New online shopping website that offers discount alerts

Woman walking by windowAre you tired of missing out on discounts? I know I am. Sadly I don't get to spend every waking hour shopping and hunting for the best deals on the things I want.

But now you can entrust your bargain hunting to a new website called Stuffster.com which promises to let you know as soon as the price of the items on your wishlist fall to a price you can afford.
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How it works
Stuffster works by tracking the prices of items you have saved on a 'Stufflist'.

The site alerts you via email when any of your saved products fall to the price you've specified you'd be willing to pay for it.

The tool will track the price of any product on any website in the world and is completely free to use.

All you need to do is sign up and get the +STUFF button to sit on your toolbar. This enables you to add items to your Stufflist while browsing online.

You can organise everything you want onto Stuffboards, using common categories like Fashion or Beauty but also personalised shopping lists for things like gifts or items you need for a holiday.

Price changes
Of course we all know bargains are likely to peak around big sales periods and that's when most of us keep our eyes peeled.

But according to Keir McConomy, CEO at Stuffster, products undergo price changes more often than you might think.

He said that retailers adjust the prices of products multiple times a day based on supply, fluctuating by as much as 30%. Flash sales can also happen out of the blue and provide big savings to those lucky enough to catch them.

One example is the Samsung NX 1000 Digital Compact Camera, which dropped from £399.99 on Amazon to £329.99, only to return to the original price of £399.99 just six hours later.

The biggest price drops
To mark its launch the website has released a Fastest Fallers Index which has tracked the prices of 691 online products between December 2012 and January 2013.

Fashion, beauty and technology items saw the most significant price reductions over this period. Here are ten items that experienced the biggest drops:

Item

Online retailer

Original price

Sales price

Saving

Karen Millen Black Organza prom dress

karenmillen.com

£190

£55

£135 (71.05%)

Ted Baker Quilted Jacket

houseoffraser.co.uk

£175

£62.50

£112.50 (64.29%)

Sony HDRPJ260VE Full HD Camcorder

Currys

£799.99

£349.99

£450 (56.25%)

River Island Leather Biker Jacket

River Island

£170

£75

£95 (55.88%)

LG 47LM620T Full HD 47" LED 3D TV

Currys

£1,299.00

£649.00

£650 (50.04%)

Mulberry | The Bayswater

Net-a-porter.com

£895

£447.50

£447.50 (50.00%)

SONY HDRTD20VES Full HD 3D Camcorder

Currys

£1,699.99

£999.97

£700.02 (41.18%)

D&G Sicily embroidered tote bag

DolceGabbana.com

£1,525.00

£915

£610 (40.00%)

Blackberry PlayBook 7 " Tablet, 64 GB with Playbook Leather Journal Case

PC World

£249

£159

£90 (36.14%)

Samsung WB150F Digital Camera

Amazon

£169.99

£109.99

£60 (35.30%


Source: Stuffster.com

Prices tracked from December 24th 2012 to January 22nd 2013 on 691 items from 83 retailers.

The price drops are staggering - no doubt boosted by the January sales. But the Stuffster tool can be useful outside popular discounting periods and can help you nab a bargain for things you aren't willing to pay full price for.

Downsides
Personally I would have loved to know that the Mulberry Bayswater bag was available half price – it's an item I have hankered after for a while now. According to Stuffster the Mulberry Bayswater handbag fell from £895 to £447.50. So if you had set this bargain price you would have been alerted.

But what if you hadn't entered such a specific sum? The alerts only come through if the price you have indicated you'd be willing to pay is reached. For some this may never happen.

Stuffster told us that weekly emails keep you updated on price changes of all your products so you can keep up that way, but that won't help with a product that is discounted for a short amount of time.

Another problem is you can't compare prices; you can only watch the price on a particular website not on a particular product across retailers. Aside from Net-a-Porter, John Lewis and Selfridges also sell the Mulberry Bayswater bag. It would be good to monitor these prices as well, in case one decides to slash the price. This would mean adding each retailer to the Stufflist rather than the product itself.

Stuffster says that a price comparison service is coming soon but until then you will have to clog up your list with multiple retailers to ensure you're getting the best price.

Verdict
I think Stuffster is a handy addition to help us save money on our online shopping. But it should be used with other shopping tools like price comparison, cashback and voucher websites for full effect.

Stuffster is free to use so you won't lose anything trying it out. Give it a go and let us know how you get on.

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New online shopping website that offers discount alerts

Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.

To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.

At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.

It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.

With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.

No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.

Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.

Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.

While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.

However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
To avoid paying over the odds, it is also worth checking the price per kilo to ensure that larger 'economy' packs really are cheaper than the smaller versions.

Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.

However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.

Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.

Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.
Before signing up, it is therefore essential to check that you will make use of enough of the benefits, and that you cannot get them for less elsewhere.

Overseas money transfers or travel money purchases attract the same high rate of interest as credit card cash withdrawals.

Worse still, most credit cards – and debit cards – also charge you a foreign loading fee if you use them to make purchases while abroad.
You can, however, avoid these charges by using a Saga Platinum or Nationwide Building Society credit card.

Numbers starting 0871 cost 10p or more from a landline, while those starting 09 can cost more than £1 a minute from a mobile phone.

And the operators of these high-cost phone lines, some of which are banks, often get a cut of the call charges.
Most 09 numbers are linked to scams and should therefore be avoided at all costs, while 0871 numbers can often be bypassed by searching for an alternative local rate numbers on the saynoto0870.com.
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