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computer-web2RISMEDIA, April 15, 2009-The Internet is full of great information, but it’s also a useful cost-savings resource. During uncertain economic times, it’s more important than ever for consumers to understand all the ways they can make the most of the Internet. 

Here are five lesser-known ways consumers can use the Internet to save both time and money:

1. Automate your comparison shopping
Many websites, such as, offer comparison shopping engines. Simply type in what you’re shopping for and a list of price ranges and product selections appear on screen. Using a comparison-shopping tool avoids wasting time visiting different sites to find the best price. Sites such as Expedia, Sidestep and Hotwire are great places to comparison shop for airfare and other travel deals.

2. Watch the market
If you’re in the market for a big-ticket item but you’re not in a big hurry, use online monitoring and research to “wait out” the best deal. Internet service providers like EarthLink offer an eBay widget for monitoring bids and items for sale. This way, you’ll know a good deal when you see one.

3. Look for additional features and services when picking an Internet service provider
Most Internet service providers offer their customers special offers and incentives. Browse through your Internet service provider’s product and services menu and take advantage of free Web space, anti-virus software and multiple levels of spam filtering. All of these applications help save money and provide a better Internet experience.

4. Use your time wisely
Make your Web time more productive by taking a few minutes to customize your local news, weather, sports scores, movie show times and TV listings. Also, bookmark your favorite websites, to go to them immediately without remembering specific Internet addresses or stopping to do an online search. For another time saver, use features such as e-mail preview which alert you to new messages without having to constantly check for them.

5. Sign up for offers using anonymous email address
Many providers like EarthLink offer “anonymous e-mail,” which provides several pre-selected e-mail addresses to organize and manage your e-mail. For example, you can use one email address just for online shopping and log offers/coupons in a separate mail folder, keeping regular email communications with friends and family separate.

There are many ways consumers can optimize their Internet experience and use a variety of special tools and options to compare prices, watch for deals and generally save money. In these economic times, it makes sense to use every tool at your disposal to stretch your family’s dollar.

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