No matter what the year ahead brings, it's always a good idea to save money whenever you can. From providing online discount codes to helping you save money when you're buying a new car, these websites will help you get more bang for your buck.
There are plenty of coupon aggregators out there, but the simplicity of RetailMeNot is hard to beat. There's no cumbersome registration process to navigate through. Visitors simply type in the name of the online merchant that they want a coupon code for and -- boom -- there it is.
As a true Web 2.0 site, the coupon codes are user-submitted, and folks report back on whether the discount was successful or not, which helps the best, most reliable, offers bubble up to the top. So keep RetailMeNot in mind the next time you're in the checkout process of an online merchant. If there's a blank box waiting for a coupon code, go out there and fetch one. And if you're at a physical store, use their smartphone app to pull up in-store coupons to present to the cashier to scan.
There's a reason that priceline.com (PCLN) announced in November that it would be buying Kayak Software (KYAK) in a $1.8 billion deal. "Search one and done" is Kayak.com's tagline, and that's about right. Instead of heading to various travel portals or checking out what every individual airline, hotel, or car rental agency is offering for direct bookers, you can just head over to Kayak, which aggregates all of the offerings.
It's not perfect. Shoppers can occasionally get better deals through the priceline.com bidding process or daily-deals specials. However, Kayak's mobile app --which has been downloaded 20 million times -- is a great way to make sure that you're not overpaying on your next getaway.
The Internet makes it easy to buy a car these days, and there are plenty of great websites, including Cars.com, CarsDirect, and AutoTrader, to get you closer to the keys of your next car. However, if you're set on just popping up at a local showroom and striking a deal then and there, give CarWoo! a shot first.
Registration is required, but then the site lets you anonymously request online price quotes from as many local dealers as you want. Dealerships won't be calling you with their high-pressure sales tactics or sending you unwanted emails. They don't receive any of your personal information. All of their correspondence is sent to your anonymous CarWoo! inbox.
At the very least, it gives you an idea of the deals floating around -- and that will give you negotiating leverage if you decide to stick to old-school haggling.
Loyalty shopping websites are a great way to milk some extra money out of your purchases. MyPoints has been around since the 1990s, and at one time was even owned by United Airlines. It's part of United Online (UNTD) these days.
Registered users earn points through answering surveys or making purchases through some of the largest online retailers. The points can then be redeemed for gift cards. If you're going to be making purchases through Nike.com or Sears.com, why not go through the My Points commission-generating links that result in reward points?
Daily-deals sites are getting a bad rap. Yes, Groupon (GRPN) has seen its stock shed more than 75 percent of its value since going public last year. And the country's second-largest daily-deals website -- LivingSocial -- just went through a round of layoffs.
The business model may not be perfect, but that doesn't make the deals any less tantalizing. Getting 50 percent or more off on restaurant outings, spa treatments, and other local offerings is pretty sweet.
You don't want to be the person that goes on a Groupon buying spree, hoarding vouchers that you'll never use. But in moderation -- and when the deal is right -- Groupon is a great way to save money.