Friday, June 18, 2021

Why The Internet is Such a Useful Money Saving Tool

One of the most well known names in the past for teaching about how to save money was Amy Dacyzyn because of her Tightwad's Gazette with her subscription monthly newsletter for ways to save money. Back in those days if you wanted to learn a way to save money, it was through tips from a friend, reading books, or sharing ideas with larger audiences via newsletters such as those. 

These days, we have it so much easier. There are so many other ways to learn how to save money, and most of those rely on the internet. Here's why the internet is such a great resource that we are lucky to have to help us save money.

Saving Money Via the Internet

Let's start with the simple things. Hey, you're here, which means you know about the myriad websites such as this one where authors like myself share their tips to their readership and I can impart to you my exhaustive knowledge about how to save money. Ok that was a joke, a kidding pat on the back, but really, I also use other websites to learn other ways to save money. 
Around the house and my day to day life I generally know how to do things, but for example when traveling, like for my next month's trip to Venice, I just search the internet for frugal things to do in Venice and I get many different sites with many different ideas on how to save money there and am able to compile my own list which I then will share with you when I return. In the past, you could only ask individual friends who had been there for their knowledge or hope that someone wrote a guidebook, but now the wealth of knowledge about the world, including many ways to do things cheaply, is at your fingertips, many via blogs like this one.

Online Shopping Saves Money

Online shopping is another big one. Well, it honestly is more than one. There are so, so, so many ways that online shopping can help save you money. I'm going to break this category down into a few different subcategories or this paragraph would be extremely, extremely long (and who wants to read such a long block of text?)

First off, there are sites such as Rebaid which make getting rebates for the shopping you are anyhow already doing much more easy and at your fingertips. In the past you would have to scour the circulars for information about rebates, but these days the internet is your friend and you can find them all in one easy place.

Second, there are sites that have coupon codes for other sites. You don't need to clip these out of the circulars either. Just search the internet for sites with the search terms "coupon code store x" and you'll often successfully find an easy way to save money.

Price Comparison Is Easier Via the Net

Then price comparison via the internet is a big way that the internet enables you to save money. But even this one can be broken down into a few different categories. But let's put it this way. 

When I went shopping for clothes for my kids for my sister's wedding I tried to price compare. I really did. But when you have to go in person to stores, you can price compare within a store but price comparing between differen stores ends up becoming really challenging, not exhausting. Going back and forth between different stores to see which is cheaper is challenging even when doing so in a mall, which I did, but even then it only enables you to see the stores in that vicinity and still gives you a limited option of stores that you can compare between. And when it isn't in a mall it is even harder. 

When you are spending hours in the sun trying to go from store to store with a tired kid to try to find something, and as it is you can barely find something in the criteria you are looking for, you don't have the energy or time (and barely any ability) to price compare. Even if you could go from store to store to do so, it takes so much time and energy that it also takes away from your ability to earn money or to do other things to save money during your time. Many people will just buy whatever they can finally find after price comparing within a store, but more than that isn't doable.

With the internet, though, you can price compare from your own phone or computer, pulling up many different websites at the same time so you can compare between stores without needing to physically go from store to store. This is extra helpful when you are trying to shop with kids (especially picky ones) because you can just call them to the computer when you already have the webpages pulled up and they can make the choices within a few minutes and not needing to spend hours looking.

Even within stores on the internet you can save money more easily as most online stores these days have options to list their products in order from cheaper to most expensive, so you can decide to only look at the cheapest things, while in stores it may be harder to find which things are cheaper especially in any stores that are not grocery stores (where similar types of items are usually grouped together so you can look between them and price compare). When I shop with my children online I usually let them pick up to a certain price of something and it is much easier for them to do that when things are listed in price order.
Deal Sites
Then there are deal sites like Groupon style websites that have a compilation of different sales that you can search for by category. For example, I just pulled up Rebaid's toy section and I found that I could buy balloons for a pack of 120 balloons for only 70 cents after the rebate (which honestly ticks me off since I literally just bought balloons for 10 times that price!!! dang!)! When I go to buy things online that I need I first go through our local deal sites to see if what I need is already found there (because these dont show up on price comparison sites) and sometimes I get really lucky. 

