How to use the Internet to Find the Best Deals

As an Internet-savvy mom, you already know a lot of tricks on saving money.

Here are a few ideas for using the Internet to find the very best deals on those things you buy every day.

Using the Internet to Find the Best Service Providers

You can find referrals to quality service providers (and maybe even discover a special deal) by using Internet forums – or your social network on facebook and twitter – to ask for recommendations on every service provider from carpet cleaners to mortgage brokers to insurance agents.

We also recommend Angie’s List, a comprehensive and easy-to-navigate site that provides thousands of unbiased ratings and reviews of local service companies   Find reliable contractors, doctors and more when you join Angie’s List today -Momscape readers save 15% when you click this link and use the promo code LOCAL.

Using the Internet to Buy at Auction
If you’ve never been to or participated in an auction, read up on the information on eBay detailing how you can bid on products that you see up for sale. Knowing the nuances will help you strategically place your bid for the best chance of winning and at the price you need.

Many auctions start with a base price in mind. This is your reserve price. If a seller wants to specify one, the lowest price for the auctioned item will not go below that.

Items that you see in the store for $40 or $50 can be bought for a fraction of that in an eBay auction. And you can find just about anything there. Bidding and searching for items can be fun. If you already know what types of products you want to buy, then you can make short work of your search. EBay has forums as well so you can ask about certain sellers and see feedback from customers as to their reliability and product integrity.

Beyond eBay
EBay is not the only auction site on the Internet. If you are looking for jewelry, for instance, there are sites like Bidz, UBid and Overstock.com. EBay is one of the most well-known but it is not the only site to spend your money and get more for it. Specialty sites can offer a wider selection of items in the category and price range that you are looking for.

Coupon sites
It used to be that you could only find coupons in the Sunday circular but now, they are everywhere, even online. And, they are organized so that you can find what you want, fast.

Momscape has also partnered with Coupons.com to give you printable grocery coupons. After you register with coupons.com here (which is fast, easy, and free), you will be able to print just the grocery coupons you need using your home printer.

Here’s how it works:

First, click here and register. Then you’ll see the categories listed on the left of the screen along with how many coupons they are currently offering. These are coupons for national brands as well as ones specific to your local region. When you want to “clip” a coupon just click the box. Once you are done, you can print all of the coupons that you have selected at one time.

Using online coupon codes

Momscape publishes coupon codes for a mom’s favorite online stores, and our sister site Susies-Coupons.com features new coupon codes from the best online stores, updated daily on our blog, as well as our facebook and twitter feed.

Online coupon codes are similar to printable coupons but consist of a numbered and lettered code that can be entered at checkout for discounts that add up to big savings. Sometimes the coupon code is embedded directly in the link on the coupon site, so the discount appears automatically at checkout.  Redeeming coupons is easy. Just follow the instructions on the coupon site.

Sometimes a coupon code will be “stackable,” meaning that you can combine savings from multiple codes. Again, the details will be on the coupon code site or the merchant site.

If you make a habit of browsing your favorite coupon code sites, you can save hundreds of dollars on the things that you and your family needs each day – from shoes, to clothing, tools, books, school supplies, office supplies and more.

Using the Internet to Find the Best Gift Ideas and Product Reviews

Some online stores, such as Circuit City, Dell and Best Buy, essentially function as review sites. They offer customers the opportunity to write their own reviews of the products they have bought. You can also rate them according to different criteria: appearance, ease of use, value and performance for example.

Momscape.com has compiled a list of products that we love and recommend. We also have a number of articles on gift ideas for everyone on your list – from wine lovers to “cool guys” to scrapbookers.

Discount product sites

It used to be that you could buy health and beauty aids only in the actual store. Now, you can buy online. There are sites that are devoted to vitamins, beauty products, pet medications, vision products and other needs that you would normally visit a drug store for. One such site is Drugstore.com.

Drugstore.com updates coupon codes often and has regular offers for dollars off and free shipping, as well as generous free gift with purchase offers, so make sure to check for Drugstore coupons before you buy from the store.
Another place to find vitamins and supplements at a great price is Botanic Choice. Coupons for Botanic Choice are here.

Finding the Best Deals at Popular Brick-and-Mortar Store Websites
Many stores that have a brick building also has a website entity. The advantage here is shopping without leaving your home. You may not know this, but many of these stores run specials on their websites for products that they do not offer in their stores.

At some stores, such as Wal-Mart, you can use what they call the “site to store” option. Sometimes you can find a better deal online than in the actual store. The site also identifies which stores carry that particular item or participate in the “site to store” program. You can order online and then pick it up in the store, avoiding shipping costs. The cost savings go directly to you.

USING THE INTERNET FOR OFFLINE SAVINGS

Insurance quotes
There is one thing about insurance of all kinds: It is guaranteed to go up in price. When there were only local owners selling you the insurance your choices were limited. Online insurance providers and the ease of using online sites have changed the game a bit. You can compare quotes and tailor your plan to meet your needs.

Anyone who has seen the commercials for Progressive Insurance gets the idea of how typical this is. The hook at this company is that they will also do a comparison for you with similar plans at other insurance companies which eliminate the legwork. People have options and insurance companies are now competing for your business.

Many financial professionals recommend that you take a good look at your insurance coverage every 3 years. This includes life, car, home and medical – if you have the option. The Internet helps you to get the answers you need to make money-saving, intelligent decisions for you and your family without the runaround.

Here are some articles you might find helpful:

Auto Insurance FAQs
What you need to know, from nolo.com

Protecting Yourself When You Deal with Insurance Companies
Be prepared for the day when you will need to file a claim. A little know-how now could save you a lot of money later.

Saving on Travel
How often do you travel somewhere and go the same way each time? You probably didn’t think about whether it was the best way or the fastest way to make the trip. Now, you can change all that and save a few nickels.
Online map services such as MapQuest and Yahoo Maps can plot a travel route for you from your doorstep directly to your destination. These sites offer options such as “fastest route” or “most scenic.” They can also suggest points of interests along the way as well as restaurants according to pricing, hotels and gas stations. Your weekend trip may just get a little bit shorter and a little more economical.

You’ll also want to us online travel sites, which can help you save money by bundling services for your trip. Orbitz, Priceline and Travelocity can help you save when you book airfare, hotel and car rental all at one place. With Priceline, you can find deals on one or all at just about any time even for short notice trips. You can cut out the middleman and reap the savings right away.

Our sister site, Susies-Travel-Coupons.com publishes deals by destination as well as by travel provider.

Saving on Magazine Subscriptions

It is fun to read books and magazines, but they have gotten so expensive off the newsstand. Purchasing a subscription from the company saves you money but you can save even more still with sites on the Internet such as Magazines.com Find your favorite sports, cooking or gardening magazine for a fraction of the cost of your current subscription. Magazines.com offers frequent coupon codes here.

Want another option? How about a book reader? Amazon makes the Kindle and Barnes & Noble has the Nook. eReaders allow you to buy books and magazines for a fraction of the cost and store them all in one place. You can carry your entire library with you wherever you go. Our review of the Amazon Kindle is here.

At the time of this writing, Amazon had just launched a $139 wi-fi kindle.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND SAVING MONEY
Twitter and Facebook, in particular, can help you save money.

Facebook is free to join and each member has their own wall and a host of tools to get in touch with their social network of friends and business associates. You can use that social circle to share deals, sales and referrals for service providers.

Susies-Coupons posts a selection of its daily coupon codes on its Facebook page here as well as on Twitter here.

And please consider finding Momscape on Facebook and Twitter, too!

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