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