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ShopSmart reveals seven web sites that can save you thousands

Posted Tuesday, November 25, 2008

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Yonkers, NY – The Web is supposed to make shopping simple. Click, click, click and before you know it, that sweater, bag, or box of T-bones is at your doorstep. When it works, it’s like magic but, when it doesn’t, you can end up surfing endlessly. The November 2008 issue of ShopSmart, from the publisher of Consumer Reports, reveals seven online shopping sites that will help you save thousands and find the real deals fast.

“Lots of sites claim to make shopping easier. In fact, there are more than two dozen price-comparison search engines alone,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief, ShopSmart. “We scoured the Web to come up with this short list of sites you can count on for great deals every time you shop. Bookmark them before you buy another thing!”

ShopSmart’s Seven Sites for Nabbing Bargains

  1. For User Reviews: Buzzillions.com
    This up-and-comer has user reviews on everything from cars and electronics to lower-ticket items like cosmetics, clothing and shoes to help you find the best products and avoid the worst. Unlike rival Epinions.com, this site offers a broad and ever-changing list of keywords to click on, based on user reviews, for searching.
    Tip: Sort by lowest ratings first to get the scoop on products to avoid, or Google the name of the product and “complaints” to weed out poor products.
  2. For Money Back: Ebates.com
    With this site, the savings keep piling up even after you’ve checked out. You can sign in and shop at 900 participating merchants. After you check out, Ebates.com credits your account with a rebate, which can be as high as 26 percent, though most are in the 1 to 4 percent range. The site also lets you donate your rebate to charity.
    Tip: Click on the “daily double” tab. For that day, rebates from a selected retailer are doubled.
  3. Shipping Deals: Freeshipping.org
    This site helps you avoid nasty surprises at checkout. Click on a product category such as “coffee and tea” or “women’s apparel” and scroll down the list to see minimum purchases for free shipping at more than 800 major retailer sites. You can also search by store or about-to-expire offers.
    Tip: Check out the site’s blog, which alerts you to changes in stores’ policies and new free-shipping offers.
  4. Freebies: Heyitsfree.net
    Heyitsfree is a blog that was started by 25-year-old Ryan Eubanks who scours the Web daily to find offers that are truly worth the bother and posts them on his nicely designed site.
    Tip: In addition to scanning the daily blog, click on the product categories that interest you. Also check out links to other free sites.
  5. Bargain Prices: Pricegrabber.com
    This site makes it easy to compare the prices of whatever products you’re shopping for. Unlike many other price-comparison sites, Pricegrabber.com lets you calculate the total cost of an item, including shipping and tax. Seller ratings, which can be sorted by highest to lowest or by most recent, are also helpful.
    Tip: Click on the name of the product you want, then click on “reviews and ratings” and then “merchant ratings.” Use the “sort by” toolbar to get retailers with the highest ratings first.
  6. Coupon Codes: Retailmenot.com
    Lots of sites aggregate hundreds of coupon codes that you can plug in at retailer Web sites to get discounts. To find them, simply Google a retailer’s name and “coupon” or “promotion,” and you’ll turn up dozens. But many of the codes are expired or invalid. Retailmenot.com helps you find codes that actually work, based on input from shoppers who have used them.
    Tip: Click on the comments section for a code and you’ll see users’ tips for getting additional money off. Also, combine a free-shipping code with a “percentage off total order” code.
  7. Sale Alerts: Shopittome.com
    Who has time to click around the Web looking for sales? This site does the grunt work for you. Sign up, click on your favorite brands, and then click on the kind of stuff you’re looking for. The site will send you an e-email alert daily, twice a week, or weekly with sale alerts, including coupon codes.
    Tip: Sign up for e-mail delivery on Fridays, when most online retailers mark down clothing.
About ShopSmart magazine:
Launched in Fall 2006 by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, ShopSmart draws upon Consumer Reports’ celebrated tradition of accepting no advertisements and providing unbiased product reviews. The magazine features product reviews, shopping tips on how to get the most out of products and “best of the best” lists. ShopSmart is ideal for busy shoppers who place a premium on time. ShopSmart has a newsstand price of $4.99 and is available nationwide at major retailers including Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Borders, Kroger, Safeway and Publix.
 
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