You may already know how a VPN can increase your privacy and security, and did you know it can save you money too?
How often have you been in the situation where you bought the exact same item from the exact same retailer for a much higher price than your friend, family, or neighbor?
Perhaps you chalked it up to better timing, but it might actually have a lot to do with where you purchase your item. And by ‘where’ we mean, where your device’s unique IP address is located. Turns out, that Internet Service Providers (ISP) track and share that info with retailers and other data collectors including where you’re located, and what you’re shopping for from specific retailers. If your IP address happens to be located in a higher socioeconomic area, retailers can use that data to charge you more!
Beyond just the safety perspective, check out our top 6 ways VPN use can save you money shopping below.
How does using VPN save me Money?
1. Get a fair price by avoiding getting jacked up by your location
Without a VPN, you’re giving your ISP and advertisers your location and search results, this allows them to tailor your search results and even prices to benefit them.
For instance, if a seller knows you’re in the market for a bathing suit, it can jack up the prices on that one type of item based on your search history. Then, based on where your IP address is located, sellers can use the data gleaned from ISPs to charge you more money if you’re located in a more affluent area. While it’s great that you live in a ‘nicer’ area, it doesn’t seem fair to have to pay more for the same goods than a friend across town might. Also, it doesn’t seem fair that marketers and advertisers ‘abuse’ your need — just because you need a bathing suit doesn’t mean you should be price gouged for wanting to buy one!
Choose different IP addresses through your VPN service provider to see if you get different prices. Usually, if the price is cheaper in the area, most things will be cheaper in that area. It, however, is a best practice to check depending on the type of purchase as well. It’s always nice to be able to double-check from item to item, time to time, to get the best, fair deal.
2. Keep the price you found
So much of our activities and whereabouts are tracked by our internet usage and connectivity. I’ve definitely looked up prices of goods at my local Target only to arrive at the store to have the price go up or be significantly cheaper than what I had purchased online for pickup. While some retailers will price match your items, sometimes the price that showed on your phone or computer that’s cheaper might refresh to show the more expensive price depending on where you’re checking from.
If you choose the IP address on your cellphone via VPN, you can prevent the price from going up based on where you are checking. It’ll likely show the pricing of the IP address you chose. The other tip is to screen capture the price on your phone or computer with the pricing that suits your budget and make sure it is readily available on your phone to show to the clerk or guest services representative (if price matching is available).
3. Get access to blocked and censored e-commerce sites
If you’re traveling but know you’ll be needing a specific item when you get back but the site you usually purchase from is blocked where you’re at, you can use a VPN service provider. Or if you live in an area where favorite sites are blocked, you can still order from them by changing your IP address to a location where it is available to browse and purchase.
4. Fair deals on flights
Timing is everything when it comes to buying airline tickets for a great price. But in addition to buying it at specific times of the week, such as Tuesdays and Sundays, your location can adjust the prices you pay for flights.
Because VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN have IP addresses in 94 countries, you can choose an IP address located in less affluent country and use an exchange rate calculator to make sure the deals you’re seeing make financial sense.
5. Don’t haggle on hotel rooms
Another area where VPNs can help you save money is in purchasing hotel rooms. Hotel booking sites are notorious for using IP addresses to set pricing. Aside from booking approximately 3-4 weeks in advance, using a VPN can end up saving you lots of money on hotel rooms.
Instead of using your own IP address, which might be further away and thus indicates that you’re a tourist, use a VPN service provider to select an IP address closer to the location you want to travel to as most hotels provide lower prices to locals.
6. Get a steal on subscriptions
Some countries not only have different access levels to certain subscription services, while other countries restrict access to certain subscription services altogether. Some services have completely different pricing structures depending on which location you are logging in from.
By using a VPN, you can choose different IP addresses from different zip codes to not only access different content but completely different pricing structures. Some countries or service providers have limitations on payment types or countries of origin but you can usually purchase debit gift cards or gift cards from the vendor directly.
Is the lemon worth the squeeze: VPN for Bargain hunting?
While dynamic pricing is based on whatever information ISP and advertisers glean from any and all traces of your online activities, a VPN can help throw these entities a curveball for a change. By playing around with the IP addresses, you not only protect what you’re looking for, but it can also save you a substantial amount of money and get you the fair price you deserve.
What are the best VPN providers?
When it comes to VPNs, check out our Best VPNs for 2022 article. Our top pick is ExpressVPN because it has a strong set of features that mitigate the privacy and security issues that come with browsing online. Not only will ExpressVPN not log your IP address, but it will not store browsing history, metadata, traffic destination, or DNS queries.
- adds a layer of enhanced security
- prevents Internet service providers from monitoring your online activity.
- offers a way around geo-fencing blocks
- can help increase your connection speeds
If hiding your IP address and browsing more privately & securely is a priority for you, then ExpressVPN will be a great investment for you.
Let us know about the best deals you scored by using a VPN in the comments below.