Friday, July 27, 2007

Ten Internet Startups Making Money By Saving You Money

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

By Trevor Conroy

It seems everyone is trying to figure out the next big Web 2.0 “killer app” that’ll fetch multi-million dollar offers from Google and the like. Often these internet startups are inexpensive to put together. All you need is a great idea and a programmer or two to bring it to life. With a new internet startup popping up every hour (if you don’t believe me, check out KillerStartups.com which is, ironically, an internet startup itself), it’s hard to weed out the garbage and identify the truly useful internet applications. But for those looking to transform the power of Web 2.0 into financial savings, here are ten internet startups your wallet will thank you for using.

  • hireahelper.comHire a Helper Gone are the days where you have to pull into a day laborer lot and load the back of your truck with workers to get your gardening done. Now you can just visit this site, enter your zip code, and get a list of people or companies willing to help you with your lawn mowing, moving, and other chores. Laborers list their rates right on the site, so you don’t have to call around to find the lowest price.
  • eversave.comEversave Find all the coupons, free samples, and special discounts you could ever want on household products and groceries at Eversave. Sign up for free and you’ll gain access to all sorts of crazy e-coupons that’ll save you money on the stuff you by everyday.
  • 3luxe.com3LUXE You know you need a new outboard engine for your boat, but you don’t want to spend hours reading reviews to find the best one. 3LUXE saves you the trouble and tells you the three best-reviewed items in hundreds of diverse categories, from bakeware to baseball bats.
  • retailmenot.comRetailMeNot.com The next time you order something–anything–online, be sure to stop by RetailMeNot.com before you hit that “Order” button. Simply put in the address for any online retailer and you’ll get a list of potential money-saving coupon codes you can use on your shopping cart. You’d normally have to sift through dozens of bargain forums or subscribe to spam-a-day mailing lists to get these codes, but RetailMeNot.com puts them all in one convenient place.
  • farecompare.comFareCompare There are lots of websites out there that say they’ll find you the cheapest airfare, but few of them make it as easy as FareCompare. Just enter where you are, where you want to fly, and (optionally) when you want to do it. FareCompare comes back with the cheapest available fares across multiple airlines. I’ve been using FareCompare since it launched and have saved hundreds on flights so far.
  • dealighted.comDealighted Hot deal forums have been around for years; but with more of them popping up every day, it’s hard to visit all of them and find out the hottest deals on crap you probably don’t need. Dealighted solves that problem by picking out the hottest of the hot deals from many hot deal sites. So now instead of visiting 27 different places to find refurbished condoms at a great price, you just have to visit one.
  • payscale.comPayScale Is your employer paying you what you deserve? Answer a series of detailed questions to find out what people like you in your area are making in your profession. Then storm into your boss’s office and demand more money! Or less if you’re already making too much. Wait, don’t do that.
  • SwarmBuy Imagine if you could get great deals on items by grabbing 30 of your friends, crowding into a store, and saying to the manager, “We’ll all by this item if you knock 20% off the price.” That’s exactly how SwarmBuy works–swarms of customers interested in an item can attract offers for discounts on the merchandise they’re seeking. Vendors benefit too by quickly spotting a large group of customers willing to buy their wares.
  • rentometer.comRentometer Us poorer folks still living in apartments and paying rent monthly will find Rentometer to be a great resource. Just tell Rentometer where you live and it’ll let you know if you’re paying too much compared to other nearby apartments. I actually used Rentometer a few months ago when my lease came up for renewal. I showed the landlord the website and that there were better deals to be had within a few blocks. He agreed to keep my rent steady for the next year.
  • budgetpulse.comBudgetPulse Even dumb people who don’t know how to count will find BudgetPulse useful for keeping track of their nickels and dimes. BudgetPulse’s gorgeous interface and stylish graphs will tell you in a minute just how broke or wasteful you really are.

Of course, who knows how long some of these startups will be around, so I’d be careful about getting too addicted to some of these.

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Trevor Conroy is a technology and finance writer from Seattle, WA. He enjoys scuba diving, cooking, and making fun of people who stood in line for 37 hours to buy an iPhone.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Get Cash (Not Gift Cards) At CoinStar Machines Without the Fee!

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: , ,

coinstar hack... no axe needed

For all you folks with jars of coins sitting around gathering dust instead of interest, here’s a guide to getting cash from a CoinStar machine fee-free.

In short:

  1. Haul your change to a CoinStar machine.
  2. When it prompts for how you’d like your payout, specify that you want an iTunes gift card. Don’t worry, you’ll end up with cash; CoinStar doesn’t charge its usual fee if you say you want a gift card.
  3. Put in your change.
  4. Verify that you want all of your money on the gift card.
  5. The trick: Unplug the CoinStar machine’s internet cable from the phone jack.

Since it can’t dial home to get a code for the gift card, it has no choice but to give you a receipt redeemable for cash at the customer service counter. And since you didn’t agree to be charged a fee, it can’t charge you one.

I’m going to try this out today and will report back on my attempt. Hopefully I won’t go to jail.

Update: CoinStar machine at the supermarket was out of order. Maybe someone beat me to it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Free $100 (or More!) Gas Cash-Back Certificate for Citi Cardholders

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

ma tank be full o gas now, hee hee

One great way to get my attention (and maybe a shoutout on this here website) is to do something that saves me money. jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity did just that today by linking to this wonderful $100 offer for Citi cardholders.

You can read all the details at Blueprint, but to summarize:

  1. Follow jim’s link (the one that says “this link”).
  2. Sign up for some Citi service you don’t need.
  3. Citi sends you a “$100 gas cash-back certificate.”
  4. You remember to cancel the service within 30 days, and you don’t get billed.

What’s a “$100 gas cash-back certificate?” I’m not quite sure, but hopefully it gives me either $100 worth of gas or $100 worth of $100.

As for the “(or More!)” in my headline, we’ll actually be getting $200 because I signed my wife up on her card, too. (Shhh, don’t tell her she’s getting $100 in gas for Christmas!)

Saturday, November 4, 2006

The Best of Black Friday Websites

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

mr happy black friday skull says hi

Are you ready to risk life and limb to snag a few deals this Black Friday? If so, you’ll need all the help you can get to formulate your attack plan. Here’s a quick guide to the best Black Friday websites on the internet.

  • FatWallet Black Friday Forum. The best deal forums on the planet have a special section devoted solely to talk about rumors and confirmed deals.
  • BFAds.net. Want Black Friday ads? They’ll probably show up here first!
  • BlackFriday.info. Pretty much the same content as BFAds.net but in a slightly sexier format.
  • Black Friday Search. Search articles by dozens of personal finance writers for the latest Black Friday news as it happens.

Just four sites? Yup, that’s all you’ll need to keep up with those ads, coupons, and deals so you can prepare yourself for the most violent shopping day of the year.

Take no prisoners–just lots of cheap electronics!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Borders Bookstore 30% Off Coupon, Expires November 5th

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics:

30 percent off me

Here’s a quick deal for all you literate readers (sorry, illiterate readers): a printable 30% off coupon to Borders. You’ll have to go to a store to use it, and you’ll need to spend at least $10. But it looks like you can even use it on sale items.

Hurry! The coupon expires Sunday, November 5th. Don’t get stuck reading the ingredients list on potato chip bags again!