There’s no denying how expensive things are right now. Get as many years as possible out of the things that cost a ton to replace. Tap or click for 10 mistakes killing your appliances.
Some wallet drains are more subtle. Leaving your tech plugged in all the time can cost you a decent amount of money. Tap or click here for the most significant energy suckers.
When it comes to holiday gifting, we're all looking for a bargain. Instead of jumping from site to site and hoping you spot the best deal, let tech do the work for you.
1. An easy way to find coupons
You only have to search Google for “coupon codes” once to see how annoying and time-consuming it can be to find one that actually works. Honey is a browser extension that finds coupon codes for 30,000-plus online retailers. It works with Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, and Opera.
Honey connects to coupon databases and checks them against expiration dates and current promotions. When a matching coupon is found, it is automatically applied during checkout. I use it myself and have saved a ton over the years.
2. Shop smarter on Amazon
If you shop on Amazon a lot, you likely have a Prime account. Here are some of my favorite perks included with the subscription. Either way, here are three quick ways to save.
• When you’re shopping, look for a coupon checkbox near the item’s price. If you click, a virtual coupon will be applied.
• Select a later shipping date to get credit toward future orders or media at checkout. When you select a delivery date, you’ll see any available incentives for no-rush delivery.
• Amazon Warehouse sells items returned or slightly used at deep discounts. You can use your Prime benefits for free shipping, and there’s a good return policy. Tap or click here to check out some wares from Amazon Warehouse.
I have more tech smarts to share. Tap or click for even more ways to save on Amazon.
3. Sign up for their app or email list
Chances are, your favorite store probably has an app of its own. You may find a few sales or promotional discounts you won’t hear about anywhere else, along with coupons or offers for loyal shoppers.
The same goes for signing up for your favorite shop’s email newsletter or following them on social media.
While you’re logging in to Facebook or Twitter, do yourself a social and check out this quick guide: 5 social media do’s and don'ts to protect your privacy and security.
4. Use a cash-back app
There are lots of apps out there that will pay you for what you’re already buying. Some pay out in gift cards you can spend anywhere, and others in points or specific credit toward future purchases.
A popular option is Ibotta, which offers cash back in store and online for purchases from retailers and travel sites like Home Depot, Best Buy, Walmart, Kohl’s, Hotels.com and Priceline.
You can shop with the Ibotta browser extension or app for online purchases. Tap or click here for direct download links. To withdraw your accrued savings, it must be greater than $20. You can also transfer money to your PayPal account or a gift card purchased through the Ibotta app.
5. Set a Google alert
Google Alerts allows you to track keywords across the internet and alert you when they are mentioned. This can come in handy if you have your eye on something specific. For example, you might set one up to track “AirPods sale.” You’ll get an alert in your inbox whenever that's mentioned.
• Head to Google.com/alerts and log in.
• Choose keywords to track, then choose Show options.
• Select how often you want to receive alerts, sources, and more.
• Select Create Alert to finish ups.
Alerts are a great free tool from Google. My favorite, though, is Google Voice. Tap or click here for ways a free number from Google makes life easier.
6. Track prices to see if that deal is worth it
Apps and extensions that pull coupon codes are great, but CamelCamelCamel goes a step further. It tracks prices on Amazon over time, so you can see if that advertised special is worth it.
Let’s say you’ve had your eye on expensive noise-canceling headphones. You can use the CamelCamelCamel website or browser extension to see how the price has fluctuated. That way, you’re not paying more than they might go on sale for later.
Keep your tech-know going
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
In this 30-minute podcast, Meta is in steep decline. Is this the beginning of the end for Facebook? Plus, all the changes at Twitter and a look at its newest competitor Mastodon. And a trick to find the best seat on a plane, get reminders from your smart assistant, and how to do a free background check.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: From cash-back apps to coupons, how to save money on holiday shopping