Extreme Price Comparison - ALWAYS Find The Lowest Price

Extreme price comparison, how to always find the lowest price

I don’t know about you…

But, whenever I buy something, I’m always wondering if I got the lowest price. There’s often a lingering doubt that I could have found it cheaper elsewhere.

I don’t like that feeling - but I don’t always have the time or energy to make sure I got the best deal. And that’s ok!

When I DO find the time though - I can be pretty fanatical about it. In fact, I’ve developed a handy process that you too can use for tracking down rock bottom prices.

The best part is you can pick and choose those steps you have the time for and skip those you don’t. You’ll still wind up with a REALLY good price after all.

Here’s what you do:

1) Choose Your Product

The first step is simply to choose the product that is right for you.

If you can, choose a well-reviewed product that is sold at plenty of stores so you know competition will be high. I’ll assume you know what you want, so this step should be easy.

Be sure to take note of the full product name and the model number of the item you plan to buy. You need this to ensure you are comparing apples to apples.

Tip: The model number is listed in the product description at most online stores. Click through a few stores until you find it, then write it down or copy it to your clipboard or notepad.

2) Start With A Light Google Search

This is where many people’s search for the lowest price starts and ends. They search for the product by name on Google and click through the first few results or ads and hope they found the lowest price.

Here’s a few search strings you can try when doing this yourself to improve your results...

  1. The full product name like:
  • “KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5-qt Tilt Head Stand Mixer”
  1. A few shorter versions might give more results like:
  • “KitchenAid ClassicPlus Mixer”
  • “Kitchen Aid Classic Plus Mixer” (notice the spacing difference)
  • “KitchenAid Mixer”
  1. Just the model number like:
  • “KSM75SL”

Related: Save Money Challenge #3: Price Match Edition

3) Track The Lowest Prices

I find the easiest way to keep track of the lowest prices during my search is with organized browser tabs.

Simply ctrl-click any link you find to a low-priced item to open it in a new tab. Then, drag it to the left side of your browser window so all your lowest-priced items are stored neatly there.

Keep your active search tabs on the right hand side of your browser which makes it easy to open and close tabs as needed while you search.

When finished, you will have a nice collection of low-priced buying options open in tabs on the left hand side of your browser window.

4) Check ALL The Flyers Using Flipp.com

Flipp has become the clear leader in flyer comparison. There are other options, but they just aren’t as easy or convenient to use.

Since you are likely on your computer when doing this research - go ahead and use Flipp.com - but keep in mind their app is also fantastic when you’re on the go.

Do your search on Flipp using the best short version of the product name you are looking for that you discovered from Step 2. Why? Because Flipp doesn’t usually track model numbers and often won’t list full product names.

5) Use Price Comparison Sites To Compare Prices Fast

Canadian price comparison sites allow you to quickly compare prices across multiple stores.

The problem is that these sites only track prices from some stores - not all of them. To access prices from MOST stores - here’s what you do:

  • Navigate to my Best Price Comparison Sites article.
  • Open ALL the sites in tabs by ctrl-clicking each link in the article.
  • Copy/paste the product name quickly into each tab and click search.
  • Go back and review the prices - move the lowest prices to new tabs on the left.
  • Repeat this process using the model number.

6) Do A Manual Search Of Well-Known Stores

The biggest big box stores are also the ones most likely to not share their pricing information. They rely on their brand recognition and marketing efforts to drive shoppers directly to their sites and stores.

Unfortunately, they may also have the lowest price and you don’t want to miss out on that.

Here’s what you do:

Take a minute to brainstorm every store you know of that might sell the item you are looking to buy. For a small appliance like a KitchenAid mixer I came up with this list:

Open all the stores in separate browser tabs and follow the same steps you did with the price comparison sites. First, copy/paste the product name and then the model number into each store’s site as quickly as possible.

Related: Which Grocery Store Has The Lowest Prices?

7) Find The Lowest Past Selling Price

By now, you should have found the lowest current selling price for whatever thing you want to buy.

