Honey wants to save you money while you shop online, but is this free internet browser extension worth your time and effort?
That’s what I set out to determine for Team Clark when I started researching the performance of this popular money-saving widget.
I spent some time using, researching and reading up on the Honey extension. In this article I will:
- Run through the basics of what the Honey extension is and how it works
- Give a first-hand account of a new-user experience
- Break down what some others are saying about Honey
- Help decide if it is worth adding to your browser
Let’s get to it:
How the Honey Extension Works
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably heard that the Honey extension offers a way to save money. But how?
Well, it’s actually pretty neat. If you’re using one of the following internet browsers, Honey has a free extension available for you:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Edge
If you’re not familiar with “browser extensions,” they’re basically small software applications that add to the functionality of your browser. Think of it as a customized add-on to your browsing experience.
In this case, the add-on is built to survey your online purchases in real time to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. Honey searches the web for coupon codes and discounts that can be applied to a purchase as you go through the checkout process.
Here’s a quick video from Honey that has a good rundown of how the extension works:
Now that you have a basic understanding of how Honey works, here are a few things that could make it even more useful in your life:
Honey Gold Rewards Program
Beyond saving you money at checkout, Honey also offers the opportunity to earn rewards.
Many actions you take after signing up for an account, like making a purchase or referring a friend, earn you “Honey Gold” rewards points. You can redeem those points for gift cards you can use at many major online retailers.
Here’s a screenshot that shows some of the retail partners where you can use Honey Gold:
Honey offers up to 500 points of Honey Gold per referral you make, meaning you could earn a $10 gift card by referring as few as two friends.
The cap on these rewards is 200 referrals, meaning you could earn up to $1,000 in gift card rewards by spreading the word about the service.
Connecting to Your Amazon Account
You can connect your Amazon account to your Honey account to unlock additional free perks. A few that may get your attention:
- Honey Droplist, which allows you to tag an Amazon item to be monitored for potential drops in price.
- Trend charts that show the pricing of Amazon items over periods of time to project potential price drops.
- Honey will automatically sort through multiple listings on the same product to find the cheapest seller on Amazon.
- Honey will send you an email or app notification when there’s a price drop on items you’re watching.
Find Honey on Your Phone
Setting up Honey on your computer browser is simple, but Honey also has an app that you can download for your phone.
Right now, it is only available for Apple users via the App Store. The Google Play Store indicates that an Android-based app is in the works, but was not yet available at the time this article was published.
PayPal acquired Honey in late 2019. This has opened up collaborative opportunities with popular payment process apps PayPal and Venmo (which PayPal also owns).
Under PayPal’s direction, the extension projects that it will be able to “build products faster, connect with more merchants, and, most importantly, help people save money on a massive scale.”
You can now sign up for the Honey extension through your PayPal account, and we can expect further integration with the PayPal family of products in the months ahead.
My Experience With the Honey Extension
I came into this project with no preconceived notions about the Honey extension. I have used the Rakuten Ebates platform, so that was my baseline knowledge on this type of extension.
In order to give Honey a completely fair shot, I decided to pick a product and shop around for the best deal — you know, like any good online consumer. Only this time, I was going to do it with the aid of the Honey extension running in my browser’s background.
Today’s product of choice was the PlayStation 4 game MLB The Show 19. A friend recently told me about a price drop on that video game.
The new price on this product was supposedly $29.99. That’s a nice little discount from the original $59.99 ask.
My friend didn’t give me the details on how to get the game at that price, so I felt this was the perfect opportunity to see if the Honey extension could help me:
- Quickly find the product at that price.
- Find an even better deal through coupon codes.
Quickly Find the Product at That Price
Normally, I would begin my pursuit of an online purchase with a quick search through Google Shopping for some comparative pricing across the internet.
But I wanted to give the Honey extension first crack at making a good impression, so I started my search through my new Honey account.
As you can see from my Honey search results, the top two results suggested options for purchasing the correct title. That’s a start, albeit a pretty limited one.
One offer was from Target for $39.49, but the other was from Walmart for a lower-than-anticipated $27.99. That’s an early win for Honey.
Trying For Better Deal Through Coupon Codes
The Honey extension is not shy about touting its ability to “work in the background” by scouring the internet for coupon codes, so I decided to put it to the test on MLB The Show 19.
For this portion of the test drive, I went outside of the Honey website to conduct a search for the game. I used popular online video game retailers Best Buy and Game Stop to see if Honey could help me make a purchase there.
The product was listed at $29.99 on each website. (It’s worth noting that neither of these deals showed up on the search performed on Honey earlier in the article.)
I went through the motions of purchasing the product on each website to get a glimpse at what Honey might offer.
With Best Buy, Honey offered some hope that it was going to snag a great deal. It alerted me that there were coupon codes available during the checkout process:
I clicked “Apply Coupons” and waited for what I hoped would be some Honey magic, but I was left disappointed with the end result:
That was more than it offered me with Game Stop, though. Though the popular video game retailer had a promo code box featured prominently on the checkout screen, Honey was not able to offer any assistance in that particular instance.
Instead, the extension prompted me to chase reward points for my purchase:
That’s a nice consolation, I guess, but not the discount I was hoping to find.
What Others Are Saying About the Honey Extension
My initial use of Honey, which included more than the video game product sample above, left me without a major discount. I sought out some reviews from others to see if their experiences were more positive.
The numbers are actually pretty staggering.
With more than 138,000 users weighing in, Honey has a sterling 4.8 stars out of 5 on Google.
Google user Rick Hageman turned in a 2019 review that likely sets a better expectation for what it’s like to use the Honey extension over a longer period of time:
Honey has a 4.6 star out of 5 rating after more than 2,500 ratings on Firefox.
But at least one Firefox user review hinted at some frustration regarding changes with the extension:
Even this complaint ends with the statement that Honey is “still worth having.” Overall, the user feedback seems to be overwhelmingly positive for Honey.
Is the Honey Extension Worth It?
The trade-off is pretty simple.
In exchange for extensive access to your online shopping and web browsing data, Honey offers you assistance in finding the very best prices on products you purchase online.
It also rewards users through the Honey Gold program, which offers gift cards and other discount opportunities for completing acts such as referring friends to the service.
It’s a low-effort way to make sure you’re not missing out on a better deal for your purchase. And it’s free. Even if it misses the mark, there’s no financial harm.
To me, that makes it pretty hard to complain. I’ll be continuing with the Honey extension on my browser and recommend you try it as well.