Last week, I got a 65″ Hisense H8F television for $255 – 64% off retail price.

I’ve often waited a few days on Amazon and gotten the item I was shopping for at half the price.

In 2014, I flew cross country from Seattle to New York for £52.69 (about $88 USD at the time) – and the return flight was in business class. I made more back in frequent flyer miles than the cost of the flight.

How do I find these sorts of deals? Deal alerts. You can too! 

Creating Deal Alerts

There are a few sites out there that make looking for deals incredibly simple. It’s very empowering to have computers searching for your specific deals 24/7 and only contacting you for the best ones.

If you’re apprehensive that it would take too much time to learn how to set up an automated alert, or you’re not tech savvy enough, don’t worry. The process is as easy as entering your email and your desired buy price, it takes just seconds. I made a video showing how to do it step-by-step at two major websites, camelcamelcamel.com for Amazon purchases, and Slickdeals.net for everything else. Check it out below.

Bonus: Finding Flight Deals

I didn’t cover flight deals in the video because it’s more complex, so let’s talk about that. Here’s some more detail on that 2014 flight.

Seattle to JFK, roundtrip

Killer, right? How did I get this one? Well, like many of the best flight deals, credit goes to the Flyertalk.com website, a group of discussion forums for frequent fliers, and specifically the Mileage Run Deals forum. (A mileage run is a flight taken primarily to earn frequent flier miles or status, with less emphasis on the actual destination.) This forum focuses on overall deals, and there’s a special forum specific to deals in premium cabins. 

In the case of this Delta flight, there was a pricing mistake at a particular UK booking site. These happen more often than you’d think; sometimes they get honored, sometimes they don’t, but it’s usually worth a shot. In this case it was honored, and I got to share the weekend with friends across the country while earning more in miles than what I’d spent. I felt pretty lucky, then read that others booked roundtrip business class flights to Hawaii for their family of 8. 

Apart from reading these forums all the time, though, how do you find flight deals? This is where signing up for some mailing lists is key. A very popular one is theflightdeal.com. They only post flights that are 6 cents per mile or less, their definition of a good deal. There are a number of others, and you can use a customized gmail address if you want to filter them more easily. For instance, you can add a plus sign to the end of any Gmail user id, and the rest is ignored. So you can use myemailname+flights@gmail.com, they’ll arrive to your regular inbox, and you can sort or filter them out for later review more easily. 

It’s also possible to create kayak pricing alerts for a specific route, and they’ll email you when the prices drop. See example below, searching for all flights from either Boston or JFK to San Francisco for a week mid-June.

See the box on the upper right? Creating a price alert requires an account (maybe with that + Gmail address), then you’ll be notified every time the prices change until you delete it.

Conclusion: Let the computers do the work!

I hope these examples give you ideas on ways to save money and use automation to bring the deals to you, on your time and your terms. Please feel free to ask questions or comment, and thanks!

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