The Four Web Sites That Directly Save Me The Most Money … And Some Thoughts On Other Online Shopping Sites

Who says web surfing can’t directly save you money? First of all, here are five websites I use on a very frequent basis that have directly saved me significant money.

Remember the Milk!Remember The Milk
http://www.rememberthemilk.com

I wrote ecstatically about this site before, but the same still holds true: I use it to manage my grocery list, among other things. I just add items to Remember the Milk whenever I think of it, then when I’m out at the store, I fire up the mobile version of the site and there’s my shopping list right on my cell phone. This makes it incredibly easy to just follow the grocery list and get out of the store without spending extra money.

Coupons.com
http://www.coupons.com

This is basically the equivalent of printing money. When you have your shopping list ready, just visit this site and scroll through the pile of available coupons. Print the ones that match what’s on your list – most of them won’t, but I usually find one or two that do. I also like to visit the website of the grocery store I’m about to visit to pick up even more coupons. Quite often, five minutes of web surfing in this fashion can save me another $5 on a grocery store visit. No need to worry about clipping coupons at all; just print the ones you actually can use out before you go to the store.

FatWallet
http://www.fatwallet.com/

If you’re about to make a larger purchase, stop by FatWallet before dropping the cash. The site is basically a collection of deals on all kinds of products from various vendors, from computers to housewares. I looked at FatWallet just before buying my laptop and after about three minutes of looking around, I found a Dell code that knocked $300 off of the price. I’ve found other deals there, too, just by looking around a bit before making a planned larger purchase.

PaperBackSwap
http://www.paperbackswap.com/

PaperBackSwap is another site I’ve waxed ecstatic about in the past, but it still holds true: it’s an incredibly cheap way to get books in the mail at home. Basically, for every book you don’t want any more that you’re willing to ship via media mail to someone else who wants it (you’re matched up at the site), you can request any of the million-plus books there to be shipped to you for free.

What about other online sites?
Many people use such sites as Priceline.com and Shopping.com for online comparison shopping, and I agree that you can sometimes find deals by using them. However, I almost always find that the prices are slightly inflated at these types of sites. For example, I was recently able to find a very nice price for an airline ticket online, and it would have been quite easy to just click and order it. However, I just directly called the airline, told them the price that I could get online, and asked them if they could directly beat it. They did almost immediately by about $20.

In short, don’t believe in online comparison shoppers as the be-all-end-all of saving money. Although the prices are better than what you might find off the shelf, quite often a little more legwork can save you a little bit more than that. If you’re going to book a flight, get a hotel room, or other such things online, take an extra minute to call up the airline or hotel. Tell them the price you can get online and ask if they can directly beat it. Quite often, they will; by cutting out the middleman, you save and the airline or hotel might be making an extra dollar or two as well.

The same is true for comparison shopping. I’ve often found that once I locate the best price on a comparison shopping site, if I go to that specific site and enter directly, I can find the same item for the same price – or often cheaper.

Remember, comparison shopping sites are a tool to help you save money; they are rarely the ultimate answer themselves.

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  1. mitchell says:

    Here are two pages I use:
    http://www.swaptree.com – its in closed Beta right now, but it essentially allows you to trade your books/CDs/DVDs/video games for similar stuff of approximate value.
    http://dealspl.us – community deal/coupon/etc. webpage, where the community decides what stuff is worthwhile. also, the site gives away free stuff on a daily basis (i’ve won a ipod shuffle, movie tickets, and amazon gift certificates from them).

  2. Tyler says:

    I also like Jellyfish.com and e-bates.com both cash back sites. They are usually only a small % but if your buying something anyways why not? Slickdeals.net is great for cheap stuff and freebies. I also found airfarewatchdog.com the other day. I haven’t used it much but the prices I found were pretty competitive.

  3. Sean says:

    currentcodes.com will often save you a few bucks before you go shopping online.

  4. Boz says:

    You missed out on the all-time best money-saving website: Slickdeals.net. Better than Fatwallet. Better than Ben’s Bargains. Better than Techbargains. Freeafterrebate.info comes close, but Slickdeals always posts the best deals on the net.

  5. James says:

    http://www.farecast.com/ is another good airfare tracking site. It aggregates data on a bunch of airfares for the user’s flight and predicts based on trends whether the prices will go up or down.

  6. Madelaine Gogol says:

    http://www.lala.com is good for trading your CDs similar to the paperbacks swap. 1.75 per cd and some money goes to the artist, so there’s less ethical qualms when compared with downloading illegally.

  7. Viriatha says:

    Amazing, thanks! I’ll be sure to tell everyone I know about the Book Swap.

  8. KMull says:

    I’ve got to give some props to Paperbackswap.com. I went to college a year or two behind the guy who created the site. He did a presentation in one of my entrepreneur classes when the site was in its infancy and doubling every week.

  9. R says:

    If you buy alot of new books, CDs, DVDs or games, check out deepdiscount.com – they don’t have everything, but they have quite a bit. Very good prices, frequent sales and always free shipping on everything.

  10. Dottie says:

    http://www.abusaki.com is also a very good one. I have always loved shopping online and with coupon codes or free shiiping offers so I created this website to share with my friends and family, now it has so many merchants and we update it daily. Hope it helps you to save money when shopping like it helps me.

  11. Nick says:

    Check out:

    http://www.searchmydeal.com/

    This tool is indispensable if you frequently use slickdeals or fatwallet.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Don’t forget Go Nico Fish! (gonicofish.com). It’s a site that has everything, from coupons to comparison shopping — all neatly organized and kept up to date.

  13. hank says:

    http://www.dealalive.com is a very good website that automatically grabs the hot deals from slickdeals,fatwallet and dealsea. It also provide powerful search and rss. Looking for hot deals, look no further:)

  14. Jen says:

    I like GoNicoFish.com for deals, coupon and coupon codes, too. It isn’t cluttered with a lot of irrelevant gooble-e-gook. And, the discount links actually work.

    I also use PriceGrabber and Shopping.com for price comparisons.

  15. Heather says:

    I love your site, but cannot for the life of me figure out why you promote paperback swap. I listed 10 books and immediatly had the four most expensive books “claimed immediatly”. I suspect that silly newbies like me list books that can be sold on Amazon and veterans snap them up to resell.

    Paperback swap charges you a 50 cent fee for putting money onto your account through Paypall so that you can mail packages without leaving your home and then charges you another fee for printing the postage and getting a confirmation.

    Suddenly with the fees and the mailing expenses I’m out almost ten dollars and can then request one book.

    It seems to me that buying books for a penny on Amazon and then payng the shipping fee is much more economical. You click a button and for the same price get a book without the financial obligation to spend money sending out books. If you want you can sell your books on Amazon without paying fees like you do to PS.

    Paperback Swap is genius as a business model. They make money with their fees, their UPS hook up and then with Amazon the listing for each book.

    Kudos to PS, but this is in no way a money saving proposition.

    Trent, for the first time I’m really sorry I took your advice.

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