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Smart Buying

20 Web Sites to Help You Find a Bargain

Whether you want to find the best holiday gift deals or avoid the stores altogether, you can find a multitude of Web sites that will help you snag a bargain. We've scoured the Internet, and here are 20 of our favorites.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to see our updated list of Web sites for 2007.

Shoppers are expected to spend, on average, $791.10 each this year on holiday merchandise, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation by BIGresearch. And a poll of readers shows that about a third who responded plan to spend $1,000 or more. That's no small change.

But you can keep your holiday spending under control thanks to an array of Web sites geared toward helping consumers find bargains. There are sites that post deals on everything from clothes to electronics, sites that give you cash back when you shop, sites that provide coupon codes, sites that help you compare prices and even sites that post Black Friday sale ads before they hit the newspapers. Even if you don't buy online, it never hurts to find the best deals on the Web before you brave crowded stores. Then you can comparison shop and make better choices.

We've tested and picked 20 Web sites we think are easy to use and will help you save money this holiday season. Take a look:


Online bargain sites

Our favorite in this category is DealsOfAmerica, which updates deals every hour. Every item it lists on the home page has a picture, a description, the store that's offering the deal and, best of all, the list price so you'll know just how much of a bargain you're getting. The site also has coupons, a Black Friday bargains center, price comparison tool, a list of products or services available for free after rebate or coupon and a hot deal e-mail alert you can sign up to receive. Deals are from top online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores with nationwide presence.

Two other distinctive sites: AbleShoppers and They list deals by date so you know new items are being added every day. Both also offer online coupons. AbleShoppers also offers shopping tips and an e-mail newsletter. lists some deals on its home page, but you'll find hundreds more listed in forums, where you'll also find Black Friday ad scans and rumored sale lists. So if you're willing to take the time to troll through the forums, you'll probably find deals here you won't find other places. There are more than 60,000 forum members who post deals, and you don't have to register to view the ones listed. But you do have to register to see the Black Friday ads. The site also offers coupons for about 1,500 online stores, a price search engine and e-mail notification of deals.

If you don't like the idea of shopping online, can help you find deals at stores near you. You can shop by categories and by price range. Just don't expect to find every store in your town (or even some major ones) listed on this site.


Comparison shopping sites

If you really want to score a great buy, this is the way to go. We found deals for a plasma TV on, and Shopzilla that were better than prices listed on bargain shopping sites. What we really like about these price comparison sites is that you get a lot of results for your searches with the range of prices listed, product descriptions, and store and product ratings. The sites also are good places to go if you are looking for gift ideas, especially Shopzilla, which even has a link on the homepage to help you find deals on holiday d├ęcor.

If you know exactly what you want and need just a bare bones price comparison site, try Google's shopping search engine, Froogle. What you'll get are lots of results for your search, product reviews, seller ratings and a Local Shopping option to help you find products at stores near you. What you won't see is a home page full of hot products, shopping guides, product categories and colorful images you'll find on sites such as PriceGrabber and Shopzilla.

Another site worth checking out is, which shows eBay prices along with prices from traditional retailers. What we really like about this site, though, is the downloadable toolbar that lets you know if there's a better deal someplace else for the item you're viewing.

Black Friday ad sites

If you actually enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn the day after Thanksgiving, standing in a line in the cold waiting for a store to open and then engaging in hand-to-hand combat with fellow shoppers to snag TMX Elmo or an Xbox 360, then you've got to check out these sites that post Black Friday sale ads weeks before they run in the newspapers: Black Friday 2006, and Thanks to these sites, you don't have to wait until a few days before one of the biggest shopping days of the year to find out what deals stores will be offering. These sites compete to be the first to post major retailers' advertisements before they are released nationally -- and officially. Hence, the sites say the ads they post are rumored and not 100% confirmed because they are posted without retailers' consent.


Created in 2003, Black Friday was the first site exclusively dedicated to posting Black Friday ads. What we like about this site is that its lists of sale items have star ratings for the product and icons that denote whether they are early-bird or rebate items. Black Friday also has store hours for a few national chains, a message board, links to online coupons and Black Friday rebates, a mailing list you can sign up for to receive e-mail notifications of deals and even tips on how to use the advance knowledge of sale items to your advantage (such as hiding Black Friday items in stores before the sale day).

Cash-back sites

Another way to spend less is to earn cash while you shop. That's the premise of FatWallet and You have to join their cash-back programs and can get cash back (usually a percentage of your purchase) when you buy items from select merchants. Be sure to read the fine print. You don't get cash back at the time of your purchase. Instead, it accrues in an account and is sent to you periodically. Also, not all merchants featured on these sites participate and of those that do, some have their own requirements for earning cash back.

Coupon sites

Put away the scissors -- you don't have to clip these coupons. Plenty of sites offer coupon codes (and printable coupons) for online and brick-and-mortar retailers. The nice thing about our picks is that you don't have to register on these sites to gain access to the coupons. CouponCabin, CoolSavings and Keycode post featured coupons on their homepages and let you search for coupons by category and merchant. You also can sign up to receive coupons by e-mail from all three of these sites. focuses on coupons for Dell, HP, and, but also has coupons for stores such as Old Navy and Target. You can search by category or store. It also has a list of the most popular coupons lists deals of the day. And Coupon Craze has coupon codes and printable coupons not only for merchants in the U.S. but also in the United Kingdom and Canada. It also has a special Christmas coupons and deals section.

Happy shopping!