TechBite: 5 Net Tricks to Save You Money

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By Steve Bass

Frugal? Thrifty? No, Cheap!
"You’re a bargain hunter," one of my more polite friends says. My wife’s more to the point: She calls me a cheapskate. I like being frugal, but what do I know? Call me whatever you want (you will anyway), I don’t like paying retail and I’m always looking for a deal, especially when shopping online.

The Internet gives me the chance to comparison shop, see how shipping figures into the price, look over specifications, and feel confident I’ve found the best buy. Here are some of the sites I use.

You can pick up a decent amount of background info on an assortment of activities and projects at WhatItCosts. Some of it’s fluffy — what it costs to become a stuntman or to buy a Diane Von Furstenberg dress. Other topics are worth a look: buying a hearing aid or contact lenses, hiring a landscape architect, or learning how to fly fish. [Thanks, Mike.]

The showstopper when I’m shopping online is the cost of shipping. I’ll find something that looks like a bargain, say, a $3 chew bone for Popcorn, TechBite’s HR specialist. When I get to the checkout page, I discover shipping’s $11. I want to smack the site’s owner on the back of the head. That’s why I’ve added FreeShipping to my shopping arsenal. Sure, not everything’s a good match and I often get the same info if I go directly to the site. Yet I got lucky recently when I spotted dog.com’s $5 flat-rate shipping and ended up placing a $25 order. (And yes, prices were actually lower than competitors on the Water Hole water dish I was looking for.)

More great tips from Steve Bass

TechBite’s columnist Steve Bass and PC World Contributing Editor publishes a free weekly newsletter with commentary on the technology products he loves, the strategies for getting the most out of them,and the gotchas that can cause computing misery. Sign up for the newsletter here

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7 thoughts on “TechBite: 5 Net Tricks to Save You Money

  1. Yeah, PCP do this with all their contributor articles now, it’s a pain in the a>$e – you click the link in the newsletter to open the PCP page, start reading, get halfway through then have to click another link to open another page then scan read through that page to find where you read up to so you can read the rest.

    It’s getting tiresome now and I think the unsubscribe link is gonna get a visit, it’s easier just to bookmark the contributors own pages and cut out the middleman. It feels like PCPitstop is losing more and more useful information by the day, it’ll soon be nothing more than an ad site. Shame.

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