Here’s a Painless Way to Get Money Back for Price Changes on Your Purchases

earny phone app
Photo courtesy of Earny
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If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time keeping track of everything.

I mean, there are just way too many things for me to keep up with: bills, chores, my job, meal preparation, my friends on social media. Then there’s taking care of my family, my home, my car, my pets.

That’s why, even though I work at The Penny Hoarder, I’m not out there making a bunch of elaborate financial moves. Things like rewards programs, coupon stacking, online shopping hacks — man, I don’t have time for that — I don’t have room in my brain for that.

Then I found Earny. It requires nothing from me. I pay it no attention whatsoever.

This service gets me money back on any purchases I make online whenever there’s a price change. It works for a bunch of retailers, including Amazon, Gap, Jet, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Overstock, Target, Walmart and Zappos.

Here’s the sweetest part: All you have to do is keep your email receipts. Other than that, you do nothing. Nothing at all.

Just a personal note about me: I’m really good at doing nothing. Maybe you are, too.

Price Change? Let This Bot Negotiate on Your Behalf

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up for Earny for free here.
  • Earny scans your email archives for receipts. It finds your purchases from any of more than 50 major retailers and monitors the prices.
  • It tracks those items to find price drops. Then it takes advantage of retailers’ and credit-card companies’ little-used price-protection policies to negotiate money back on your behalf.

Again, you do nothing after you sign up. This is what you call a “set-and-forget” app. Earny is a busy little bot, and it doesn’t need your help.

It also prevents you from grinding your teeth in frustration when you buy something from Amazon and the price unexpectedly drops a day later. Aaarrrgghh, I hate that.

Call it buyer’s remorse. Post-purchase depression.

Practically nothing is more irritating than finding a recently purchased item available for a cheaper price. It’s like the opposite of finding money on the street.

Earny’s price-protection magic powers are good for 90 days after your purchase.

Theoretically, any of us could do the same thing Earny does. But let’s get real: We’re not going to. American consumers walk away from more than $50 billion in price drops each year, according to research from Mastercard.

That’s because we’re unaware of cheaper offers, or because getting one of these refunds generally requires a lot of effort and tedious paperwork.

So here’s what you do:

  1. Do your shopping online, pecking away at your laptop.
  2. Let Earny do its thing. When the app gets you a refund, it takes a 25% cut of the money it collects for you. You get an email about the refund, and the money appears on your credit card statement.
  3. Go about your business. Other things require your attention.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He loves doing nothing.