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article imageHow can you save money online?

By Alexander Baron     Nov 27, 2013 in Business
Few people don't need to save money in this age of manufactured austerity, but there are right ways - and wrong ways - to do it.
Just in case you didn't notice, Christmas is coming, and retailers are chasing your money. How can you ensure you get value as well as them? It is possible in this article to cover only a tiny fraction of the ways in which you can save money on-line, so here are three simple suggestions to mull over. First though, some essential DONT'S.
Rule 1: Don't listen to crackpot ideas. Actually, this is nowhere near as easy as it sounds, because many such ideas are packaged very professionally and endorsed by people who should know better but don't. If you think you can heat your living room with a couple of flower pots and a few candles, think again!
You don't need to be told this, but there are plenty of crooks on-line, and many of them are looking for people like you, so always do a bit of due diligence. There are plenty of scambusters out there including a website called Scambusters. There are also many official bodies from local trading standards right the way up to the FBI.
Assuming you get past the scammers, there are plenty of websites, noticeboards and videos out there run or made by both organisations and ordinary people that can point you in the right direction. Some of these have proven track records of many years. For example, in the UK there is Money Saving Expert Dot Com which was founded by the financial journalist Martin Lewis ten years ago.
This is a comprehensive website that boasts a weekly newsletter and a forum where you can find advice about everything from the PPI rip off to where to buy cheap sunglasses like those blokes from Texas with the long beards.
MoneySavingExpert assumes you will spend money to save money, but at times you can get away without spending anything. If you still haven't heard of Freecycle, Freegle, and LETSLink, check them out.
What might be called an amateur version of MoneySavingExpert - although a very professional one - is The Simple Dollar. As might be expected, this is an American website, and it contains a plethora of money saving tips especially for the home.
You can find many money saving videos on YouTube; the guy who runs The Simple Dollar has put together a video that shows you how to make cheap detergent. In four years it has run up over a quarter of a million hits, so somebody is clearly taking his advice. Here is some very recent advice from an American news channel on how to save money when shopping.
Finally, coupon codes. These have been around for a long time, and used judiciously they can save you a lot of money. The website called simply Coupon Codes is relatively new but is in the process of building a major hub for money saving. One of the brands with which it has already partnered is Verizon, a household name for American Internet users.
The bottom line is that shopping or buying on-line is something you can do from the comfort of your own home, so take your time, check out what's on offer and just as importantly who is offering it, especially with Christmas now less than a month away and the January sales to follow.
More about Coupon codes, Saving money, martin lewis, the simple dollar
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