The Basics

Your Savings Starter Kit

The Basics consist of a few key items to jumpstart your savings, with minimal effort. There’s some initial setup, but then you’re rolling.

An important note: to make full use of the Basics, be sure to do the bulk of your online shopping via a desktop computer. Browser extensions, a crucial part of the kit, don’t work on your phone.

The components:

  • Browser extensions, that live in your desktop browser and watch your activity for savings opportunities.
  • Daily deal watchers, that monitor current deals and direct you to the best of them, through email newsletter, social media posts, etc.
  • Price/purchase trackers, that either keep an eye on your existing purchases or what you’re planning to buy.

There’s a few other accessories I use to speed things up, though they’re not critical for savings per se. They include:

  • A password manager. Critical in general, and a big help for logging into sites as you shop. I literally do not know my passwords for almost any site, but LastPass does. There are alternatives – especially for Apple users – but this one works for me. And the price is right: free, across all platforms.
  • An ad blocker. This one is a bit more troublesome, mainly because some of the basics – notably Rakuten – don’t work with an ad blocker active. It’s not a big deal to “pause” on the shopping site of the moment, but it’s annoying. I use AdBlock (link to Chrome extension, but available for Firefox, etc).