By Lewis Humphries
The U.S. economy is struggling to achieve pre-recession levels of growth. This places citizens in a difficult position, as while they may have diminished disposable income, their spending is crucial to driving economic growth throughout 2013 and beyond. With this in mind, it is important that individuals commit to responsible spending, and look to cut the cost of everyday expenditures without eliminating purchases and compromising quality of life.
Fortunately, there is a widening range of online tools that have been designed to help citizens save their hard-earned money. The following Internet browser extensions have achieved popularity among consumers, thanks to a series of unique and practical benefits:
PriceBlink: While it is widely accepted that shopping online can expose consumers to a host of money saving sites and independent retailers, the browser extension PriceBlink can offer additional assistance in testing times. Available on Chrome, Firefox and Safari, this tool presents you with an automatic comparison of prices while you shop. As you browse a relevant product page, PriceBlink will display a range of competing prices that may enable you to make considerable savings. The key benefit of this tool is that it eliminates the time and effort that is usually required to compare online prices, which can prove invaluable if you have a busy lifestyle.
Coupon Digger: The brainchild of Coupon Mountain, this innovative browser extension enables customers to find online coupon codes with minimum fuss. Coupon Digger connects users to promotional codes from a host of leading brands, which means that they can save money when purchasing new items. So, rather than scouring various websites to locate a handful of vouchers and coupon codes, online shoppers can instead register to receive automated notifications once they reached the virtual checkout on their chosen sites. Available as a Google Chrome and Firefox extension, Coupon Digger has the capacity to save shoppers both time and money.
Zscaler Safe Shopping: While online shopping has afforded great opportunities to consumers, it also brings tremendous responsibility. There is a pressing need for security, as merchants, banks and customers lose more than $205 billion on average to credit card fraud and scams every single year. The Zscaler Safe Shopping browser extension has therefore emerged as a key money saving tool, as it provides comprehensive security against fake and compromised sites in addition to malicious pages. By making safe and secure purchases, you can safeguard your investment and protect your hard-earned capital.
Ciuvo Price Check: The online retail process begins with the selection of a product, and it is important to choose carefully if you are to make a shrewd investment. To achieve this, you may need access to a broad base of information, including everything from a price comparison breakdown to independent customer reviews and supporting images. The Ciuvo Price Check tool is a comprehensive browser extension that provides you with access to this range of data, while also alerting you to any real time vouchers and promotional codes that are available at the time of purchase. Available for Chrome, Opera, Safari and Internet Explorer 9, it is an efficient online tool that is unique in terms of its scope.
Shopping Assistant: A purposeful and featured extension on Chrome, Opera and Firefox, Shopping Assistant is another browser extension that allows you to shop efficiently and in a time effective manner. As you browse sites independent websites to locate products, Shopping Assistant will automatically highlight similar products from popular resources such as Amazon and eBay. In addition to this, it also relays a price history for your chosen item, which details how much it has been sold for previously on Amazon. In the quest to save money and achieve value for money, this can be an extremely useful resource.
Invisible Hand: Even as you focus on reducing the cost of everyday expenditures, it is still worth attempting to save money on big-ticket purchases such as holidays. InvisibleHand is a browser extension that has been designed to achieve this aim, as it has the capacity to automatically locate the lowest price on flights and hotels in America, Germany and the U.K. It is a discreet and real-time tool, which issues instant notifications if you browse a product that is available cheaper through an alternative provider. Supporting nearly 600 independent sites, it has a broad base of information and can help you to save considerable sums of money as you travel abroad.
The Bottom Line
When shopping online, there are a number of components that contribute towards a frugal, safe and positive consumer experience. The use of innovative browser extensions can help to enhance the overall experience by easing the process of shopping and minimizing the security risks involved. These extensions are also free to download, and they dramatically reduce the time needed to appraise products and find the best possible deal.
*Coupon Mountain is owned and operated by ValueClick Brands, parent company of Investopedia and a subsidiary of ValueClick.
Originally posted on Investopedia.com
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