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Smart Buying

5 Sites That Help You Save Money

Lower your insurance rates, get service providers to compete for your business, find free stuff and more.

One of the goals of this column is to help you save money. Sometimes that means pointing you to other Web sites. Here are a few I have discovered lately that will help you find the best deals on services or products and let you keep more cash in your pocket.

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InsuranceRates.com. This new site from the folks at InsWeb.com lets you shop for auto insurance rates without divulging too much personal information. Our insurance expert Kimberly Lankford says the site provides quotes from a lot more companies than InsWeb did. It also lets you request your top priority for the quotes -- established company, multi-policy discount, ability to buy online or just price.

MiNeeds.com. If you're looking for a contractor, lawyer, photographer or any service provider, you could get out the phone book and call every listing to get price quotes. Or you could post your need on MiNeeds.com and get bids back from local providers, along with credentials, ratings, reviews and more. This site helps take the hassle out of finding affordable service professionals. However, MiNeeds.com really caters only to major markets (although its cities by state list includes practically every city).

Mr. Free Stuff. The name pretty much says it all: The site lists offers for free stuff daily. What we really like is the site's blog, which has loads of ideas on how to get or do things for free -- such as free date ideas, free ways to burglar-proof your house and free things to do in Orlando.

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Netted. Sign up at this site, which launched in February 2010, to get free daily e-mails that highlight Web sites, smartphone applications and services that make life better. Many of the recommended online tools will help you save money, but be forewarned that Netted isn't dedicated solely to discovering personal-finance related sites. But that's okay -- saving money isn't the only thing that makes life better.

eDeals.com. This coupon code site isn't new, but it just teamed up in February with direct marketing company Valpak to provide printable, local coupons. Shoppers click on the printable coupons tab at eDeals.com, which recognizes their location and provides coupons for services and restaurants in that area.

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