Recession Special: 5 Great Sites to Save You Money
Laura Dec, Former Viget
We all know times are tough these days. Here are 5 well-done sites to help you save money on everything from credit cards and savings accounts, to local places and services, to even Chinese take-out.
Groupon.com presents a new deal every day (from midnight to midnight) on a wide variety of things to do, see, eat, or buy in 25 metropolitan cities (such as "Save 69% on Teeth Whitening" or "$18 for 3 Games of Bowling and Shoes"). You can also sign up to receive the deal of the day emailed to you. They boast to have saved their users over $21,000,000 through over 400,000 groupons.
The catch? What they call "Collective Buying Power." You only get the deal if enough people also buy the deal that day. For example, a groupon is posted that I'm interested in. It has a goal of 100 "buys." I can buy it, but I'll only get it if at least 99 other people also buy it.
One of my personal favorites for a number of years now, RetailMeNot is a collection of coupon codes for well known (and even not so well known) e-commerce sites (free shipping, 10% off, etc). The site is community run (meaning, coupons are shared by the site's users and each contains a % success rate based on votes from other users on whether or not the coupon worked for them). The top coupons float to the top and are color coded to show which are reliable and which aren't. In short, you SHOULD NOT purchase anything online without checking out RetailMeNot first.
The catch? Even the top coupons aren't always valid, and a number of top sites have requested user submissions be blocked.
BillShrink offers you a number of ways to save money on savings accounts, credit cards, cell phone plans, and even which gas stations near you will give you the best deal. BillShrink asks for some details on your current plan or activities and in under a minute they return to you:
- The pros and cons of your current plan/activities.
- How much it will cost you over the next 3 years, compared to alternatives they recommend for you (and how much each of those would cost you).
- How much you can save by switching to a new plan.
Their sign up process is so quick, I didn't even initially realize that I had signed up. And, after activating your account, you can save top recommendations and set up email alerts for if and when new recommendations become available.
The catch? None that I could find. I found this site super easy to use, very straightforward and to the point. They offer valuable data with the right amount of detail, and don't try to do too much.
eHealthInsurance lets you get quotes, compare plans, and apply online for affordable health insurance plans. After entering some simple details about you and your dependents, the site returns possible options, complete with their components and monthly cost. You can also see which plans would work with your existing doctors and even use a helpful "help me choose" wizard.
The catch? eHealthInsurance is a helpful tool for those shopping for a new plan, but be prepared to invest some time in researching and applying for plans.
Well known in the corporate world for ordering catering, gifts, and other similar items online, SeamlessWeb also offers personal accounts for finding nearby delivery restaurants in 14 metropolitan areas. Put in your address and you'll be returned:
- A list of all restaurants that will deliver to you, including a view of only the restaurants that are open right now.
- Details on each restaurant such as price ranges, ratings, delivery time estimates and minimum delivery cost, as well as the full menu.
The catch? It's quite addictive; you may never cook again!