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Get the best price on Christmas gifts (and everything else!)

Thinkstock images
Thinkstock images
Wanna get even with the big high street stores this Christmas? The likes of Harvey Norman, Bond & Bond, and other big retailers have been milking our money for years, especially in the silly season when spending is up.

Now with the flick of a mouse or touch of a cell phone button we have the information at our fingertips to bargain hard with these mega stores and drive prices down.

Here’s how it works. You have a duty to yourself to pay the lowest price possible for everything you buy. Before you buy branded products, search the websites below for the cheapest site. Price comparison can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Don’t however, ever justify buying anything just because it’s cheap. It’s even cheaper to buy nothing. The great thing about price comparison websites is that they can alert you to a retailer that you’d never heard of. For example, it’s often cheapest to buy mobile phones online. When the iPhone 5 first launched, prices ranged from $1029 to $1399 for a 16mb version. That’s a $270 difference.

Here are some of my favourite price comparison websites:

PriceMe.co.nz. Want to compare the prices of appliances, electronic goods, sports equipment, and other items? PriceMe is the place to go. What’s really great about it is you don’t even need to do your research in advance. PriceMe has an iPhone and Android app. You can compare the prices on the spot. Alternative websites include PriceSpy.co.nz and Shopbot.co.nz.

Powerswitch.org.nz. This website from Consumer allows you to compare electricity and gas prices and get a better deal. An alternative website is Switchme.co.nz.

TelMe.org.nz. Another website from Consumer, TelMe is good for comparing internet, landline, mobile and TV prices. It alerted me to the fact that I’d be much better off switching. Don’t miss the Special Offers from Providers portal that directs you to the relevant pages on each provider’s website. An alternative website is InternetChoice.co.nz.

Interest.co.nz. Need a personal loan, new savings account, better term deposit? Try interest.co.nz. An alternative site is Depositrates.co.nz.

LifeDirect.co.nz. At LifeDirect you can compare life insurance prices from leading providers. Beware, however, that sometimes it pays to have an expert help you choose insurance. There are many pitfalls that could leave you penniless at claim time.

Contactlensprices.co.nz. I don’t wear contact lenses. But I’m told by friends that this website is very useful. For example when I looked the price of Air Optix Aqua soft monthly disposable contact lenses differed by $15 including postage from the cheapest to most expensive.

Webjet.co.nz. Webjet allows you to check low cost and ordinary airline prices. I also use HOT.co.nz, which is good for finding cheap prices without spending hours on each individual airline’s website.

VroomVroomVroom.co.nz. So far I haven’t found the killer rental car price comparison engine. But VroomVroomVroom at least compares the better known brands such as AVIS, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Thrifty.

Bookfinda.co.nz. The Bookfinda website compares leading New Zealand retailers with overseas book vendors such as Amazon and the Book Depository. I particularly like this search engine because it shows prices and shipping so that you can really compare apples with apples.

Lips.co.nz. Compare beer and wine prices. This site isn’t perfected yet, but might be useful if you want to find the cheapest place to buy your favourite tipple. It offers regular pricing alerts on your favourite beer and wine for a $5 per month subscription.

If you’re buying items that can be posted easily you might want to compare international prices at websites such as PriceGrabber.com.

Your say: what are your favourite price comparison websites?

Links:

How to: Guerrilla price comparison
Time to haggle hard
Save money by shopping online
Clip that coupon
Why you need life insurance

User comments
This is so true I got a brand new washing machine from Bond and Bond for $392 and the same one was selling at noel leemings and other stores for $599. I had to wait 2 days to get it in and noticed that within that time they put it up.

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