Options are the name of the game in the modern world. Thanks to capitalism and the marketing opportunities brought about by the internet. Consumers have an enormous range of choices when it comes to any given aspect of life – appliances, hobbies, insurance, vehicles, homes – there is no end to the categories of things you can spend money on. In order to help people deal with these choices, the comparison site has been a widely-used tool to help you decide what’s best, both financially and in terms of quality.
However, with these sites comes a very simple question – do they actually help? Well, different people will get different amounts of mileage out of them, but it’s a question worth examining in greater detail.
Flights and Travel
As much as globalism and the internet have made overseas travel a viable holiday option for many people, it can still be an enormous expense that threatens to ruin the plans that you’ve made. Comparison sites can then be used for flights and hotels that can give you an idea of what it’s going to cost you at a minimum. Tools such as Skyscanner are regularly pointed towards for this, and you might find this to be a more than a useful tool to have at your disposal for times such as these. Planning a trip on a budget means that you need to know exactly how much you’re able to save for the contents of the trip itself, and maximizing that amount could be something that leads you to feel more relaxed about your time away – comfortable in the knowledge that you haven’t spent every last penny on simply getting to your destination.
The biggest thing to be aware of when using services such as Skyscanner is simply that while the site itself might be plenty reliable, you should still conduct independent research into the airlines and hotels that end up being recommended due to their price. Their quality cannot be guaranteed, and when you’re shooting for the cheapest of something, there might often be a reason as to why they’re offering these prices. That’s not to say you should always ignore the cheapest option, simply that an inquisitive and curious mind might serve you well, and getting to the point where you’re fully confident in your choice might again work in your favor when it comes to feeling relaxed about the time you spend away.
When the Objective is Fun
For topics such as flights and travel, comparison sites can be incredibly useful at delivering you an option that objectively fits more effectively within your budget. However, the topics you pursue through these kinds of sites might not always have such clear-cut results. If you’re looking for a comparison between gambling websites, for example, your objective is simply to find the best one – the one that can allow you to have the most fun within whichever parameters you measure that by (such as which games are available, for example). In this case, comparison sites might be more useful for the fact that they accumulate several of your options in one place, meaning that you can peruse and sample each option at your own leisure and deepen your understanding of what you’re looking for and which candidate best ticks those boxes. Of course, there will be other qualities that make a less subjective impact, such as UI design or the kinds of security measures in place, but the fact that trying out any of these sites isn’t as big a commitment as booking a flight, for example, you can jump in and out as you see fit.
In this sense, while comparison websites are certainly helpful for allowing you to access a wider array of venues that you might have had knowledge of without them, the condition is that you understand the subjective nature of some qualities. A comparison site might place one such gambling site over another, for example, but taking the time to look at what this has been placed higher in can illuminate how relevant this ranking is for you and your own preferences. Online casinos could be considered to be under the umbrella of video games, and as such, the ever-present discussion around video game review scores is worth mentioning here, as following a verdict without scrutiny regarding whether or not you might have simply different tastes to the reviewer could lead you to miss out on something you might enjoy.
The Many Types of Insurance
Insurance seems to spring up all the time, surrounding any given purchase, and while sometimes it might simply be an optional extra that means you pay more as a part of your monthly phone contract, other times it will be more mandatory, substantial, and important. Your car insurance will be a prime example of this, and it’s one of those factors that can begin to make owning and driving a car feel like more of an expense than it’s worth, especially in times of financial hardship. From this perspective, it doesn’t take much imagination to see where a comparison site would be beneficial. Having a way of examining all of your options and then making a balanced decision as to which ones are off-the-cards and which are viable options can make the overwhelming prospect of choosing a provider feel like a much more manageable goal. Of course, it might not be as simple as merely opting for the cheapest option. While this might be tempting, many of the low-cost car insurance providers do so in return for the implementation of a black box that provides them with information about your driving habits and allows them to make amendments accordingly. Some people will see this as no problem at all, but it might infringe on the freedom that other people want to feel when driving.
There are other types of insurance that crop up too, though, home insurance, life insurance, and pet insurance, all of these different examples can make living expensive, but it can also be very difficult to find the time to deduce which option to go for in any given scenario. Life is short, and after you’ve spent all the time working that you need to, you want to be able to find the answers to these queries in as short a time frame as possible, which is why comparison sites can be so useful here. This is plain to see, as well, as certain comparison sites such as Compare the Market and GoCompare have seen widespread recognition throughout the UK – though part of that might have to do with advertising campaigns that got stuck within the public consciousness. In any case, having to deal with matters such as insurance can be daunting and overwhelming, so having a way of distilling it into something more manageable might be exactly what you need to feel less stressed about something that can be over and done before you know it.
Bills and Providers
Living expenses don’t stop at insurance. There are so many other things that you will need to make arrangements for when setting up your own place. Internet, electricity (and gas potentially), and water will all need to be sorted at some point before you can start living comfortably. Some of these are made somewhat nebulous by the fact that the prices never really feel set in stone. Sometimes they increase and are brought back down again by a phone call within which you say you’ll look for a provider elsewhere if the prices aren’t reduced. However, it’s not like you can argue these back down to nothing, and comparison sites can give you a general estimation of what you can realistically expect to end up paying. Certain factors play a role in making this more difficult for you as well, such as how global issues can cause prices of electricity to increase, for example, as you might have noticed recently.
With these factors in mind, the need for comparison sites might seem somewhat reduced, and you might prefer to simply stick to what you’ve been with before unless you notice a serious problem in your previous association with them. However, circumstances can change. You might find that you have more money at your disposal than you used to have, meaning that the prospect of paying more for better internet, for example, is a change that you think would improve your life for the better. In this sense, comparison sites can once again become useful in the pursuit of knowledge, as they can point you towards options that you didn’t know you had and give you an idea of how much it’ll cost you. This might be another situation where using these sites as a way to see how you can spend less on something doesn’t lead you to a black-and-white answer. Instead, the cheapest options might come with certain drawbacks that you’d rather not commit to.
In Your Hands
Whether or not comparison sites can help you ultimately depend on your situation, but there isn’t a very good chance that they’ll do anything negatively for you either. With that in mind, regardless of what you’re specifically looking to compare, there’s little harm in taking a look at what comparison sites can tell you. They might challenge your knowledge, or they might provide you with a clear answer, but either result could be constructive.
By James Daniels
Bio: James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.