Bargain Hunting: Where to Find the Best Deals

Tough economy or not, it’s great to find hot deals on what you want. The following websites and shops offer savings on everything from automobiles to computers and other electronics, tickets, sporting goods, and more. You may even be able to find exactly what you want for free! Why spend more than you have to? A little research, flexibility, and initiative can save you money, and saving money is always a good things. Especially if you still get what you want.

Freecycle
Freecycle is all about recycling items. It’s a non-profit organization made up of over 4,000 groups with over 6 million members around the world. Everything listed on Freecycle is free. While you are responsible for picking up the item, many great bargains can be found. Anything people are looking to get rid of can end up on Freecycle. You never know what you might find here. To check out what Freecycle has to offer, head to their site, and join a local group near you. Membership is free.

Craigslist
Craigslist is an increasingly popular place to find automobiles, boats, furniture, electronics, collectibles, tools, and a whole lot more, for a great price. While most of the items listed are for sale, there is also a free section, as well as a barter page. If you run a search and don’t find what you’re looking for, place a wanted ad and perhaps someone will respond. In addition to the items for sale, you can search for housing, jobs, services, and take part in the discussion forums. Craigslist is available throughout the United States, and parts of Canada, Asia, Europe, and other international locations.

Cabela’s Bargain Cave
You can save up to 70% on Cabela’s store items placed in the Bargain Cave. Whether it’s an inventory clearance item, a return, merchandise missing packaging, etc., Bargain Cave goodies save you tons of money. Clothing, footwear, home decor, electronics, hunting, fishing, camping, boating gear, and more can end up in the Bargain Cave. New stuff is added frequently, so you may want to subscribe to their RSS feed to get updates quickly and easily.

Computer ReFurb/Outlet Stores
Most of the major computer manufacturers have outlet stores where you can buy refurbished, discontinued, or scratch and dent computers and other electronics. They all guarantee that their refurbished models are in top- notch working condition. It’s a great way to purchase affordable electronics for home, school, or just for fun. Check the outlet stores often for good deals on what you want, as items don’t tend to last long.

Dell Outlet
The Dell Outlet store offers three types of inventory—Certified Refurbished, which includes a 1-3 year limited hardware warranty, Previously Ordered New, and Scratch and Dent. Their store includes: laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, software, and misc. electronics.

The Refurb Store
Apple’s Refurb Store offers terrific savings on computers, iPODs, and accessories. Save up to 30% on products that contain the same 1 year warranty as new purchases, all manuals and accessories, and new batteries and outer covers.

HP Outlet Store
The HP Outlet Store has a plethora of items, including computers, printers, software, cameras, mobile devices, and other accessories. Save 15-30% on items that have been thoroughly tested. For items over $200, financing is available.

Auctions
While online sites such as eBay function auction style, for really great bargains, find federal government, local government, bankruptcy, bank, and university auctions near you. Government Auctions.org has a search database and directory that can assist you. Seized property such as homes, vehicles, boats, and other assets are auctioned off by government officials at bargain prices.

Other Articles/Sites Of Interest
Bargain Hunting: 100+ Places to Find a Great Deal

Recession Survival Guide

Economic times are tough.

The national unemployment rate hit 6.5% in October, the highest rates since 1993. The states of California, Alaska, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rhode Island, and Tennessee have seen particularly high job losses. (Source: National Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Over the year, inflation has crept up to an average of 4.2%–the highest level since 1991–which has resulted in high prices for most consumer goods. Gas and food were hit particularly hard, and though both have seen some relief as of late, consumers’ wallets are still reeling.

In August, CNN reported that home foreclosure rates were up 183% from the same time the previous year, while home prices have fallen 9% over the year. (Sources: CNN; Realtor.org.)

And who can ignore the tumbling stock market, the bank bailout, the auto industry trouble, the slump in retail sales, and the number of retailers consolidating or even closing up shop?

The economic news is grim indeed. So, what can you do to survive these lean times?

Cut and Consolidate
Cut impulsive spending and consolidate your loans, are just two tips that Dumb Little Man offers. For more, read the article “Helpful Ways to Save Money in Hard Times.”

Avoid Credit Problems
Many people turn to credit cards when other sources of funding dry up. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates the problem. Zen Habits offers six steps to avoid credit problems in a bad economy.

Save Anywhere and Everywhere You Can
Having trouble finding places to save? Here are some places for you to start.

“100 Ways to Save Money in Tough Economic Times” includes these tips:

• Pack your lunch
• Eat vegetarian once a week
• Shop at Goodwill
• Trade services among friends and family members
• Carpool
• Buy in bulk
• Use the library
• Leave the kids at home when you grocery shop
• Clean with baking soda
• Sign up for energy assistance, if you qualify

A Little Research Goes a Long Way
Before leaving your home to run errands, let your fingers do some preliminary shopping. Check out these sites, and print out coupons for those goods you do need to buy. Plus, see where gas is the cheapest in your area.

Promotional Codes:
With over twenty categories of items to choose from, you can save money on clothing, groceries, electronics, pet supplies, auto parts, and much more, at retailers like Target, JC Penney, and Amazon.com. Some companies offer coupons, others offer free shipping or discount codes.

Coupons.com:
At Coupons.com, you can type in your zip code and find deals on food, heath care products, household goods, and more, in your area. To use, you must install the coupon printer, then simply select the “Clip Now” option and print the coupons you want.

Smart Source:
Smart Source deems itself the #1 Online Grocery Coupon Site. It works similar to Coupons. com, in that you must install their coupon printer to print coupons. You can also find online deals here, which offer a broader range of goods and services, and search via zip code.

Gas Buddy:
Did you know that gas prices can change by as much as 20% within a few blocks? Want to find the cheapest gas in your area or neighborhood? Head to Gas Buddy. At Gas Buddy, you select the type of fuel you want, your zip code, area or state, and the site will tell you where the lowest reported gas prices can be found. You can also view trends in prices and the latest industry news.

Other Articles You Might Find of Interest
“All-in-One Online Money Manager is Easy and Free”
“Free Site Analyzes Your Credit Cards to Save You Money”
“Save Money and Paper with a Digital Magazine Subscription”
Cut Your Water Use to Save Money…”
“Ten Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store”
“Find the Best Cell Phone Plan to Save You Money”

Other Sites That Offer Advice and Savings
The Simple Dollar
Frugal Village
Debt Proof Living
The Dollar Stretcher

Win Free Stuff
Win $1000 in free fuel from Gas Buddy.com. Contest ends December 17th. Head to GasBuddy.com for more information and to enter.

All-in-One Online Money Manager is Easy and Free

Want to track your spending habits, bank accounts, credit cards, and investments all in one place? Looking for ways to save money, reduce account fees, lower interest rates, and maximize returns on investments? Mint.com can help you do all of those things. Their online service is secure, free, takes five minutes to set up, and automatically connects to over 5,000 U.S. financial institutions that update daily. Just by logging into your Mint account, which is accessible from anywhere, you can get an up-to-date, accurate view of your financial status. If you don’t like what you see, use Mint to:

• Categorize your expenses
• Graph your expenses
• Budget
• Find ways to save
• Uncover hidden fees
• Reduce your debt

and more. Mint has received positive reviews from PCWorld, PC Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. They are VeriSign Secured, Truste Certified for privacy, and McAfee tested daily, so you know your information is safe and protected. Give them a try, and see what they can do to better your financial situation.

Mint.com