At a glance
- Cost: Free
- Features: Automatic coupons at checkout; price drop alert system; cash-back rewards at more than 4,000 stores, daily deals and discount shopping feed
- Advantages: Mostly automatic way to save money online; wide variety of free gift cards; supports many international sites; strong referral program
- Disadvantages: Cash back doesn’t always credit; coupon codes don’t always work; cash-back offers are not always competitive
These days, there are plenty of ways to save money when shopping online. There’s a wide variety of mobile coupon apps that make cutting costs with couponing immensely accessible. Similarly, popular browser shopping extensions like Rakuten and Capital One Shopping make it incredibly easy to earn rewards and find great deals online.
One money-saving platform that’s growing rapidly in popularity is Honey. If you want to effortlessly save money when shopping online and to earn cash-back rewards, this free browser extension is worth installing.
What Is Honey?
Honey is a free shopping extension that was founded in 2012. More recently, Honey has made headlines following PayPal’s acquisition of the company for approximately $4 billion. According to PayPal’s investor press release, Honey has more than 17 million members and helps users save more than $1 billion per year.
Honey was already a useful money-saving extension before the acquisition. Considering that Honey is PayPal’s largest acquisition to date, it’s clear there are big plans for the future of this platform that should excite any savvy online shopper.
How to Use Honey
Honey makes it incredibly easy to save money online, and you don’t have to worry about a long setup process or complications with this free extension.
1. Sign Up & Install the Honey Browser Extension
Users join Honey by connecting a Google, Facebook, or PayPal account. Alternatively, you can sign up with your email address.
Honey can currently find savings for stores in the United States, Canada, Australia, India, the United Kingdom, and websites that support international customers. This widespread coverage makes Honey worth trying for pretty much anyone who shops online.
Installing the Honey browser extension is the main way to use Honey. Currently, Honey is available on the following browsers:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
Once you install the Honey extension, you’re ready to save money during your next online shopping trip.
2. Automatically Apply Coupon Codes at Checkout
Honey’s main feature is automatically applying coupon codes before you make an online purchase. Honey also lets shoppers know if they’ve found the best price for a specific product, so you don’t have to waste precious time shopping around at multiple retailers.
The Honey extension isn’t intrusive. It simply turns orange and displays a number to indicate how many coupon codes Honey can use to try to save you money. You only need to click on the extension and hit “Apply Coupons” for Honey to get to work.
Coupon codes don’t always redeem because some codes expire or have caps on how often shoppers can use them. However, Honey’s main strength is that it saves users time and money without any extra effort. With Honey, you can score savings through coupons and also avoid the hassle of searching for coupon codes yourself.
3. Use the Price Droplist Feature
Another way to save money with the Honey browser extension is to add products to your Droplist.
This feature is similar to Capital One Shopping’s Watchlist feature and lets users monitor the price of specific products to know when they drop. Items can sit on your Droplist for up to 120 days before you have to re-add them.
This feature is only available for U.S. members. Droplist works with dozens of retailers, including:
- Best Buy
Additionally, Droplist is more robust than Capital One Shopping’s Watchlist feature. Users can add product variations, such as color or size, as parameters in their Droplist. It’s also possible to set a minimum price drop amount in your account settings that determines if Honey alerts you about a price decrease.
Droplist doesn’t factor in shipping, tax, or handling into price alerts. However, if you aren’t in a rush to make a purchase, Honey’s Droplist feature is a powerful money-saving tool that helps you shop at the right time.
Other Ways to Save With Honey
Honey isn’t just a simple way to apply coupon codes or watch for price drops. There are additional ways to save money with Honey and even to earn free gift cards when shopping online:
1. Honey Gold Rewards & Bonuses
Honey Gold is Honey’s free rewards program that pays members for shopping at more than 4,000 Honey partners. If you have the Honey browser extension installed, you’re already a member of this program.
Unlike cash-back platforms like Rakuten, which award a fixed amount of cash back, Honey Gold offers a random percentage range that varies between sites. Your browser extension notifies you when your purchase is eligible to earn Gold. To claim Gold during a purchase, you simply click the “Activate” button on the extension.
