Thanks to inflation, prices have been on the rise for the past couple of years. In times like these, one of the best financial strategies is to find ways to save money on ordinary purchases.
An effective yet unusual strategy is to save money on subscriptions with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). If that sounds strange, it is a thing – and an unexpected benefit of having a VPN service.
We can’t take credit for this idea. It came about through an email to Jim from Noah Kagan of OKDork, so we can thank him for introducing the entire concept.
So, it is new to us and a complete revelation. Because a VPN essentially hides your identity, it’s possible to make purchases for everyday products and services from foreign countries where those items might cost less than they do in the US.
It helps that good VPN services operate out of multiple countries. It’s a complicated topic, and a bit technical, at that. But let’s plow through it anyway. As you’ll see, the savings can be substantial.
Table of Contents
- How to Save Money on Subscriptions with a VPN
- 5 Ways to Save Money with a VPN
- Which VPNs Work Best for Saving Money?
- How to Save Even More Money Buying with a VPN
- VPN FAQs
- Saving Money with a VPN: The Bottom Line
How to Save Money on Subscriptions with a VPN
Let’s first discuss how a VPN helps you to save money on subscriptions and purchases online.
A virtual private network service – VPN for short – is a subscription service that works by hiding your IP address. That means you can safely surf the web without hackers being able to track you and steal your identity and data.
The secret sauce lies in that VPNs direct your search activity through a VPN “tunnel,” which means your activity is channeled through a remote server, typically in a foreign country. For that reason, your geographic location is also obscured.
And because online retailers often set different price levels based on the user’s location, using a VPN might give you a discount.
For example, you live in the United States. But you want to purchase a service that offers lower prices to residents of India. If you subscribe to a VPN service with servers in India, you can make your purchase as a resident of India and benefit from the lower price.
In addition to lowering subscription fees, a VPN may allow you to access content unavailable in your home country.
The flip side to this is that there is some content unavailable outside of the United States (or limited to certain countries). If you’re identified as outside of the US, you may not have access to that content.
5 Ways to Save Money with a VPN
1. Airline Tickets
Like all other services, airline travel is based on supply and demand. Since demand is highest in high-income countries, airline tickets are also more expensive. You may be able to save money by booking your flights from a low-income country with lower fares.
You’ll need to do a little bit of additional work when booking flights. Start by shopping countries likely to have lower fares. To search for airfares booked from Brazil, you’ll want to conduct your search from a server in that country.
Just be aware that fee structures vary based on several factors, so you’ll need to shop between countries to find the lowest fares at any given time.
2. Hotel Bookings
The same situation with airlines may apply to hotels. There may be an even bigger advantage if you can book a hotel room from the country the hotel is located in. The hotel may lower the local population’s rates, especially in low-income countries.
You can use the same strategy for airline ticket purchases, shopping for prices using your VPN routing from a server in the country where the hotel is located.
It’s also possible that you’ll get a cheaper price if you book from a server located in a completely different country (for example, booking a hotel in a high-income country from a server in a low-income country). It’s even possible the rate will be lowest when booked from your home country. That’s why it’s mission-critical to price-check using different geographic locations.
3. Streaming Services
There are two advantages to streaming services. The first is the price advantage that may be had by initiating your subscription from a different country than the one you live in. But a second benefit is that you may get different or expanded services when the service is purchased in a different country.
For example, let’s say you live in the US and want to get content from France. By subscribing to the service using your VPN connection through a server located in France, you’ll be able to take advantage of the content offered in that country.
But there is something of a limitation regarding streaming services and VPN usage. Some streaming services have become aware of using VPNs to secure lower service fees. For that reason, they may prohibit the use of purchasing their services using a VPN.
4. Video Games
Similar to other services that can be purchased online, video game prices are frequently adjusted based on the country where they’re being sold. Once again, prices are likely less expensive in lower-income countries than in high-income ones.
Before purchasing a videogame, check the price using your regular Internet connection, then surf around using your VPN. Ensure your VPN server matches the country you’re trying to purchase. You may find significant discounts by making purchases from a low-income country.
