Using a VPN to Save Money Online
You may think that a VPN is just good for keeping your identity anonymous and your data safe through encryption, but a VPN could save you thousands of dollars a year in online purchases.
A VPN gives you the power to literally be anywhere in the world, at the click of a button you can change your location to the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong or Brazil.
You may wonder why that matters, but the location is everything when it comes to e-commerce.
How Does Online E-Commerce Work?
Prices are always dependent on location. If you live in a richer neighborhood you can expect to pay more.
The same is true online. In fact, it gets much deeper.
E-commerce is driven by recommendation engines, the best-known being Amazon. Where they categorize your previous purchases and make new recommendations based on what you bought. These can be quite helpful in your hour of need, but it also means that you are letting yourself become a target for marketers and advertisers to push products you don’t really need.
The same also happens with Google. You look up holidays in Mexico and for days and weeks afterward, you are followed by adverts for cheap holidays in … you guessed it, Mexico.
Without a VPN your data is a goldmine for products and services based on your browsing and buying habits.
E-commerce retailers do this through tracking:
Any website you go to will have cookies. Initially, this was to allow websites to be easily cached on your browser with your preferences and settings to make it faster next time you visit. Nowadays the internet is full of cookies, some super cookies track your activity across all websites. The two worst offenders are Facebook and Google. This allows advertisers to target you on whatever website you go to. So even if you went from looking at watches to pyjamas, you are followed by adverts for the latest watch you must have. As well as storing information you enter like your email address, physical address, date of birth and preferences on each website.
IP Address –
Your Internet Protocol (IP) address gives your physical location geographically. So, a UK site can tell you are from the US and serve you US-based ads and dollar value amounts. It also means they could charge you based on the buying preferences of other people from the same region or country.
Ever see that pop up when your website asks if it can get a fix on your location? Supposedly its to give you the nearest store, but it’s to allow stores to further refine their prices and products based on a precise physical location. You can also be tracked if you use public Wi-Fi with an unsecured connection.
ReviewVPN cannot attest to the legality, security and privacy of the applications discussed on this site. It is highly recommended that you use a VPN service while streaming or using Kodi. Currently, your IP 18.104.22.168 is visible to everyone and your Browser is being tracked by Advertisers & ISP Provider. Here are the main reasons why you must use a VPN: A VPN works be replacing your ISP-assigned IP address and creating an encrypted tunnel. We recommend the no log service offered by IPVanish. It works well on a Firestick and offers the fastest possible speeds.
YOUR INTERNET ACTIVITY IS BEING WATCHED
ReviewVPN cannot attest to the legality, security and privacy of the applications discussed on this site. It is highly recommended that you use a VPN service while streaming or using Kodi.
Currently, your IP 22.214.171.124 is visible to everyone and your Browser is being tracked by Advertisers & ISP Provider.
Here are the main reasons why you must use a VPN:
A VPN works be replacing your ISP-assigned IP address and creating an encrypted tunnel. We recommend the no log service offered by IPVanish. It works well on a Firestick and offers the fastest possible speeds.
How Can a VPN Save You Money?
A VPN can enable you to change any of the above and give you the advantage as the buyer rather than being at the mercy of the seller and their recommendation engines.
Remember often your price may be based upon what people will and won’t pay in your local area, or even your country.
Also, it’s personalized to enable e-commerce retailers to get the maximum number of sales, not give you the best price.
Using a VPN, you can change your physical IP location to different countries, encrypt your connection to prevent the transmission of unwanted data, and even get an ad blocker to tune out annoying adverts.
We’re going to show you several examples where having a VPN can save you hundreds of dollars.
Subscriptions are based within the country. Now previously you couldn’t buy a physical subscription in a country because they would need to send the product. But in the age of digital subscriptions it doesn’t matter what country you buy it in, you just want to get the cheapest price.
Microsoft Office 365 Annual Subscription
Our first price is an annual subscription for Microsoft Office 365 home, each price given has been converted to dollars and it’s the exact same product.
Sometimes using hooky software just won’t cut it anymore and you resign yourself to buying the real thing. Saving money is important particularly if you are a struggling college student.
If you used a VPN and changed your location to Vietnam, you’d save 26% more than if you bought it in the US.
Once bought you just download the product, install it on your computer and you’re good to go.
Total Saved: $26
You’re planning on flying to Paris, France with your sweetheart, and you don’t want to be travelling around on the tube. You fancy renting a nice car and travelling around the City of Love in Paris.
Again, it shouldn’t matter what country you rented the car from, you are still going to physically collect the car at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Airport: Charles de Gaulle
Car: Nissan X-Trail or Similar
Length: 9/1/19 – 9/18/19
UK: £188.69 ($228.77)
So just by booking the same car from the UK instead of in the US you’ve saved almost a third of your costs.
Again, nothing else is different. You will still have to show your driving license and payment card as proof, but there are no additional taxes to differentiate between the 2 countries, it’s literally a case of different pricing plans between these two countries.
Total Saved: $106.86
How about a flight from New York to London? Price comparison sites like Kayak will tend to serve different recommendations for “best flights” depending on the country you are from. So, we’ve chosen the exact same airline and flight time to be fair.
