Whether you're looking for a deal, refinancing your home or just trying to trim your household expenses and shave a few bucks off the grocery bill chances are one of these 20 discount websites will help you spend less of it. We've compiled this list based on a decade of experience hunting down online bargains, coupon codes, cheap travel, and living cheaply. If you like this list, do your friends a favor; send it to them and give them the gift that will help them practice the fine art of living cheaply. If you have personal experience at sites that you want to recommend, add it in the comments. The more the merrier.
Free and Cheaper Stuff
This is not a site where you get cheap stuff - the only stuff you can get here is free stuff and you’ll walk away feeling like an environmental hero. You have to register and it’s a little quirky in that you have to join a local group in your city or community. They’re really particular about which group you can join and they have very strict terms of service in terms of what you can post. Just like you’ll get stuff for free, when it’s your turn to recycle - you have to give it away for free. Everything from baby stuff to DVDs and furniture gets exchanged on FreeCycle.
Most people know about Craigslist by now, but you may not be aware of how much free stuff trades hands. All you need to do is look in the ‘Free stuff’ category under ‘For Sale’ and see whatever comes up. I’ve noticed a lot of people use this to get rid of stuff fast - probably because they’re moving. So, don’t procrastinate - if it’s what you’re looking for - make early contact. While some of the stuff isn't the greatest, there can be some great stuff just because people are moving and don't want to deal with selling or donating an item. Construction materials are another great bet as people routinely give away bricks, filler soil and even lumber.
Most people have heard of eBay, but few people know that Overstock also has auctions. While eBay remains ultra competitive due to the high number of bidders, Overstock tends to have a less competitive environment. Look for great deals from Best Buy and other major retailers when they liquidate certain product lines on Overstock.com. For more tips on how you can snag a deal on Overstock Auctions read Kids, Buy Them Great Stuff Barely Used
The mother of all auction sites. On the plus side, more stuff changes hands on eBay than all the other auction sites combined. But the intense bidding competition is a huge negative that rarely allows you to get an incredible deal on new and near new stuff. That said, deals on used stuff can still be had. Find an item that you want and watch the bidding pattern that evolves. Prices on eBay can skyrocket in the last few seconds. So be prepared to be disappointed if you see your high bid vanish off the screen at the last moment.
If you don't want to bid on items but still want a deal, head to CowBoom which is owned by Best Buy. Cowboom sells used, refurbished, and late model products. The site allows you to buy based on the product condition. Invariably, the prices are higher than what you would pay by bidding on an item but there is no wait and no uncertainty. If you are looking for consumer electronics, appliances, or computers, take the time to check out Cowboom. A word of caution is in order: to make sure you really are getting a deal, know exactly how much you would pay for the item if it was brand new.
These sites are great resources for getting coupons for specific retailers. Before you buy anything online check these guys out.
RetailMeNot.com: All retailers, coupon codes.
CouponCabin.com: All Retailers, coupon codes.
CouponMom.com: Grocery Focused, coupons and coupon codes.
SlickDeals.net: Technology focused. Great resource if you are looking for a deal that is available today on computers or consumer electronics.
TechBargains.com: Technology Focused. Current deals as well as coupon codes.
Personal Finance and Real Estate
Zillow.com's Mortgage Marketplace:
Zillow is known for it's home value engine that will let you know the estimated value of any house in your neighborhood but it's also a great resource when you start comparison shopping for a mortgage. You can specify the loan you are looking for and get a number of mortgage brokers to bid on your loan. What makes this service unique is getting real quotes and keeping your info anonymous.
Redfin: A great site for getting information on property values and recent transactions. They don't cover every area, but if they cover yours, you should definitely use it. The site's databases are frequently updated and gives you timely transaction prices for a given geographic area.
Penfed.org: PenFed is one of the largest credit unions in the country and offers some of the best rates. To get a benchmark rate for what a good loan looks like, head to their rates section where you'll find over 100 mortgage products with rates clearly listed.
BankRate.com: Rates on everything from credit cards to mortgages and CDs. The site also delivers some very good personal finance advice.
Fool.com's Credit Section: The Motley Fool is known mostly for stock investing, but they have a good section on credit. It's not updated very often but there are some really good articles there that make it worth your while.
Personal Finance Blogs:
GetRichSlowly: All about simple living and getting out of debt. The real value is in the enormous number of comments from savvy readers.
TheSimpleDollar: Financial advice for middle income earners. Focused on the frugal crowd.
GoodFinancialCents: Professional investment advice from a CFP. Great site to visit if you are doing retirement planning or investing.
The Dollar Stretcher: One of the oldest sites on the Internet for personal finance with thousands of articles from the last 15 years.
GenXFinance: Advice geared towards those in their 20s and 30s. Solid writing on a number of subjects.
There you have it. 20 of the best websites on the Web to help you live smarter and cheaper. Got more? Help your fellow readers by adding them in the comments.
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