I was surprised recently to find out that several regular readers of The Simple Dollar were completely unaware of Froogle, Google’s comparative shopping search engine. It’s such a powerful tool for finding good and reputable deals that I wrote up a brief tour of the site, including a clear example, so that you can see how powerful this free tool really is.
First thing, pop open a new window with Froogle in it. This way, you can use Froogle yourself while following along with my example. You’ll immediately notice that the homepage of Froogle is clean, open, and very similar to the front page of Google itself. You’re immediately drawn to the search blank, so type in a product you’re interested in. For this example, I’m doing some video game shopping for my nephew, so type in Madden NFL 07 Playstation 2 in the search field.
You’ll immediately see a results page with a ton of options along the top; we’ll get back to these in a minute. The first thing to look at is the extensive listing of matching items that fills up the main part of the page. Right above this, in the upper right on the green bar, is an option for different sorting mechanisms for the results. By default, they’re sorted by relevance, but I often quickly switch this to “sort by price: low to high.” Give it a try.
Quickly, I realize that there is a flood of results here, so I add some criteria using the abundance of options along the top section. I don’t want to pay more than $40 for it, so I choose the “Under $40″ option, which quickly eliminates some results. I also click on “4 Stars and Up” so that I know that I’m buying from a reputable individual. With just a few clicks, I’ve pared the results down to just four matches, where I can see that I can get the game for as low as $37. From here, I can click on the item itself or just jot down the cost that I can get it at using Froogle and use it when shopping elsewhere. I saw it on the shelf recently at Target for $44.99, and it’s also available at Amazon.com for $39.99. Is the reliability and trustworthiness of Amazon worth the extra $3, especially if the shipping is free? Thirty seconds with Froogle brought this money-saving option to my attention.
Froogle is also a good way to find retailers for niche items. For example, I discovered a wonderful site with great customer response and prices on fragrances (Fragrance Shop, for those interested) and I’ll often take my business there if purchasing a new cologne or a bottle of perfume for my wife.
In short, it’s a highly valuable free tool for saving a good deal of money on the internet. I would estimate that Froogle has saved me $50 in the past year alone, and at least $20 this Christmas season so far.