savings

6 Web Sites to Help You Lower Your Bills

With money-saving site BillShrink shutting down, here are some alternatives.

BillShrink -- the Web site that helps you compare credit cards, cell-phone plans, gas stations, savings rates and television services -- recently announced that it's shutting down July 31. There are several things about the site that has made it a favorite among personal finance publications, including Kiplinger's, over the past five years it has been in operation.

For starters, it's free. It provides customized recommendations based on information you provide for ways you can shrink your bills with lower-cost alternatives to services and financial products you're using. And it will send you e-mail alerts if better savings are available.

In a July 17 e-mail to users, the BillShrink team said it expects to launch a new money-saving service in the future. But it did not provide a reason for shutting down BillShrink. And no one from the BillShrink team responded to a request from Kiplinger's for a comment.

There are several other sites that can help you compare the products and services that BillShrink's money-saving tool does. Unfortunately, most focus only on one or two products and services, so you'll have to visit several free sites to get the same sort of information you got from BillShrink alone.

MyRatePlan is most similar to BillShrink in terms of the number of products and services for which it provides price comparisons -- cell-phone plans, VoIP and cable phone plans, television services, credit cards, travel and insurance. But it doesn't provide recommendations for you -- it's up to you to do the actual comparisons.

Bankrate provides comparisons for all things banking: checking, savings and money market accounts, CD rates, credit cards, mortgage rates and auto loans. It also provides insurance quotes. Another site to consider for banking comparisons is Kasasa, which helps you find community banks or credit unions with free accounts and high rates.

LowCards.com helps you compare credit cards based on card type, how much you plan to spend per month on the card and whether you'll carry a balance. It provides a list of the top cards in every category with an unbiased opinion on every card.

WhistleOut lets you compare cell-phone plans based on minutes, data and price range that you enter.

GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas prices near you. Simply enter your city and state or zip code.

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