the internet, not requiring them to sign into any type of partnership. This means that you’re getting a full overview of what the web has to offer in the way of products, prices, delivery times and costs, and more.

        4. RedLaser

        RedLaser

          With mobile access now representing the way that many of us use the web, having a price comparison tool that can travel in your pocket is a valuable thing. This is one of a few ways that the RedLaser smartphone app sets itself apart from the competition. This app installs on your Apple iPhone or Google Android smartphone, making itself available to you when you’re shopping in order to give you the scoop on what other retailers, both online and offline, are charging for the same products.

          Products can be searched by UPC code or even via QR data if your phone’s camera is of a high enough quality to take a clear shot of a product’s barcode. This instantly presents you with a wealth of data, including comparative prices, GPS-enabled directions to competitors, and access to prices at online giants like eBay and Amazon, all coming together to ensure that you don’t spend a single dollar more than necessary to get the product that you want.

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          5. Collaborative Saving

          Happier

            This is a bit different in concept from the above tools but one that has some incredible potential: It offers you the ability to let your friends suggest deals to you. It makes perfect sense, people who you trust and who you probably share common interests with can suggest to you most relevant and reliable deals (as well as where to buy things).

            Happier (currently in beta) is so far the best example of this concept being implemented.

            Free Tool Most Useful Feature
            ShipGooder Compare shipping prices
            Nextag Powerful “Compare user reviews” feature
            PriceGrabber Local results (to quickly find best products nearby)
            RedLaser Powerful mobile support
            Happier Collaborative shopping and saving

            Luckily, we have online shopping tools to help us save time and money. Are there any other comparison shopping tips you use? Please share them in the comments!

            Your thoughts: Do you have any comparison shopping resource in your mind?

            Featured photo credit:  A couple selecting paint samples via Shutterstock

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            Last Updated on June 6, 2019

            The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

            The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

            Are you on track for retirement?

            If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

            Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

            But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

            If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

            What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

            Saving for retirement is tricky.

            Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

            Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

            Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

            Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

            20’s – $16,000

            During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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            Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

            30’s – $45,000

            At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

            Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

            40’s – $63,000

            This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

            50’s – $115,000

            During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

            60’s – $172,000

            By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

            Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

            The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

            Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

            First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

            Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

            Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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            How to Save Money Each Month

            By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

            But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

            Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

            Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

            Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

            Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

            Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

            To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

            How?

            By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

            Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

            If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

            Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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            Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

            Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

            When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

            Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

            Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

            If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

            Why?

            You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

            Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

            Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

            Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

            After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

            You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

            By starting a side-business.

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            This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

            The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

            So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

            Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

            Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

            What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

            My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

            Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

            For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

            If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

            Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

            Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

            Reference

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