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How to Make Sure a Deal Is Really a Deal

Finger pressing a car start button with the text good deals
Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock.com

While a deal or discount may look great at first glance, you can probably get an even better one. Whether it’s Prime Day, Black Friday, or a regular old Tuesday, a quick deal-check can save you some cash.

Deal-checking is a relatively straightforward (albeit, tedious) process. In essence, you’re just checking that a deal is really a deal. Retailers are super-competitive and crafty. They like to get people hyped up for “deal days” (like Prime Day or Black Friday) and capitalize on that energy by offering mild discounts, rather than great deals. Sometimes, the best deals don’t even happen on those “deal days,” they just pop up a few times a year. So, how do you make sure you’re getting the best deal possible?

Check Other Retailers’ Websites

Online retailers are viciously competitive. When there’s a good discount on one website, another always tries to match it. Before jumping on a potential deal, take a minute to see if it’s the lowest price by comparing it to other retailers. We like to use the search function on Slickdeals, a website that aggregates and organizes deals across the web.

But, if you aren’t having any luck with Slickdeals, you can make a manual price comparison. Check whether major retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target have better discounts, or search a bit deeper with websites like Woot, Rakuten, and Groupon.

Check the Product’s Price History

It’s important to understand that, even if you can’t find a better price for a product that’s on sale right now, it may hit an even lower price in the future. Sale prices fluctuate over time, and popular products (especially smarthome products) routinely jump between sale prices from week to week.

So, before buying that “discounted” smart toaster, you should look up its price history. The most popular price tracking website is camelcamelcamel. It creates price history graphs for every product on Amazon in real-time, so you can quickly check if a discount is a good deal. Yes, Amazon isn’t the only store in the world, but it routinely matches the discounts of its competitors, so it’s a good reference point for the market as a whole.

A camelcamelcamel price chart for the Amazon Echo Dot.

You can also check a product’s discount history on Slickdeals. Just search for the product, and you’ll see how much it’s sold for in the past.

If you want to take things a step further, you can set up camelcamelcamel and Slickdeals to alert you for deals and discounts on select products. You can even import your Amazon Wishlists into camelcamelcamel, so you never miss a deal.

Use a Browser Extension for Easy Deal-Checking and Coupons

Of course, jumping between websites to double-check the quality of a deal is tedious work. If you want to verify that you’re getting a good deal without digging around the internet, try some browser extensions.

We’ve put together a handy list of deal-checking and money-saving extensions for your convenience. These are Chrome extensions that also work with Edge Chromium and Opera. If you use Firefox, you should be able to find most of these on the Firefox add-on store:

  • PriceAdvanceThis is the real deal-checking extension. Before buying a product, PriceAdvance notifies you if it’s cheaper anywhere else. It also automatically applies coupons to your purchases, so you save a little extra.
  • camelcamelcamelNaturally, the camelcamelcamel extension is just a miniature version of the website. You can use it to check price history and set up deal alerts on the fly.
  • KeepaLike camelcamelcamel, Keepa tracks Amazon price history and has a handy deal alert feature. It’s worth checking out if you don’t like the camelcamelcamel interface.
  • Amazon AssistantEssentially, this extension tells you if Amazon has a better price for products on other websites. It also sends you some daily deals and allows you to track Amazon orders.
  • HoneyThis handy extension automatically applies coupon codes to all of your purchases. It also allows you to accumulate reward points, which can be exchanged for gift cards. It doesn’t track deals, but it’s good for saving money.
  • WikiBuy from Capital One: Like Honey, WikiBuy automatically applies coupons and accumulates reward points for your purchases.
  • Rakuten (Formerly EBates)Another coupon extension. This one is ideal for people that like to shop on Rakuten’s web store, as it can help you accumulate discount points for future purchases.

Just keep in mind, these extensions view your web activity, which isn’t ideal for privacy-junkies.

Now you’re all set to tackle Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or any ordinary day that you come across a potentially great deal. Just keep in mind that a good mix of browser extensions and manual deal-checking is the best way to make sure you’re getting a real deal.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »