These sites make shopping faster, easier, and more fun—and they’ll save you money
Our colleagues at ShopSmart magazine are always on the lookout for new ways to shop and save money. Once a year, they sweep the Web for a roundup of the latest and greatest shopping sites and apps. This year’s roster includes the money savers below, sites that are great for the holiday shopping rush. (Each site meets our requirements for privacy, contact-info disclosure, and service.)
Best for automatic rewards for shopping. The search engine’s new rewards program gives you points for just doing Web searches at the site and trying new features. Subscribe to get started, redeem points for Redbox rentals, earn money for charities, and get gift cards to use at Amazon. com, Starbucks, and other major retailers.
Don’t miss: The Refer a Friend program lets you earn rewards for recruiting others.
Best for coupons and cash back. As if saving money weren’t great enough, this site helps you make money, too. Head here to find a promo code before you complete your next online order. And be sure to sign in before checking out at participating sites (which include lots of biggies, such as Audible.com and Nordstrom. com); you’ll earn cash back for anything you buy.
Don’t miss:The Exclusives section offers special codes.
Best for protecting your personal info. “Liking” your favorite brands on Facebook is a great way to see what’s new and get special offers. But the trade-off is that you might be granting access to your personal info. This browser add-on reveals everyone you’ve given permission to raid your data, alerts you in real-time when anyone tries to view it, and makes it easy to revoke the privilege.
Don’t miss: The free app for Android and Apple.
Best for catching sales. This virtual pinboard is perfect for organizing things you love online, from hot outfits to delicious recipes to dream furniture. Two new features make it fab for saving money, too: Product pins show you the availability and price of items you add to your boards, and the new price-alert feature e-mails you when those prices drop. Participating retailers include Etsy, Target, and Wayfair. Both features work automatically— there’s no need to sign up. (Another site to try, Wantworthy, works similarly.)
Don’t miss: Add the Pin It button to your browser so that you can easily pin stuff from anywhere on the Web.
Best for tracking all of your purchases. Register the e-mail address you use for online purchases and it keeps a record of every transaction, stores your receipts, and alerts you if you’re eligible for a price reduction or refund. Want to know when that package of goodies will arrive? It tells you that, too.
Don’t miss: The Slice & Dice charts your spending categories. You might be surprised to learn what percentage of your cash is spent on shoes, for example!
Best for finding stuff you love but can’t track down. Must have that dress someone is wearing in a pal’s Instagram photo or the skirt you saw on a celeb in a magazine? Just post the picture and this community of style hunters will get to work, digging up links where you can buy it. It’s like having thousands of fashion-obsessed friends who can spot a frock from Jason Wu’s spring collection a mile away.
Don’t miss: Check out the This Look for Less option.
Best for price checks. Whether you’re thinking about buying a used iPhone 5 on eBay or want to sell your bedroom set on Craigslist, head here to see how much it should go for. Results show the average price as well as the price history for recently sold items. Scroll down to see where the product is available online and how its asking price compares with the average online.
Don’t miss: Type in your e-mail address on a results screen to set up a price alert.
Best for managing deals. Any bargain hunter worth her weight in receipts has to deal with the same problem: An e-mail inbox crammed with newsletters, each with valuable info about the latest sale or product launch. This service organizes all your daily e-mail into one message. Have sites you’re totally over? Unsubscribe in seconds. It currently works with Gmail and Yahoo.
Don’t miss: The site can corral all of your social-media notifications, too.