There are few things as satisfying and dangerous as online shopping. When you’re not swiping your card or handing over cash, it’s easy to overspend and forget that online shopping is still shopping.
While there isn’t a Google Chrome extension to pry the computer mouse out of my hand while I browse the Sephora website, many Google Chrome extensions boast they’ll help you save while online shopping.
Although I was skeptical, I was optimistic because technology has never failed me before. Kidding. Anyone who has a smartphone knows that’s a lie. However, technology can be amazing and I love Google Chrome extensions. I probably spend more time with Google Chrome than with my own family. Let’s see how these extensions added up.
I shopped on four store websites and tested each extension on the same purchases. I avoided items that explicitly said they were excluded from coupons and deals. I added a variety of items to my cart to cover more potential deals and coupons.
Macy’s Total: $292.26
Honey: After one click and a few seconds, Honey notified me that I saved $58.51 and earned a small cash bonus. Honey found a deal on shoes that the other add-ons had not found. Result: I saved $58.51.
InvisibleHand: The extension showed me two “deals.” One was an ad for discounted Macy’s gift cards. The other was “Up to $50 off select sunglasses purchases.” I was not buying sunglasses. Result: No money saved.
Offers.com: I had to hunt down codes from their list. Most were not applicable to my order. This extension caused a lot of pop up windows. I used the first applicable code it suggested. Result: I saved $4.93.
PriceBlink: It did the same exact thing as InvisibleHand, promoting the same two non-applicable “deals.” Result: No money saved.
Winner: Honey. This saved me the most money by a long shot.
For my fellow shoppers looking to max out on their deals, you can consider using a Macy’s credit card can increase your savings, as well. Read this review on the Macy’s credit card for details. (Before applying for any new credit, it’s best to make sure your credit score is high enough to qualify. You can check two of your scores free on Credit.com.)
J.Crew Total: $562.50
Honey: Honey found 10 coupon codes and applied the best one. Result: I saved $43.20.
InvisibleHand: When I clicked on the coupon code I wanted to use, InvisibleHand open a new tab, said I was on my way to deals and then just brought me back to the J.Crew homepage without applying any code. This happened for every deal I tried. Once again the top “deal” was an ad to buy J.Crew gift cards for cheap. Result: No money saved.
Offers.com: All the offer codes I tried from this extension were expired or not valid. Result: No money saved.
PriceBlink: The extension opened a pop up with deals, similar to InvisibleHand. It brought me to a new window, bringing me to the PriceBlink search engine. The only code that popped up was expired. Result: No money saved.
Winner: Honey. This was the only extension that saved me money.
LOFT Total: $375.50
Honey: Honey said the store had no working codes but did offer me a 0.1% to 5% cash bonus. The LOFT website clearly had a promotional code all over the homepage, but Honey missed it. This extension might not be as flawless as I was starting to think it was. Result: No money saved.
InvisibleHand: The pop-up contained the coupon code promoted on LOFT’s homepage for 40% off. I was able to copy and paste it without leaving the page. Result: I saved $150.20.
Offers.com: Once again, one code popped up and it was the same 40% off deal. I did, however, have to visit a new window to get the code. Result: I saved $150.20.
PriceBlink: PriceBlink also found me the 40% off deal, but I had to visit two separate web pages to access it. Result: I saved $150.20.
Winner: InvisibleHand. While three out of four of the extensions found the same deal, InvisibleHand was the most efficient and easiest to use of the three.
Payless Total: $154.93
Honey: After trying a bunch of codes, Honey settled on a 15% off discount. Result: I saved $23.24 and earned a small cash bonus.
InvisibleHand: This found a few deals but, again, most were not applicable. Result: I saved $21.33.
Offers.com: It found me a bunch of codes, but most were not applicable to my order or broken. Eventually, I saved 15%, but only after Offers.com opened 10 tabs. It was a different code than the one Honey found, but it got me the same savings. Result: I saved $23.24.
PriceBlink: Once again, it showed me a lot of codes that were not applicable. Result: I saved $21.33.
Winner: Honey. Although most of the extensions got me a similar deal, Honey was the most efficient and provided a cash bonus.
Overall, these extensions are all capable of saving you money while you shop, though some are more efficient and effective than others. If you’re looking to save, strategically using a rewards credit card or subscribing to newsletters can also help. (In fact, we’ve rounded up a list of great credit cards for online shopping.) Here’s how I’d grade each extension I tried:
1. Honey: A
Honey was the most user-friendly and helpful extension of the bunch. It’s automatic and takes a lot of work out of finding the best deal. No need to manually to experiment with different codes and offers. It does it for you.
This extension requires a sign-up through e-mail or Facebook, but it offers a rewards program. Their “HoneyGold” rewards program gives you Amazon gift cards as you shop at Honey-supported online stores or refer friends to the extension, a great perk for frequent online shoppers.
2. Offers.com: B-
Although it usually provides many discount options, some of the codes had expired and most were not applicable to the order. I had to click on codes to reveal them, then new windows would pop up. I then had to copy and paste each code in to see if my order qualified. You also have to search for the store you’re in and sort through codes for some web pages. Not great.
There was also an Offers.com pop up on every page of the store I visited. The main way this extension could’ve saved me money was by aggravating me until I gave up on shopping.
3. InvisibleHand: C
Every time I was browsing a store on every single page of the online store there’d be a pop up across the top of my screen telling me about deals. Very irritating. A lot of the deals were not really deals or were expired.
The app promised to “automatically get the lowest price on whatever you’re buying,” but that’s not what I experienced. The process is not automatic. The only thing it automatically did was irritate me. This extension was pop-up city. It opened new windows each time I clicked on a code but didn’t actually apply the code. This extension often prompted me to apply for credit cards and buy gift cards, which I wasn’t looking to do.
4. PriceBlink: C-
While shopping, I faced constant pop-ups as well as ads for cheap gift cards. I also had to click multiple times and open many tabs to access the deals, a lot of which had expired. I did save some money, but it was inefficient. It would have been easier to use Google to find discounts.
This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.
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- 4 Great Rewards Credit Cards for Everyday Spending in 2017
- What Is a Good Credit Score?
- How Is Credit Card Interest Calculated?
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.
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