What is Variable Pricing?

What is Variable Pricing?


How do you feel when you paid full price for an item then you find out that your friend bought the same item online for a much cheaper price? Does this bother you? It is hard to be frugal if you can’t buy for less.

What is Variable Pricing?



What happens if you want to buy more of the same product later in the day but when you go back to the store you find the price is has risen?

If you haven’t figured it out yet many retailers have been finding ways to move their products through variable pricing. Variable pricing simply means that not everyone pays the same price for the same item.

The prices are no longer fixed. Prices may vary based on age, geography, how many you buy, or whether you’ve bought in the past.

Surprise, surprise.

What Stores are Utilizing This Variable Pricing?

Amazon changes their price every 10 minutes on average.

Wal-mart changes their prices roughly 50,000 times a month.

Sears has also started implementing price changes about 25% of its products during the holiday season. (Statistics provided by Econsultancy).

Other online sites that consistently adjust their pricing and display different product offers, include Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone Inc, and Home Depot Inc.

Apple has been using variable pricing for a couple of years by offering a higher price for iTunes new songs. More recently apple has devised a change in their price tier details, which offer really low price options for apps in selected countries only.

In fact this variable pricing has become so prevalent the the White House has issued a 21-page report on the subject.

Just as Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN give different results on the same search terms, the cookies that are deposited onto your computer when visiting websites may have a detrimental effect when searching for the best price on an item.

A Simple Test

Did you know that you can disguise yourself when searching online for something? It is called “Incognito” and every Internet browser has this feature built in.


Everyday you surf the Internet you are constantly receiving and depositing “cookies”. These cookies help the web browser identify favorite places, passwords, etc. At the same time it is writing a history of every place you ever visited, what you did at that site, how long you stayed, etc.

The search engines figured it out a long time ago as they were trying to improve their search engines results to give the user a pleasurable experience. They started collecting all this data on every computer.

This data is used to send you the results of searches that correspond to what your history suggests that you are searching for.

What I did was do a simple test. This test would tell me if the data the search engine was collecting about me was accurate and to what extent.

I first went to a couple of online stores to check prices. Then I clicked the “incognito” switch to disguise myself and check on the same items at the same stores to see if I was being quoted the lowest possible price.

My test did not reveal any huge spread in pricing. There were some differences in the pricing of the products I checked. However I have heard this price swing from lower to higher pricing can happen and does and can be substantial.

Now for the best news!

Where to Find the Best Deals

It is widely known that Amazon doesn’t always show you the best price match on a particular item. You may have to scroll trough several pages before finding the best price, or best deal.

The people who use the largest online store are not even dimly aware that there are many, many items within Amazon that are highly discounted, sometimes up to 99% off normal list price.

Most people are unaware that there are a few “Amazon Discount Finder” websites available which make finding these golden nuggets of bargains possible.

There are actually two websites to check with to see if Amazon is really giving the best possible price on your search results.

The “Amazon Discount Finder” at TopHotDeal.com and “The Amazing Bargain Store” at AmazingBargainStore.com. All of these websites claim to be able to find the hidden bargains, and each display the results in a different way.

It is sometimes necessary to use these types of sites to insure yourself of getting the best deals. If Amazon, depending on where you live or what time of day you check their price, you want to insure yourself of getting the best price at the moment.

I am curious if someone can find a better deal by using the “golden nugget” finder sites above. If you can, I want to hear from you and your results.

To be frugal you always want to pay the lowest price on every item you buy. This is only natural. It is a shame that the biggest online retailer doesn’t always list the best price. That is why we must stay prudent in striving to reach a debt-free status.

I am always tweaking my approach to finding the best possible price to things I normally buy. That is why I had to show everyone the two “golden nugget” finders to help you in your bargain shopping. I hope this is beneficial to you.

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day Holiday!

2 thoughts on “What is Variable Pricing?”

  1. Hey Ken, I learn something new every time I stop by your website and today is no different.
    I consider myself a savvy consumer, but I never knew about “Amazon Discount Finder”. You’ve just given me one of the “DOH!” moments.
    I just bookmarked both of those links you provided in my Shopping bookmarks.

    1. Phil, as you know I believe in sharing any information I get to help others in their struggles in becoming debt-free and building wealth. If there is a secret sauce in developing frugal ways to save money, I will discover, uncover and reveal what this sauce may be. If I can benefit from my discoveries, surely you can also. Thank you for visiting and good fortune to you!

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