Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tightwad WEDNESDAY: We're from the Internet and We're Here to Help

So far so good - no outages at home or school, and I was even able to upload some files that were so big that they'd previously overwhelmed our outdated upload bandwidth! In honor of this, and since folks were asking for it, AND since it was what was on my mind anyway, we'll make the Internet the focus of this week's TT (or TW, in this case).

How do you use online resources to help you save money? (Or conversely... how does the Internet derail your savings strategies?) Since I haven't beaten the fuel cost dead horse QUITE thoroughly enough, I'll start with two gas related items, but have some others to share as well.
  • There are myriad websites to help you find the cheapest gas station in a given locale. GasBuddy was quite current but its map interface isn't particularly user friendly. GasPriceWatch has a great map interface, but had dated prices in the three test areas I used (my neighborhood, where I work, and Cait's mom's neighborhood, where we'll soon be visiting). Mapquest's site really puts it in context, with national low and high prices listed at the top of the page. Their map is relatively simple to operate (with all of the Mapquest quirks you know and hate) but they don't have a lot of station data. None is perfect, but I went ahead and bookmarked GasBuddy.
  • That $60 gadget I linked to last week? It's SO primitive, compared to THIS gizmo! Again, $160 is not exactly a tightwad approach but reviews and articles I've read suggest that most people would see at least a 5% improvement in fuel economy - so it would pay for itself within a year or two for most people.
  • The best way to save money online, of course, is to shop around. You need to factor in shipping costs, but we have bought all kinds of things in bulk online (everything from OTC medicines to cereal) cheaper than we could have locally. Often the big name sites are good for this, if you know the price you need to beat.
  • Price comparison and product review sites like epinions, MySimon, and the-website-formerly-known-as-Froogle can be useful, too, although I can end up wasting a lot of time and not end up finding much of a deal.
  • Good ole Google is sometimes my best online savings assistant. I try to remember always to search for coupons and deals before buying anything online, and have sometimes come up with really good deals. (And some duds - if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.)
There are tons of other sites and ways to save money... what are your favorites?

I plan to update the post with any links you provide in the comments, and will try to do so as quickly as possible. Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

9 Comments:

  • I LOVE saving money on the Internet. Here are some of my tricks:

    Babycheapskate.com gives deals on baby/kid stuff, including a weekly round-up on diaper and formula deals. You can sign up for a coupon trading group through babycheapskate, which I have found useful.

    If you are, like myself, an avid player of the CVS game, iheartcvs.com is awesome.

    frugonomics.blogspot.com offers a variety of deals including links to free samples.

    Of course, there's craigslist. Also, our neighborhood has a fantastic listserv of parents selling/giving away kids stuff; worth checking if your neighborhood does, too!

    I am a fan of the various sites where you can take surveys for money. It's not huge income, but hey....

    By Blogger Lo, at 6:57 AM  

  • My only advice is to be careful looking at all those sites for coupons and good deals because they tempt you to spend money. Only look for coupons on things you really need and were planning to get anyway.

    By Blogger Brooke, at 1:03 PM  

  • Last year with a husband deployed, below zero temps and a 6 month old I did ALL of my christmas shopping online at Amazon. I had 25 people to buy for and they all received thoughtful and amazing gifts that I found and my total was $298 including shipping. Some items qualify for free shipping but the best part was doing a "pre shop" loading all of the items into my shopping cart and them coming back to them 2 weeks later (not too close to Christmas) and found many of them were at a lower price.

    Also, I don't buy anything online without checking out currentcodes.com for a coupon.

    By Blogger MrsSSG, at 1:47 PM  

  • I do searches for coupon codes or promotion codes to apply to alot of orders on the internet. Even 10%off is something.

    By Blogger Kimmyann, at 7:16 PM  

  • do they have freecycle where you are? it's a yahoo group (at least the san francisco and seattle ones are) and it's a listserve where you email with people who have stuff that you want (or want stuff that you have). and it can be just about anything, with the only stipulation being that it's free. it's awesome.

    By Blogger kommishonerjenny, at 1:18 AM  

  • I often check ebay when I am in the market for something. For example, I LOVE Eileen Fisher, but the clothes are SO expensive. I have bought a couple of Eileen Fisher items from ebay and gotten a good deal. I also love http://wantnot.net/.

    By OpenID eggdance, at 1:17 PM  

  • eBay--Today I received 35 pieces of clothing for $50 for my 2 yr old. You can't beat that. Some still had the tags on them. I always buy "lots" of one size at the beginning of the season. When I go to the search box, I type in "girls 3T lot." That gives me a great selection.

    overstock.com--There are some pretty good deals if there is something specific you're looking for. I like the customer reviews.

    Reading newspapers online--cheaper and nothing to accumulate on the dining room table. The trade-off is that I sometimes miss stories that would have caught my eye with the hard copy.

    By Blogger jean, at 5:54 PM  

  • I second the freecycle suggestion - I've been able to get so many things from my local group, even garage sale prices seem too high to me now, let alone retail.
    I also buy the majority of my groceries online from Azure Standard (azurestandard.com) - They have trucks that deliver around the western states, and will send orders via UPS or USPS anywhere else in the US. They can't ship everything via UPS, but their prices & selection beat my local store.
    I belong to a small local buying club that some friends started - We have our own Yahoo group to make our monthly ordering easy, and between Azure & an account with Frontier Co-Op, we can get all sorts of things for well below retail. Sometimes I also order from Amazon's grocery section - Their sale prices can be great. All-in-all, this way I manage to buy organic on a conventional budget, or better.

    By Blogger rebecca, at 4:17 AM  

  • I find the web site http://www.buyvenue.com to be a great help when I want to shop online and find best products at best prices.

    This free access site (with no advertising clutter) points to the most competitive price comparison sites and retailers, helpful product reviews, pre-owned merchandise, discounts and freebies, with lots of direct links to practical time and money saving consumer information and advice.

    You’re sure to find some valuable information. It’s worth a look!

    By Anonymous Maria, at 11:53 AM  

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