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Dozens Of Web Sites Can Help You Save Money

The Sun Sentinel (Newspaper) - 12/15/2008 by Doreen Hemlock | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Looking for the best deals? These Web sites can help you do just that

Thinking of making a New Year's resolution to save money next year?

Help may be just a click away. Dozens of Web sites offer assistance with savings, from financial advice to comparison shopping and discount coupons. Plus, e-mail alerts can keep you posted on bargains or even remind you when library books are due.

Miguel Olivares, 44, a trade specialist living in Margate, saves money with Pricegrabber.com, a site popular for comparison shopping. He types in the name of a product he wants, and the site searches multiple vendors for prices online sellers that might include Amazon.com or TigerDirect.com.

Olivares has purchased computer keyboards, hard drives and video cards with Pricegrabber, at savings he estimates at 10 percent or more compared with other online vendors. And best of all, he finds savings fast with price data all in one spot, he said.
"I probably saved $30 to $40 on the last videocard I bought, which cost under $300," said Olivares.

Chris Collie, 45, a consultant for call centers and resorts in the Caribbean, saves on leisure travel at Hotwire.com through its Limited Rate program. When he can be flexible with dates and travel times to visit friends or family, he calls up Hotwire, enters his proposed destination, the number of days he'd like to be away and lets the site come up with the cheapest options in the next month or so. He learns details of those flight like flight times and if there are stops on the way after he buys the ticket.

Collie figures Hotwire.com's Limited Rate Plan saves him about 30 percent compared with other travel sites, since it taps into excess inventory airlines are trying to unload. But there's a tradeoff: "I have to be flexible. I can't predict what the flight time will be," Collie said.

For business travel, when he wants to know flight and travel times in advance, Collie uses Hotwire's regular service or, more often, Expedia.com.

Kacie Main, 24, a public relations specialist living in Fort Lauderdale, saves using e-mail alerts and e-coupons she receives from stores and Web sites where's she shopped, from Victoria's Secret to the NFL Shop. She signs up for the alerts, "and they keep you well-informed of deals out there," she said.

She recently bought shoes and jewelry on sale at bakersshoes.com, with free shipping.

Main finds online shopping more convenient than visiting malls "It helps cut down on driving and gas." She finds fewer distractions and temptations than in the malls, so she tends to spend less.

"It's easier to target shop on-line," said Main.

Following are some sites that can help you save:

Gas prices
Gasbuddy.com and gaspricewatch.com as well as SunSentinel.com/helpteam track gas prices by area. Enter your ZIP code to find the cheapest places in the neighborhood.

Gas mileage
Fueleconomy.gov, a site linked to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Proetction Agency, offers basics on gas mileage, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings and safety for new and used cars and trucks.

Carpooling
Erideshare.com lets you find others who wish to carpool. Enter your ZIP code to find those in your area who want to share rides.

Currency exchange
Xe.com offers exchange rates and a converter to help you trade one currency for another.

Financial advice
Mymoney.gov is the U.S. government site for financial literacy and education.

Travel
Bookingbuddy.com offers a one-stop shop to search multiple Web sites for prices on flights, hotels, car rentals and package deals. Type in details about the trip you want; then click on logos of other sites to quickly search their offerings for that trip all from one place. Sites linked and searched include Expedia.com, Priceline.com, airlines and more.

Comparison shop
Dealalerter.com sends you e-mail alerts on prices of specific products at a range of stores when you set a price you're willing to pay for that item.

Coupons
Coupons.com, grocerydeals.com and planetbargains.com offer a host of coupons and discounts. A new South Florida-based Web site, SavingsonArrival.com, offers coupons that travelers can use after they arrive at select U.S. cities.

Insurance
Insurance.com, insure.com, esurance.com are among sites that offer comparative rates. The Insurance Information Institute has basics on policies at iii.org.

Technology
Techbargains.com tracks discounts on electronics. Woot.com sells a single tech item daily.

Theater tickets
Playbill.com offers theater tickets at a discount in New York, London and other cities.

Travel reviews
Tripadvisor.com lets you check travelers' reviews of hotels, cruises, restaurants and more to help you make smarter choices.

Books
Paperbackswap.com lets you sign up in a club where members send each other books through the mail. The only cost: postage.

Library items
Libraryelf.com links to libraries and sends you an e-mail reminder when your book or another item is due.