Sites, tools, and tips for saving money

by David Spark on February 7, 2009

The economy is hitting everyone hard. And while we all fight for money, often chasing the same dollars, there’s one thing we can all collaborate on, and that’s saving money. Here are a few recommended sites, tools, and tips for saving money.

Be a gourmet for a budget – While the top site for recipes is epicurious, some blogs are going out of their way to deliver you the best dinners on a budget. I recommend you check out Frugal Cuisine, and just launched last week, the Broke Ass Gourmet, which promises that all its recipes for two cost less than $20.

Know when to refinance your mortgage – Finance rates are dropping, or they were. They just bounced back up. But there’s talk of lobbying the government to drop them down to 4% to stimulate the economy. And when the bank rate hits that rock bottom point, it’s definitely time to refinance. Just follow Bankrate.com to see up to the minute mortgage rates.

Gadgets that save money – Simple Dollar has put together a great list of the 25 gadgets that will save you money. For each gadget they give you the cost savings it offers and the time it will take for you to break even on your investment. Love the advice about getting the game “Dance, Dance, Revolution” to replace your cardio workout. Assuming $25/month gym membership fee, they calculate you’ll break even in 8 months.

Manage your money – There was a time people managed all their finances through Quicken. You can still use Quicken which has a free Web based version now, or you could use Mint to watch all your financial accounts so you can see what the status is of all your holdings.

Watch prices of products – Interested in some new product, but you just don’t want to pay the current price? Put it on a watch list at Price Protectr and you’ll get an alert when the price drops. Similarly, for air travel, you can use the service Yapta, which also offers price protection. If you buy a ticket through Yapta, it’ll alert you if the ticket price drops and you can get money back on the difference.

Be a Craigslist power user and power seller – Lifehacker has put together a great Craigslist guide for users and for sellers. Follow their tips to find the best deals and to make the best sales.

There’s almost always a coupon – My wife showed me that just before you buy any product online, to check to see if there are any available online coupons. You can almost always inevitably find at least a 10% discount for whatever you’re trying to buy at most major online retail outlets. Start by looking at Fat Wallet and RetailMeNot. You might also want to make a call out to your friends on Twitter. You’ll never know what they might have for you. Read my tale of how I saved $150 with Twitter.

This news item is for the Spark Minute week of 2/9/09 which can be heard daily on Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco, CA.

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