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How to Surf for the Real Deal

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nov13homespunweb.jpgBy Nicole Paitsel

RISMEDIA, Nov. 13, 2008-(MCT)-ShopSmart, a Consumer Reports publication, has compiled a list of seven websites to help you skip the surfing and get to the real deals quickly. Their picks, which appear in this month’s issue, are:

This user-review site has more than 3 million consumer entries on everything from electronics to shoes. ShopSmart likes that this site offers a broad and changing list of keywords to click on for searching. The magazine also suggests sorting your search by the lowest ratings first to get the scoop on what not to buy.

After registering your e-mail address, you can shop at more than 900 retailers. After you check out, the site credits your account with a rebate, which can be as high as 26%, although most are in the 1% to 4% range. ShopSmart suggests clicking on the “Daily Double” tab, where rebates for one retailer are doubled each day.

Choose a product category or a specific store to get the lowdown on free shipping offers. Most have minimum purchase amounts.

This blog was started by Ryan Eubanks, who scours the Web daily to find free offers. You can search by product category, or check out a long list of other freebie sites.

There are more than two dozen price comparison engines, but ShopSmart liked this one for its ability to calculate the total cost of an item, including shipping and tax.

Many sites gather online coupons, but weeding through expired or invalid codes takes time. ShopSmart says the codes on this site are reliable, and liked the comments section that lets users share their money-saving tips.

This site is for the true shopaholic. After choosing from a list of clothing, shoe and accessory brands, entering your sizes and registering your e-mail address, you’ll receive a daily or weekly e-newsletter about sales you’re interested in. ShopSmart suggests signing up to receive the e-mail on Fridays, when most online retailers mark down clothing.

© 2008, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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