Avoid the crowds and save money shopping online

By Cameron Huddleston
Sunday, November 29, 2009

We've tested and picked Web sites we think are easy to use and will help you save money this holiday season. Take a look:

-- Find the lowest price. Dealio (http://www.dealio.com) has a larger retail search than rival sites offer and provides coupon codes with a thumbs-up/thumbs-down review.

Pronto.com fetches prices from more than 25,000 online merchants, including eBay. PriceGrabber.com offers prices on products from nearly 13,000 merchants.

If you know exactly what you want and need just a bare-bones price-comparison site, try Google's shopping search engine, Google Product Search (formerly Froogle), at http://www.google.com/products.

-- Shop with cyber-coupons. RetailMeNot (http://www.retailmenot.com) offers coupons from more than 40,000 stores and a community where you can get tips and deal information from others. At CouponWinner.com, you can compare coupons from five retailers.

At Coupon Sherpa (http://www.couponsherpa.com), the staff tests promotions and works with merchants to ensure that the coupons work. The site also is available as an iPhone application.

-- Hot deals! Online deal sites post loads of discounted items. Our favorite is still Dealnews (http://www.dealnews.com), which has a team of deal hunters keeping their eyes on a million products at more than 2,000 online retailers. Plus, merchants and the site's visitors tip them off to bargains.

DealTaker.com lists some deals on its home page, but you'll find hundreds more listed in its forums. If you like the community atmosphere, you also can find lots of deals posted in the forums on MyBargainBuddy.com.

For electronics and tech gadgets, we like DealsOfAmerica.com, which updates hourly.

-- Save on shipping. FreeShipping.org offers free-shipping coupons for more than 1,800 stores, including Amazon.com, Target and eBay. And last-minute shoppers won't want to miss Free Shipping Day Dec. 17.

And to make sure you're getting the best bargain, look for the best price from a merchant with free shipping and a coupon to lower the cost further -- the trifecta of bargain shopping.

-- Kiplinger's Personal Finance

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