Pay Less Online, Shop Competitively

Mike Iuen

The best way to support our economy is to shop locally and support our area businesses. But let's face it: sometimes you can't find what you want locally and you have to shop online.

Kelli B. Grant with Market Watch says shopping around for the best price has never been easier. Some 55% of online shoppers always check for competitive prices before buying.

Here are her suggestions to pay less online.

1. Bing shopping - Bing offers a compare feature and virtual shopping lists that can be a big help in making a shopping decision. Price check results include a price history over six months plus reviews. However, there is no rating system and the listings aren't always accurate.

2. Decide - Decide is one of the better sites at capturing price fluctuations. It compares price data against factors like a new model's launch date to help shoppers decide whether to buy or wait. You can't search for everything though. The sit covers a few dozen items within broader categories such a electronics and appliances.

3. Google Shopping - Google has redesigned its shopping site to include listings only from companies that pay to be included. That weeds out suspect vendors and outdated prices. However, you won't see listings from Amazon.

4. Price Grabber - A price history tracks the average and lowest prices over time and you can also set price alerts to get an e-mail when the item drops below a set dollar amount. Big and small retailers are included.

5. Pronto.com - You can refine searches by category. A page has details on the merchant, which credit cards are accepted, and sales tax information. But there are no reliability ratings or information on shipping fees.



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