It's a new year and that means it's the perfect time to make (and stick to) some life-bettering resolutions. Okay, so really any time is the perfect time to do that, but if a fresh clean January page on your calendar is what motivates you to get started on it, then that's awesome.
If you are jumping on the New Year's Resolution train, there's a good chance that one of your self-improvement promises involves getting your financial life in order. Whether you have a specific savings goal in mind or just want to finally start making a real dent in that student loan debt, there's a very cool app that can help you get there with absolutely no effort on your part (other than, you know, downloading the app): Paribus.
Once downloaded, Paribus works in the background to help you save money on purchases you've already made.
How does that magic work?
Well, it takes advantage of a long-time policy at many stores (both brick-and-mortar and online) to guarantee customers the lowest price available. Meaning, if you buy Lemonade by Beyoncé and you pay $15 for it, then it goes on sale the next week for $10, they'll refund you the difference. Great policy, right?
The catch, of course, is that taking advantage of these policies means doing research, sending the company proof, and actually asking for the lower price. That's a lot more work than most people are willing to do on a consistent basis.
This is where Paribus comes in. Paribus tracks your online purchases and the price fluxuations. If the app finds a cheaper price elsewhere, it will contact the store for you and send the rebate directly to you, which means ~free money~.
Rick Broida at CNET recently shared screenshots from his own Paribus account that give you a little insight into how the app looks. You can use it on desktop (especially handy if you're the old school type who does the bulk of their online shopping on a computer) or mobile.
What's the catch?
There are a couple of "downsides" to using Paribus. The first is that you sacrifice some privacy (in order to work its magic, the app needs access to your email and credit card info—although it promises that it only looks at receipts in users' email accounts). The second is that Paribus takes a percentage of all of money it finds for you. When you sign up, the default is 25%, but you can lower that by referring friends to the service. If you sign up enough friends, your percentage will eventually go down to zero.
Yes, 25% sounds like a lot, but if you're the kind of person who will get zero percent of the rebates if left to handle it on your own, then 75% is a big improvement.
How much can you really save?
Depending on how much you spend online and where you shop, potentially a LOT.
In Spring of 2016, Paribus reported getting users between 5 and 15% back on most purchases, according to Life Hacker. If you do the bulk of your shopping online or get a significant refund on a high-priced purchase, Paribus could end up saving you quite a bit.
To try Paribus for yourself, sign up here and download the app to get started.