5. Subscription Services
The use of subscription services is on the rise as the world develops new and better ways to take advantage of the power of the Internet. Online subscription services like Spotify and Office 365 have become common. And while the fees on these subscription services do tend to be relatively low, you may be able to get them even lower using a VPN.
Before purchasing any subscription service, check to see what the price will be in a low-income country. Check several, as there can be major price variations between different countries. Whether the subscription fee is charged monthly or annually, you can often save a small fortune by subscribing from a different country.
Which VPNs Work Best for Saving Money?
As VPNs become more popular – and necessary – services are popping up everywhere. But two of the best VPNs are NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
NordVPN is probably the biggest VPN provider in the world, used by 14 million consumers. The service allows you to choose from more than 5,600 servers in 59 countries and to enjoy “the fastest VPN experience in the world.”
NordVPN blocks malware, trackers, and ads and provides protection for your passwords and files. If you take advantage of their Threat Protection feature, your browsing activity will be safer, faster, and easier without your activities being tracked.
The service is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as for Android and iOS mobile devices. It also provides encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. You can secure up to six devices at once, and the service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN maintains a network of high-speed servers in 94 countries around the world. It can be used on a mobile phone, tablet, computer, or router – any device with a single subscription. And not only do they protect you on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, but also browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
The company claims the service has lightning-quick connectivity. It also comes with what is known as a “kill switch.” It’s designed to keep your data safe even if your VPN connection drops. The service also comes with split tunneling. That allows you to route some of your activity through the encrypted VPN tunnel while other devices or apps access the Internet directly.
How to Save Even More Money Buying with a VPN
You can stack your savings by using a credit card that charges no foreign transaction fee. Since you’ll be making your purchases “in a foreign country,” you may be subject to a foreign transaction fee by the card provider.
Since those fees can be as high as 3% of the transaction amount, you want to avoid this since the purpose of using a VPN (in this case) is to save money on a subscription.
Here are two credit cards that not only have no foreign transaction fees but also pack a lot of other valuable benefits:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Not only does the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer no foreign transaction fees, but it’s also loaded with bonus points rewards. For example, you can earn60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.
But that’s just the beginning. You’ll also earn 5X points on additional travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2X points on other travel purchases. If that’s not enough, you’ll also earn 3X points on dining, online grocery purchases of select streaming services, plus 1 point for each dollar spent on all other purchases.
The card also comes with an auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection, travel insurance, and transferability of points to airlines and hotels.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Not to be outdone, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another card with no foreign transaction fees and plenty of travel bonuses. That starts with earning 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account, equal to $750 in travel. You can earn unlimited 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.
This card also comes with an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, and the ability to transfer your miles to more than 15 travel loyalty programs. In addition, you’re not restricted to redeeming your miles for travel benefits alone. They can also be redeemed as a statement credit, cash back, or gift cards with your favorite merchants.
Certain countries block the use of VPNs, but the list is short. They include Russia, China, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, North Korea, Oman, Belarus, and Turkmenistan. Apart from your country of residence, you should know that some service providers have terms that exclude VPN users. Check the fine print of any vendor you are preparing to buy from to ensure this provision is not in place.
The problem with free VPN services is that they don’t offer the same protection level as the premium versions. A VPN service may be free because they track your data and sell it to vendors and other parties. That means they’re virtually ineffective, particularly if you want to save money on purchases and subscriptions.
It is possible since your connection is routed through the server in a foreign country. But if the VPN service offers split tunneling, you can choose when to use the VPN and go without it.
If you’re making purchases online, that’s the optimum time to use a VPN. After all, you’ll be providing financial information like debit or credit cards, so you’ll want to ensure your connection is safe from hackers and other third parties.
Saving Money with a VPN: The Bottom Line
With the prices rising so much, you owe it to yourself to employ creative strategies to save money. One way to do it is by using a VPN to pay for online subscriptions and purchases.
It’s also not the only benefit of having a VPN. After all, the primary purpose of a VPN is to provide you with anonymous web surfing. That will prevent your ISP and website cookies from tracking your activity and deny hackers the ability to access your information and steal your identity.
There aren’t too many services you can subscribe to that provide that many benefits.