Gold appears as pending in your account within 2 to 14 days of your purchase. Purchases also remain pending for 60 days on average until merchants confirm your purchase was not returned or canceled.
Once you accumulate 1,000 Gold as a U.S. member, you can redeem a $10 gift card from a variety of stores including Amazon, Walmart, Target, and eBay.
Rewards are also available for Canadian, Australian, EU, and United Kingdom members. Depending on the currency, you may require more or less than 1,000 Gold to redeem a reward. For example, A $10 Canadian Amazon gift card costs around 800 Gold, whereas a $10 Amazon UK gift card is approximately 1,300 Gold.
U.S. members also earn additional rewards by completing a Honey Gold bonus. This is a time-sensitive welcome bonus new members can opt in to complete within 24 hours. A Honey Gold bonus pays $5 to $20 for completing a purchase at a specific retailer.
Ultimately, Honey Gold is a mostly passive way to earn cash back when you shop online and is another fantastic feature of this shopping extension.
2. Explore Deals
The Honey Explore page is another way to find savings and cash-back rewards on Honey.
The Explore page lists trending Honey partner sites where its members frequently shop. This page also highlights stores with a high number of working coupon codes and current Honey Gold rewards.
Here you can easily find “hot deals” on products that are on sale, bestsellers, and new arrivals. Using the search bar also lets you browse specific products or categories to hunt down deals. If you have a specific purchase in mind, search for it on Honey before starting your online shopping trip to save time and money.
3. Use Honey’s Referral Program
Honey Gold has a decent referral program that lets users earn Gold for inviting new members to join Honey.
The referral process is straightforward. Members invite their friends via email or social media with their unique referral code. Once your referral earns their first bit of Honey Gold, you earn 500 Gold, or $5.
Invitations never expire, and you can refer up to 200 users for a total of $1,000 in Gold. It generally takes 60 days for your referral’s Honey Gold purchase to credit, so remember to be patient with your referral earnings.
4. Amazon Best Price
Honey members can’t earn Gold by shopping on Amazon. However, Honey is still an incredible way to save money the next time you buy something there.
Honey has numerous Amazon-specific features that make it easy to find the best deals. Most notably, the Honey browser extension works as an Amazon price checker and compares prices between thousands of sellers. Honey even factors in shipping rates and Amazon Prime discounts.
Furthermore, the extension has price history data for Amazon products. Honey collects price data from every Honey member, and this feature makes it easier to spot price trends and to avoid buying at the peak price.
Finally, although you can’t earn Gold, automatic coupons at checkout and Honey’s Droplist feature still work for Amazon products. If you do most of your online shopping at Amazon, installing Honey is a wise move.
5. Honey Smart Shopping Assistant
Honey isn’t solely a shopping extension. You can download the Honey mobile app for Android or iOS devices to save even more money on online purchases.
Honey’s app works slightly differently than its browser extension. The app is a catalog of millions of items from more than 400 stores. It organizes the latest deals and trending items in a central shopping portal. The app lets you add items to a single cart even if they’re from different stores.
The app automatically applies coupon codes at checkout, rewards Gold on eligible purchases, and allows you to add items to your Droplist. The Honey app is perfect for anyone who frequently shops on their smartphone and is a nice addition to Honey’s web platform.
6. Honey Tips
A recent addition to Honey’s platform is Honey Tips, which help you make more informed buying decisions. Like Honey’s coupon codes, tips can pop up while you’re shopping to give you advice on products you’re considering purchasing. For example, if you’re on Amazon, Honey might inform you the product you’re viewing is at a historically low price and it’s the right time to buy.
This feature is only available for U.S. users. However, it’s reassuring that Honey is continuing to expand its platform to help buyers make better decisions and maximize their savings.
There are plenty of reasons why Honey is one of the most popular shopping extensions, including:
1. Mostly Automatic
Honey’s main features, like applying coupon codes at checkout or earning cash back through Honey Gold, are almost completely automatic. Other than having to click the extension to apply coupons or activate cash back, users don’t have to do anything to find or qualify for these offers.
Honey’s Droplist and explore functionality require more effort, but at the core, Honey is a near-effortless way to save money when shopping online.
