Compiled by Nina Green, posted Sept. 23, 2010
A collection of Websites for consumer reporting about saving and managing money in the weak economy:
1. Deal News — This sites slogan is “Where every day is Black Friday,” alluding to the Friday after Thanksgiving that has become something of an annual national sale of epic proportions. While it began as a site primarily focused on finding good deals on electronics and technology gadgets, the site now offers deals on everything from jewelry, to clothing, to furniture.
2. The Coupon Clippers — The practice of cutting coupons is becoming increasingly outdated. Boasting to be the nation’s largest online grocery coupon website, The Coupon Clippers provides millions of national-brand coupons. The only drawback is that the coupons are shipped from their warehouse and they all have a handling fee of between five and 15 cents.
3. Retail Me Not — With the rise of the Internet has come the rise of online shopping. Many online retail sites offer promotional codes that can save a ton of money. However, a lot of these codes are not general knowledge because the online retail sites only inform customers on their mailing lists about them. Retail Me Not collects all of the promotional codes for major online sites and publishes them for everyone to see.
4. Free Shipping — Like Retail Me Not, Free Shipping offers promotional codes for online shopping sites that offer free shipping. Users can also compare prices of products from multiple online stores or track packages.
5. Groupon — Groupon is more locally oriented than other coupon websites. The site offers one great deal each day for a local business (usually a restaurant or bar), but you can only get it if enough people sign up for it. The idea is that by showcasing one deal each day, users will discover something new in their city that they wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
6. Bargaineering — This blog, written by Jim Wang, is simply a collection of economic and financial issues. Topics range from “Economists Recommend Extending Bush Tax Cuts” to “Best Sites to Trade in Used Video Games.”
7. Wise Bread — The website’s slogan — “Living Large on a Small Budget” – is pretty self-descriptive. With a large collection of articles geared toward frugality, Wise Bread provides some hope to those struggling to stretch their dollars. The site also posts daily online deals for everything from MP3 players to cooking sets.
8. Bill Shrink — This is an extremely useful tool for those who feel they are not getting the best deal on their wireless or cable bills. The site compares what you currently pay for these services, and then finds cheaper deals for the same service from other providers. It also locates the cheapest gas prices in your immediate area and provides tools for monitoring your credit card spending and savings practices.
9. Gas Buddy — Like Bill Shrink, Gas Buddy also provides current local gas prices. However, unlike Bill Shrink, it gives the prices for Regular, Midgrade, Premium Diesel and Diesel fuel. It also provides a lot of information about gas prices and the fuel industry, including statistical data about U.S. gas prices and basic information about OPEC. Also, for those who have iPhones, there is a Gas Buddy App.
10. Fuelly — Fuelly is unlike Gas Buddy or Bill Shrink because, rather than informing users about deals, it helps promote frugality in regards to gas usage. Users can track how much gas they use and how much they spend on gas, as well as compare their gas usage to other users who drive the same cars.
11. Prosper — For those either in need of money or wanting to make money from an investment, Prosper offers peer-to-peer lending. Borrowers don’t have to go through a bank for a loan, and investors don’t have to go through middlemen. For borrowers who have good credit (a credit score of 640 or higher), this site makes borrowing easy because they can set their own rate of return, which lenders can then bid down.
12. Bankrate — Bankrate, which started in the 1970s as a printed newsletter called Bank Rate Monitor, is the “world’s leading aggregator of financial rate information.” Whether investing in a new home or building a savings account for a child’s college tuition, Bankrate gives tools and advice for every financial decision.