For example, I just needed to buy a new trampoline (my old one, unfortunately, broke) and found one on one of these deal sites for cheaper than anywhere else I could buy one. Same with the bamboo fence and yard swing and hammocks I just bought. When we went on vacation as a family a year and a half ago, we wanted to go on a glass bottomed boat and found tickets on a deal site (while we were already there!) for exactly that, which made the activity we were anyhow going to do much cheaper. 

It is important, however, to keep two things in mind when shopping these types of sites. Make sure to stick to your "list" and only buy what you were already looking for, because these types of sites can be so tempting with all of their offers that they might cause you to spend money that you wouldn't have otherwise. Second, even with these types of sites make sure to price compare, both within the site, and between other sites. You don't want to be one of those people who calls for those "sale items" that are actually more expensive than similar items not on sale.
Price Comparison Websites
Price comparison websites are also wonderful. Amazon does this type of thing by combining lots of different sellers' items on their site so when you look for items you don't have to check each site individually to see what items are cheaper, what is on sale, etc. We also have some local websites that do this for my region and that is what I generally use. Aliexpress does this too.

Whenever I am looking for something and I have enough time to buy something online (since locally it takes at least a few days if not a week or more for things to arrive when you shop over the internet) I always, always, always look on price comparison websites before I buy. There really is no reason not to. It's not like price comparison in this instance involves me going from store to store in the heat with cranky tag-alongs. It takes a few minutes only and can save a lot of money because of how everything is aggregated.

Cooking Websites

These, while fun, also help save money on groceries. This way you can look for recipes using the items you have already at home, ideally purchased frugally and on sale, and don't need to buy more expensive or additional ingredients. Often I just input things like "Salad green beans tuna recipes" for example and see what comes up. But there are also websites where you put in what foods you have at home and it tells you exactly what you can make with those, using only those listed ingredients.


There are so many ways to get entertainment for free over the internet. You can get free ebooks (search Amazon for them), read fanfiction books, watch movies and music or shows over Youtube (make sure it isn't pirated stuff because that is stealing) and much more. Of course there are plenty more ideas as well, but these are the ones coming to mind now.

Communication Over the Web

Once upon a time calling outside our area code cost a lot of money so even calls from Cleveland where we lived to New York where my grandmother lived didn't happen to regularly. Fortunately, with the popularity of cell phones long-distance bills are pretty irrelevant... at least within the country. Calling overseas still costs a decent amount of money (if less than previously) if you have a plan. But things like voice over IP lines like through Google Voice allow international calls for very cheap if not totally free. Then you have WhatsApp and Facebook calls that are entirely free between phones or computers with those apps or websites. When I've gone abroad I've had times that I entirely didn't get a phone plan for while I was gone and simply used Wifi in the places where I was to be able to make calls to my family back home and to be in touch with other people.

Errands Via the Internet

This is both ease and money-saving. I rarely actually have to go to various places (or even making calls!) to do errands because I can do it all via the net. Bank? Use the internet. Electric bill, water bill, etc... use the internet. Various government office errands- through the internet. I can even sometimes have doctors' appointments through the internet. This, while mainly being convenient, also saves money by saving time to allow you to spend more time earning money or doing frugal things, and saves transportation fees such as bus fare, gas, parking, etc...

This list by far is not complete. There are even more ways to save money using the internet but there's no way on earth I can cover every last one of them. But one thing is for certain. We are extremely lucky to have the internet these days, because in addition to it simply being a fabulous tool in general, it is really the frugal person's best friend.

What ways do you use the internet to save money? What would you add to this list? If you were an adult before the internet "became a thing" what ways did you use to save money without the internet, and how did the internet affect your frugal abilities?

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