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How to use a VPN to save money when shopping online

How to save money with a VPN
(Image credit: Rupixen)

Most people like to think of themselves as savvy shoppers, but relatively few take advantage of how a VPN can help you save money when buying things online. In our eyes it’s a criminally underrated VPN use, so here we’re going to show you exactly how a VPN can save you real cash.

Below, we’ll run through a couple of common cases where countless people every day could save money by simply flipping a switch on their VPN.

Buying flights online

If you’ve ever bought a flight online, you may have noticed that the price goes up after you’ve viewed it but before you’ve bought it. That’s not usually because you’ve wasted time and the tickets are going fast – it’s because the travel company wants you to buy, and is upping the ante to scare you into pulling the trigger.

This clever but somewhat unscrupulous technique is most common with flight sales and car rentals (why does going on holiday have to end up so expensive?), but can also crop up elsewhere. Essentially, the website uses cookies to track you, which means the next time you visit the website it knows exactly what you wanted last time, and knows to up the price again if you do another search.

This can potentially be avoided by using a VPN. If you fire it up before doing any searches, your identity is anonymized and subsequently you won’t have any cookies attached to your identity. If you visit the site again, you might be able to avoid an inflated price because the site doesn’t know to target you.

someone paying for a product with a credit card

(Image credit: Nathan Dumlao)

Buying online services

Digital services – software, video games, even other security tools – is another area where prices fluctuate. However, while prices in this market rarely change per user visit, they can vary wildly depending on your location.

Often companies will serve a lower price to those in poorer countries, for fairly obvious reasons. However, this isn’t always the case, and companies may also favor those in their own country. Sometimes prices seem to change entirely randomly across the globe.

So, in this case, whenever you’re buying a digital product it’s worth hopping on your VPN, relocating yourself and refreshing the page. You might be surprised at how much money you’ll save just by spending a few minutes switching servers and investigating.

What VPNs are good for saving money?

If we’re honest, most VPNs will be able to save you money online in these ways. However, it’s worth going for a provider that has a wide range of VPN servers so you can get the best selection of countries to choose from.

Our favorite VPN is ExpressVPN, with excellent apps, rock-solid privacy and tons of servers all over the world. If you want to give it a go, head over to the site to test drive our top-rated VPN – its 30-day money-back guarantee means you’ve got a whole month to see if it works for you.

However, if you really want to save money, Surfshark is the best cheap VPN on the market. At less than $2 a month on a 24-month plan it’s great value, and also carries a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test the service.

If you’ve got a holiday coming up (also check out how to access sites abroad with a VPN), either one of these VPNs could make back the subscription cost on your flights alone – and if you just want to test it for a month, you’re perfectly entitled to.

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