There’s one more check you can do though - check to see what sale prices have been like in the past. That way you can see if the price is likely to drop much lower again in the future. Most products go through cyclical sale and pricing cycles - if you are willing to wait it out there’s a good chance that amazing price will come around again eventually.

To find previous hot deals try this:

  1. Search for “product name OR model + forum”.
  2. Search for “product name OR model + RedFlagDeals”.
  3. Search for “site:redflagdeals.com + product name OR model”.
  4. Search directly in the RedFlagDeals Hot Deals forum.

8) Price Match To Save More Money

By now you’ve seen dozens of prices for the same item so you know ALL the stores that are selling it.

If one of the stores that is selling it offers a 110% price match guarantee, like Canadian Tire or Home Depot, you might be able to get a further 10% discount off the lowest price you’ve found or maybe 10% of the difference.

You can see which stores have the best price match policies here. If you are new to price matching, then you can read our complete guide to price matching here.

If the item you want is not in stock at the lowest priced store, then most stores will refuse to do a price match if they bother to check stock. You can get around this by doing the price match through a credit card that has price protection insurance coverage like the MBNA Rewards World Elite MasterCard. It also happens to be the best cash back credit card in Canada right now.

9) Get Extra Cash Back

You’ve now zoned in on the store where you’re planning to make your purchase.

If it happens to be an online store, then you might be able to earn an extra cash back discount by going through a cash back website. You can see all the cash back websites available to Canadians here - or you can just jump over to my favourite one - Great Canadian Rebates.

10) Tack On A Coupon If You Can

Just before you check out, you might as well check if the store you are shopping at is offering any discount coupons. Head over to Retail Me Not and type in the store’s name to see what is currently available.

Copy and paste the coupon code into the space for it on the checkout page for even more savings. You can also Google “store name + coupon code” have a chance at finding more coupons.

How Extreme Are You?

Am I the only one intense enough to do this sort of thing? Tell me - what are your tricks for finding the lowest price when you want to buy something?

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

Comments

Susan
Susan's picture

Excellent article! I have several large purchases coming up and I will be using your guide, thank you. Your site is a wealth of information (pun intended), and I have recommended it to all my young friends.

November 29, 2016 @ 1:08 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Really appreciate the recommendations Susan!

November 30, 2016 @ 2:41 pm
fbgcai
fbgcai's picture

good step by step sequence but how much is your time worth?
unless you are saving a large amount (large appliance?, car purchase?) I doubt the benefit after step 2 is worth that much for the increasing amount of time spent - caveat if you enjoy capturing that last nickel (i.e. entertainment) go for it :)

Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed. - Peter Drucker
Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. - Jim Robn

November 29, 2016 @ 3:29 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I agree - time is more valuable than money - which is why I said upfront to only do the steps you want to if you have the time.

Some of the steps can be done REALLY quickly, and the whole process can be done relatively quickly if you practice it a little bit. Saving money does make for a great hobby!

November 30, 2016 @ 2:37 pm
Millennial Money's picture

This is an excellent series of hacks on how to maximize your purchasing habits to save money. Thank you for all of the useful advice and websites to visit to track and compare prices. You're really thought about how to extend your search options as much as possible to find the greatest deal.

November 29, 2016 @ 5:54 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I can go a little overboard, that's for sure. I usually go overboard first and then reign myself back in :)

November 30, 2016 @ 2:41 pm
Shiraz
Shiraz's picture

The other tactic I use is, I keep a price alert on the items that I may have already bought or intend to buy. Once the item price comes to a discount price point, I buy it or if I have already bought it, I take the receipt and go back to store and ask for the refund of price difference. Incase when I have already bought the items, in most of these store, have 90 days return policy should they refuse to refund the price difference. In 99.99% of cases I never had to return the item inorder to get the discount price refund.

(Don't know why Best buy has intentionally kept that bug which doesn't make Price Alert work for me)

December 01, 2016 @ 10:15 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Not all sites have price alerts, but that's a great tip. I've done this before at CanadianTire.ca.

December 08, 2016 @ 9:44 pm

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