10 innovative sites that will save you money
Many of these are relatively unknown.
These 10 Web sites help you save or make money in innovative ways, yet they are relatively unknown. We learned of these guys while doing research for the Wise Bread book. (You've got your copy, right?) Enjoy the list, and share with your friends. Don't forget to chime in with more money-saving sites in the comments.
name but incredibly cool concept, Zilok is basically eBay for rentals.
You can rent your stuff out or rent someone else's stuff for a day. For
owners, get more out of your purchases -- just a few rentals could pay
for the item. For renters, you can save money by renting, instead of
buying, seldom-used items. Stuff like canoes, laptops, cameras, cars,
books, baby strollers, and everything in between is available for rent
from someone near you.
Shop It To Me. It's like having your own personal shopper constantly on the lookout for sales. Rather than scour through all the deals on the Web, create your own wish list of clothes, then wait for a bargain to appear. Select your size, brand and other preferences, and Shop It To Me will e-mail you when there's a relevant sale. This is perfect for lazy but cheap shoppers like me.
UPromise. Save money and build a college fund at the same time. You get 1% to 25% back from shopping online through UPromise, or by shopping at more than 30,000 offline restaurants, drugstores and supermarkets. Your discounted savings can be automatically deposited into a 529 college savings plan.
Covestor. Covestor lets you follow the trades of top-performing investors. Piggyback off proven winners to grow your wealth. If you're one of those proven winners, Covestor will pay you for every person who follows your stock trades.
BeatThat! This site, 100% community driven, rewards members for finding the lowest price with cold, hard cash. It's the perfect shortcut for deal hunters who don't want to run through multiple sites to verify the best price on a product. Because deal hounds all over the Web are getting bounties for finding better deals -- versus a staff that may not be giving it 110% -- you'll find some really great bargains here. And if you're one of those deal hounds, you could make some beer money for all that time you spend at those deal sites.
Smart Hippo. Crowdsource your mortgage rate research. Smart Hippo is a community of people who post their reviews of mortgages, banks and lenders. You can use this information to find the best rates and loan officers in your area.
BillShrink. Get a list of cell phone plans or credit cards that are better than what you have in less than five minutes. Answer a few questions about your current credit card or cell phone plan (or have BillShrink do it automatically by uploading your last statement), and BillShrink will recommend better phone plans or credit cards that fit your needs.
SmartyPig. It's a hands-free savings account for specific goals or purchases. You set a goal and choose the amount you want to contribute each month to reach that goal, and SmartyPig automatically pulls that amount from your checking account each month. You can make your goals public to friends and family so they can contribute to your goal if they want to. Just like a savings account at your local bank, SmartyPig pays interest on the money deposited, and all deposits are insured by the FDIC. You can withdraw your money at any time via a debit card or electronic transfer.
CrossLoop. This site helps you find PC help and/or get paid to fix a PC problem. CrossLoop is a remote desktop application and marketplace. The help requester must give the helper a single-use code in order for the helper's computer to see and control the helpee's computer. This is great for fixing your parents' computer, getting help fixing that nagging Windows issue, or making a few bucks helping others fix their PC problems. It's free to use CrossLoop. If you're a PC whiz, you can make money at the marketplace by helping those without geeky kids to help them. You can set your own rates and determine your own specific services. It's Windows-only at the moment, but a Mac version is in development.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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