When it comes to comparing prices, I think most of us would have to be honest and say we don’t really take the time to do it. I’ll include myself in this group; I just don’t have the time to trawl through hundreds of different websites, searching for the product I want and trying to find a few pounds off! Nowadays though there are so many different price comparison sites out there, but again, people hardly ever use them despite all the money saving blogs recommending them! Today I’m going to tell you how to make the most of price comparison sites, and convince you to pop a search on one into your usual shopping routine.
What Are Price Comparison Sites?
A price comparison site does exactly what it says on the tin. You search for anything you want to buy, and it compares the prices for that item across a bunch of different retailers for you. This means you can see exactly which site is selling it at the cheapest price, and you can spot any sales easily. If you remember to use it (and trust me, by the end of this blog post I’ll convince you to never forget to use one again!) it’ll save you all the time you would have wasted searching through different retailers, and you’ll potentially get a better deal than you would have that way anyway.
So, price comparison sites seem pretty simple. There are a lot out there to choose from, and I’ll go through some of your options a little bit later in this post. But how can you squeeze more out of them than just using them to find the best deal? Well, this is where cashback comes in.
How To Get More From Price Comparison Sites
Price comparison sites make their money when you click on a product they show you and buy it, like you normally would, from the retailer they send you to. For example; you search for a new toaster on a price comparison site, find one you like for a good price, click through to a shop like Argos and buy it from Argos. You’ve paid nothing for using the price comparison site (and if you stumble across one that doesn’t offer you their service for free, you should probably avoid it), that was completely free. But the retailer, in this case Argos, will pay the price comparison site a referral fee for sending you to them. It’s basically like a price comparison site is one big advertising page for these retailers, so tons of them want to be on there for you to see their products.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could get some of this money back from these sites though?
Cashback sites operate much in the same way. They send you to a retailer, get paid the referral fee, but they pass part (or all) of this back onto you. It might feel like you’re getting something for nothing, but you never really are. The cash back and price comparison sites both need you to use them to get paid the referral fee in the first place. Cashback sites either keep part of this for themselves and give you a cut, or place advertising on their site to pay the bills.
Some cashback sites only let you search for a retailer and send you directly to them, which means you’d have to use a price comparison site to find the cheapest one first and then use a cashback site to buy the product. I think that’s a little long-winded, but if you’re buying something without a specific ‘model’, like a card from MoonPig, then this sort of cashback site would be perfect for you.
Other cashback sites have price comparison built right into them. This means you can search for what you’re looking for and buy them all on the same site. And this is how you can get a bit more bang for your buck from a price comparison site. You’ll be getting a better deal than anyone who doesn’t use a cashback site; you’ll know you’re getting the cheapest price by using the price comparison, and you’ll also be getting a bit of money back for shopping through it.
What Price Comparison Sites Are Out There
Right, I’ll be splitting this list in half. One half is just for price comparison sites, and the other is for those offering cashback.
Price Comparison Sites
- Pricerunner – Let’s you search through thousands of products and shows you exactly how much money you’re getting off by buying from the cheapest.
- Twenga – Shows you the top products on its site and has some great categories so you can easily find anything you’re looking for.
- My Supermarket – Compares major supermarket prices. If you pop in what you’d normally buy from the shops, it’ll tell you which of the 9 supermarkets would be the cheapest for you. It might be a lot of effort to do for every week, so just put in the things you’re likely to re-purchase often and it could convince you to change where you usually shop!
- Idealo – Is a lot like Pricerunner or Twenga -it differs by showing you reviews on the front page of some of their top products, and by comparing flight prices too.
Money Back Websites (Cashback)
- Topcashback – You can search for any retailer you want to buy from, and Topcashback lists how much cash back they’ll pay you for buying products from different categories like Tech and DVDs. They have some great cashback rates, but no price comparison!
- Quidco – Let’s you search for retailers and products. Although they’re primarily a cashback site, they do offer some product search for price comparison.
- GreasyPalm – This works a little differently to the other sites; you have to perform tasks to earn cashback, like fill out questionnaires or sign up for free trials. Once you’ve earnt £180 cashback they’ll allow you onto their main site to shop how you’d like to.
One tip though; I’d suggest not using a cashback checker. Some sites online have cashback checkers which tell you what cashback site offers the best rates. It might seem counter-intuitive for me to tell you not to use one, but I only say that because cashback is never guaranteed on any site. Although most of the time this isn’t an issue, some purchases for a variety of reasons I’ll be explaining in a future blog post, can’t be tracked by the money back sites. So the amount of cash back they offer should not be what you base your purchase on. It should be whether the product’s right for you and at the best price for you. Cashback should be thought of as an added extra.
Take a look at the sites I’ve mentioned and find the one that’s right for you. All of them have their perks, but some might be better for what you want to use them for than others. Let me know in the comments below if you use price comparison sites, or over on Facebook or Twitter.