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Click Your Way To Savings Where To Go To Cash In Online

Charlotte Observer.com (Website) - 12/21/2008 by Doreen Hemlock (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun-Sentinel
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 remind you when library books are due.

Miguel Olivares, 44, a trade specialist living in Margate, Fla., 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 video card 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 flights – like departure and arrival 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 trade-off: “I have to be flexible. I can't predict what the flight time will be,” Collie said.

Kacie Main, 24, a public relations specialist in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., saves using e-mail alerts and e-coupons from stores and Web sites where she shops. “They keep you well-informed of deals out there,” she said.

She recently bought shoes and jewelry on sale at bakersshoes.com.

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.