Flight: New York to London (Any airport)
Class: Basic Economy
Length: 9/21/19 – 9/28/19
Flight: American Airlines 8:50PM
Japan: ¥36,426 ($342)
Interestingly Italy and Germany came back with the same price as booking from the US. There were a few things to notice though.
Firstly, the best and cheapest flight recommended varied a lot from $300-400, and the airline serving that flight changed every time. Kayak’s engine will lean first towards the domestic airline of choice, whether that’s American Airline, Japan Air or any other number.
Secondly, the American Airlines flight where the price was the same would vary in ranking in terms of search massively. In fact, for Italy it was the cheapest flight, but was shown 10 spaces lower than when we tried to book it from New York in the US.
We wanted to highlight this, because sometimes you need to use your VPN to do some investigating, it’s not always going to be different in every country you go to. But in our experience, you will see a massive difference in comparing 3-4 countries in terms of ranking and cheapest prices.
The poor folks in Tokyo, Japan where we checked the flight would pay more for the exact same flight
Total Saved: $22
There was a time when you wanted a game, you had to put your shoes on and go to the nearest shopping mall and browse around for a great deal.
Today, buying games is just like anything else. Websites like Steam put thousands of games in one place meaning you never need to leave your bed.
But online gaming is yet another area where we saw price difference which were significant even for small purchases.
Game: Remnant from the Ashes
France: €39.99 ($44.32)
UK: £30.99 ($37.69)
Again, same game, no add ons and no restrictions on usage based on country of purchase. Yet we can see a different of almost 20% between the prices in 3 different countries. All with a similar socio-economic make up. With the French paying the most and yet just over the Channel, the Brits pay the least!
Money Saved: $6.63
Who fancies a trip to Vegas? Nothing like blowing off a bit of steam and indulging in the city of sin. So, let’s book ourselves a fancy 5-star hotel to enjoy our week of gambling.
Trip: Las Vegas
Dates: 09/09/19 – 9/16/19
Hotel: The Venetian resort Las Vegas
Number of people: 2
UK: £2,124 (£2603.80)
Italy: € 2,356 ($2,613)
The savings this time are again well over 20%, hotels do generally tend to be cheaper if you book them from the country that they are in. The recommendation system recognises you may not be a tourist and adjusts the prices accordingly.
Again, The Venetian was the top pick for the US and Italy but was almost at the bottom of the list for 5-star hotels when it comes to the UK, which reflects the different buying preferences from that country.
This time, the amount of money you saved could be as much as the cost of the flight ticket itself!
Money Saved: $492
Total Money Saved: $653.49
Most tier 1 VPNs like Surfshark, IPVanish, NordVPN and ExpressVPN are going to cost you at most $10 a month. A yearly subscription will be less than $60.
Investing in a VPN could return hundreds if not thousands of dollars of savings, so the next time you think you can’t afford a VPN think again.
The amount of money you save can vary wildly and for some eCommerce stores won’t make any difference. For example, we wouldn’t bother searching around on Amazon from different countries, after all where are you going to send the parcel to?
But when it comes to goods that do not need to be delivered to a physical location, then we always recommend checking a few countries from different regions, so:
- The Americas
Using these three as a benchmark you can quickly figure out whether there is money to be saved on your booking or digital product.
Tips for Using a VPN with E-Commerce
We wouldn’t be doing you justice if we didn’t share some additional tips which will go along way to helping your VPN search for the cheapest deal go a lot faster.
This is crucial. Many big e-commerce websites will cache your location and previous search. So whatever country you change it to, they will keep returning the same price.
It can seem laborious but after each search close the tab, open the history for your browser and clear all your browsing history.
Only then should you change the VPN server to another country and start your search from Google’s main site.
Don’t Let Google See Your location
Be warned if you keep hopping from country to country, Google will ask for your location. But they won’t use your IP address. They will fix onto your GPS co-ordinates completely defeating the purpose of using a VPN.
Always block Google when it asks for your location when carrying out searches.
Search From Country Specific Google
Sometimes searching through one site may appear to yield the same results. You can easily check if the currency denomination is being given in your home countries currency rather than the country you should be looking from. E.g. Your search shows up in $’s when your searching from a UK server.
Why do you need a VPN?
Note: For more information about Surfshark, please read our Surfshark Review.
How to Install Surfshark VPN on Firestick
If your Firestick still has the older interface, read this article to learn how to update it: Update Firestick Interface.
Follow our screenshots below to install the SurfShark VPN app on your Fire TV stick.
1. Go to the Home screen of your Firestick.
2. Navigate towards the Find tab. Press the Search button from the resulting dropdown.
3. Type in the keyword of SurfShark and select from the suggestions that will appear.
4. Click the official SurfShark icon from your search results.
5. Press the Download (You own it) button.
6. The SurfShark VPN installer will download on your device.
7. SurfShark VPN’s app will automatically install itself on your Fire TV stick.
8. Press the Open button after completing SurfShark VPN’s installation process.
9. Please wait for the SurfShark VPN to load its user interface.
10. You can now log in with your SurfShark VPN account credentials.
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The first time we did this it completely blew us away, and over the years we have never booked a flight, hotel or got a subscription without first checking around for prices from different countries.
In this article we only just scratched the surface of what you could use it for, and didn’t even cover the other ways you can save money with a VPN, like being able to unlock region-restricted content and watch Netflix from any country in the world and gain access to that countries media library!