2. Reward Variety
Honey Gold doesn’t allow users to cash out via PayPal. However, members can redeem Gold for a variety of gift cards. Honey Gold is growing internationally; supporting multiple currencies such as the Canadian dollar and the Euro makes it easier for people around the world to redeem rewards.
Honey also lets members donate their Gold to more than 50 charities. Regardless of your preference, Honey Gold’s reward variety is a major advantage for this platform.
3. International Savings
Websites like Capital One Shopping only work for U.S.-based retailers. By contrast, Honey works in several countries and on any website that supports international customers.
This flexibility is a major reason to install Honey in conjunction with extensions like Rakuten and Capital One Shopping. You might find better cash-back deals on Rakuten when shopping in the United States, but Honey completes the deal with automatic coupon codes and greater international coverage.
4. Strong Referral Program
Honey doesn’t have the highest paying referral program out of all shopping extensions. However, this referral program is worthwhile because it has realistic completion terms and a generous cap of $1,000 in lifetime earnings.
Honey Gold works on more than 4,000 retailers, so members you refer shouldn’t have a problem with earning Gold. If you have a friend or family member who regularly shops online, refer them to Honey to help everyone save more money.
Despite the ease of use and multiple ways to save money, Honey isn’t without some drawbacks:
1. Honey Gold Is Finicky
It’s easy to find a retailer that partners with Honey Gold. Actually earning Gold can be a bit of a different story.
Many retailers have Gold exclusions. The Honey extension highlights exclusion terms after activating a Gold offer, so be sure to read conditions carefully. Common examples of exclusions include gift card purchases or sale items, and a retailer can also mark certain categories as exclusions.
Furthermore, Honey Gold often interferes with other reward programs. It’s still a good idea to install other browser extensions like Rakuten or Capital One Shopping, but be sure to disable these extensions if you want to claim a Honey Gold offer. You can’t use multiple reward browser extensions at once.
2. Variable Cash Back
Earning 1% to 10% cash back on an eligible Gold purchase sounds great until you end up with 1%.
Random cash-back rewards are not always a good choice. Oftentimes, using a cash-back credit card alongside a website like Rakuten will earn more cash back than taking a gamble with Honey Gold.
3. Coupons Don’t Always Work
I’ve been using Honey for more than two years, and more often than not, coupon codes fail to save money at checkout. Frankly, this is just the nature of shopping extensions and coupon apps. Codes have a limited lifespan, and it’s impossible to save money every time with Honey.
This extension is still worth installing for cash-back rewards, the chance that coupons work, and for all the other nifty features Honey offers. However, users should have realistic expectations about how often coupon codes will actually find savings.
It’s also worth noting that you can usually solve this problem by using Honey’s Explore page on your web browser. This page displays online stores with active Honey Gold deals and promo codes that have been used recently. It isn’t nearly as passive as relying on the extension, but it highlights online retailers where you can score Honey Gold or a discount, so the effort might be worth it.
Honey has evolved quite a bit over the years. Automatic coupons are still the core of Honey, but features like Honey Gold, Droplist, and in-depth Amazon price data truly make this a robust platform. Plus, with the Honey Smart Shopping Assistant mobile app, it’s easy to save money when shopping on both your computer or smartphone.
Since Honey is a free shopping extension, there’s no harm in installing Honey to see how much money it saves you. Because Honey is mostly passive, it doesn’t matter if you’re a frequent online shopper or only shop occasionally.
As long as you have realistic expectations regarding coupon success rates and make an effort to look for Honey Gold deals, you can maximize the value you gain from Honey. Just remember to disable Honey if you want to use another shopping extension to gain rewards, and don’t forget to make the most out of your money by using a cash-back credit card as well.
Honey is a free and simple way to save money and time when shopping online. Although coupon codes and Honey Gold don’t always work, this platform is mostly passive and is worth keeping on your browser. Plus, features like Droplist or Honey’s mobile app make it easier to find the best prices and sales during your next shopping trip.
Honey is ideal for avid and occasional online shoppers alike due to its simplicity and automatic features. As long as you have realistic expectations regarding coupon code success rates, Honey should be a welcome addition to your arsenal of money-saving tools.