June 21, 2017

Overwhelmed by (Deal) Options

I love to save money. I’ll sign up for loyalty cards, price compare, and track prices for months before making a purchase, even on relatively small ticket items. Usually it’s a thrill. Lately it’s been exhausting. The problem I’m having is there are just too many different ways to shave off a few dollars these days, it gets to be nearly impossible to calculate all the different possibilities to be sure I’m getting the absolute rock bottom prices. I have the kind of personality that gets really irritated at myself if I find out I overpaid for something, even by just a few dollars.

As an example I used to love Target’s Cartwheel app. Scan an item and you might get a coupon for that item, or a comparable item. For a while 20% or 30% off seemed to be the norm. What’s not to love? As it’s grown in popularity they’ve stopped putting up signs advertising some of the bigger deals. That means I have to remember to scan everything in my cart or I might miss a deal rather than just rely on the signs to warn me of deals I might miss. I’ve forgotten and discovered coupons I could have used after returning home from the shopping trip.

Another example is the Amazon lightening deals. In years past there were fewer deals, but the percentage off was more noticeable. Scrolling through the deals was manageable. These days I filter by just two or three categories and it still takes forever to go through them all and see if any are good for me. I’ve actually stopped looking at Lightening deals during Black Friday because they just weren’t worth it for me.

I’m finding deal hunting exhausting, and quite frankly time is something that is short supply these days and about to become even rarer. I know I talked about putting together an app that would automated the process of deal hunting. Considering the amount of time I waste already trying to find the best deal, and how irritated I get at myself when I don’t get the absolute best deal, it may not be a bad idea.

So far I’ve not found another app that does all I want. Apply coupons automatically? For the most part. Price compare between major retailers? Yes, but not all and not always reliably and with no easy way to specify customer specific coupons and loyalty rewards. Let you specify perfectly acceptable substitutes? Definitely not.

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