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Smart Buying

Steal These Deals: Technology

Trim your budget with these tech tips.

Sites Where You Save

Web crawlers and bots help you find discounts.The deal seeker of all deal seekers is Dodtracker.com. This site monitors more than 200 sources for deal-of-the-day offers.

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SLIDE SHOW: Technology Bargains

For bargains on bling, your destination is Bluenile.com. It can sell quality diamonds for up to 40% less than traditional stores. Shipping is free and there’s a 30-day return policy.

You may never pay full price again if you become a regular user of RetailMeNot.com. You can search by store or by item to find thousands of printable coupons and codes for online shopping.

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Shopzilla.com is a comparison-shopping Web site that combs cyberspace to locate bargains. A search for “hammock” returned almost 300 choices, ranging from $29 to $140.

Never miss a clothing sale with ShopItToMe.com. Sign up for free e-mail alerts by entering brand names and sizes; the site will tell you when to pounce.

Visit StubHub.com before you buy event tickets and you can probably find a better price. The site guarantees you’ll have the tix in time for the show.

Pay-As-You-Go Mobile

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You get cheap minutes and no messy contract. If you have the lowest-price cell-phone contract you can get but forfeit unused minutes every month, a prepaid plan would be a better deal. You pay in advance for bundles of airtime—and you don’t commit to a two-year contract.

With the help of Alan Keiter, president of MyRate­Plan.com, we picked a prepaid bargain, plus the best phone, for four users:

Emergency caller. You pay just 10 cents a minute for the T-Mobile Pay As You Go plan (www.t-mobile.com), and the minutes don’t expire for a year if you buy the $100 refill card with 1,000 minutes. Plus, the plan-compatible, no-frills Nokia 1661 phone costs just $20.

Moderate user. Calls on Net10 (www.net10.com) cost 10 cents a minute, and text messages cost 5 cents each. The Samsung T201G phone is $40 and comes with 300 minutes of calling.

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Road warrior. You get unlimited calls for $50 a month with Virgin Mobile USA (www.virginmobileusa.com). Add unlimited texting for $10 a month; 50 megabytes (about 5,000 e-mails) of monthly Web access is $10 more. Best phone for this plan is the $100 Kyocera X-tc.

Teen. Unlimited text messaging and free calls after 9 p.m. and on weekends make the Boost Mobile Daily Chat & Text plan (www.boostmobile.com) teen-friendly. You pay a $1-per-day subscription fee, and daytime calls cost 10 cents a minute. Best phone: Motorola Moto i776 ($99).