Monday, December 1, 2008

Sites that are full of good advice on how to save money and protect your financial interests.

1. 66 Ways to Save Money was developed by a working group of representatives from government agencies, consumer groups, business organizations, and educational institutions that sought to develop and publicize money-saving tips. The initiative was managed by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

2. GasBuddy: GasBuddy is actually a network of local sites (such as for the San Francisco area), each of which allows consumers to find and report high or low gas prices around town.

3. Fuelly: Fuelly is a cool little Web tool that lets you track and keep a history of your vehicle's gas mileage and compare your results with those of other drivers.

4. RetailMeNot: Find coupons (about 85,000, the site says) for thousands of stores nationwide. Many of them are sent in by site users, for others to use. It's not the only online coupon community, but it's the biggest and probably the best.

5. BillShrink: A big chunk of your money probably goes to your wireless carrier every month. BillShrink asks you for your locale, wireless usage habits, and current plan, then recommends other plans in your area that might be better deals for you. It's a small way to trim the fat, but every little bit counts.

6. Prosper: Prosper is like a dating site that brings people who want to borrow money together with people who want to lend it. Borrowers post their borrowing re­­quests, and prospective lenders bid on the interest rate at which they're willing to loan part or all of the money.

7. Kiva: Kiva follows roughly the same business model as Prosper, but adds a philanthropy aspect. The site allows you to extend a loan to a person in the third world who needs the money to get a small business off the ground, for example.

8. Bankrate: This is the largest and most complete aggregator of financial rate information that we've seen on the Web. The site constantly surveys 4800 financial institutions in all 50 states to provide real-time rates on around 300 financial instruments--mortgages, credit cards, car loans, money market accounts, and certificates of deposit--so you can find the best rates and save money.

9. Pageonce: You've accumulated numerous online accounts--everything from banking sites to Netflix to shopping sites to social networking--and they all have separate log-ins. PageOnce brings all of your accounts together in one dashboard where they're easy to access. But it does much more than store passwords: Once the site is linked to the accounts, it notifies you of any changes at them--from payment alerts to new-friend requests on Facebook.

10. AnnualCreditReport: Since 2003, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act has made it possible for individuals to obtain one free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies per year. is the only site that provides them without strings attached.

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