Recession or not, everyone looks for ways to save money without too much compromise. Thankfully, the Web has many deal-hunting tools to help you fulfill your shopping urges without breaking the bank. Beyond the old standbys like Craigslist or FatWallet.com, a few new sites have sprouted up with truly unique ways to help you stretch your budget. One caveat: These sites require some quality hunting time as well as daily visits, so don't expect to find the perfect deal on your first look.
Voyij aggregates deals from all the other travel Websites (Hotwire, Kayak, Priceline) and makes them searchable. You simply input your departing city, general travel dates, destination, and budget, and Voyij goes to work. It's ideal for flexible travelers, as finding deals with exact dates in mind can be difficult. But Voyij is still worth browsing. You can also follow its Twitter feed and receive alerts about deals on hotels or flights even if you don't have a particular trip in mind.
Groupon is quickly becoming an addiction for me. Every day, the site features a product or service from a business in your area (Groupon has deals in just about every major American city) at a discounted price. Here's the catch: You get that deal only if enough people sign up for it. Luckily, the Groupon community is rapidly growing, and you can invite friends to Groupon to make the same purchase. I've seen deals on everything from frozen pizza to Pilates classes, so you're bound to find something appealing.
You know how useful Craigslist and Freecycle are for finding free stuff. Kashless is also a site for digging up free loot, but you get rewarded for your activity there, too. With the Kashless Rewards program, members earn points for posting an item, inviting a friend to the site, receiving an item, and so on. You can then redeem your points toward products and coupons from different brands like Amazon, Best Buy, Cold Stone Creamery, and more. And why do you get rewarded for scrounging through somebody's free pile? According to Kashless, you're extending the life of a product, reducing raw-material demand, and eliminating waste. You definitely deserve that free sundae at Cold Stone.
ToolzDo is similar to Kashless, but with more of an emphasis on trading in neighborhoods. It is not just a market for free stuff, but lists items and equipment for rent, swap, and sale as well. For example, if you're looking for a digital camera, you can search and see a combined result of rental, swap, and giveaway options to choose from. And if you can't find exactly what you're looking for, you can post a wanted ad. You can also post ads for whatever you wish to sell or give away. ToolzDo doesn't have the community size of other sites, but it is definitely one to keep an eye on. ToolzDo even offers free resources and guides for small-business owners, rental professionals, and nonprofit organizations looking to make a little extra cash on the site.