5 top websites for frugal shoppers

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Stretching your dollars becomes easier and easier if you adopt a few frugal habits, and you don't even have to shop less. By training yourself to start your online shopping trips with a stop at a few of these sites, you can shave at least a few dollars off of nearly every purchase you make online.

Combining them can really make a difference on your bottom line. It may seem a little cumbersome the first few times you make purchases, but once you do it a few times, it will be second nature and you'll really see the difference in your spending. Here are the best sites to help you save:

1. Ebates.com: Ebates.com should be your number one stop for any online shopping excursion. It costs nothing to sign up and the site doesn't even take your credit card information. It's merely a portal to other websites.

By clicking through to whatever website you want to shop at, you get an instant rebate on your order. Sometimes it's a small rebate like 1 to 2 percent, but other times the savings can really be noticeable. Those rare one-off buys like flowers or gift baskets often come with high rebates and so do several other specialty stores. It's always worth starting at Ebates and seeing if the store you plan to shop at is listed there.

2. RetailMeNot.com: Once you've decided what you're going to buy and you are ready to check out, don't forget to check RetailMeNot to see if there are any discounts currently available. RetailMeNot scours the web for different coupon code sources and accepts coupon codes from shoppers for other shoppers to try.

One great thing about this website is that it has a thumbs up or thumbs down tab on each coupon code and if the code works or doesn't work, you can let other shoppers know by selecting one of those options. You can also decide whether or not the code is worth trying based on the number of thumbs up or thumbs down that you see. That way, you won't bother wasting your time on expired coupons.

3. Coupons.com: Frugal shoppers that you are, I'm sure you already have a shopping list when you head out to buy groceries. Coupons.com makes saving money easy, since you can enter your shopping list into the search bar and see if there are any coupons available. As long as you've got a printer, this site is a piece of cake of use.

If you're very brand-name specific, you probably won't have as much luck with Coupons.com; however, it is especially great for when you're picking up beauty items, toiletries and paper goods.

4. Raise.com: Raise lets your buy discounted gift cards from all sorts of stores, including gas and grocery cards. If you know you're a regular shopper somewhere, keeping an eye out on this site can save you a bundle.

If you know you're going to hit the Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale, for example, start keeping an eye out for good discounts on gift cards a month in advance and you can start out the sale with some savings in your pocket already.

Planning a trip soon? You can even find gift cards to airlines and hotels at times. Check out local gift cards too, since they often have the steepest discounts since they can be harder to move.

5. Camelcamelcamel.com: Are you an Amazon addict? If what you're buying isn't time sensitive, or it's a really big, planned purchase, use camelcamelcamel, an Amazon price tracker, to stalk the price of what you intend to buy. This cool site tracks the price of nearly every item on Amazon, letting you know its highest, lowest and average price.

You can set up an alert to be notified when the price drops and it will send you alerts via email and Twitter. You can use these alerts to make your purchase, or even after, since Amazon will often refund the difference if the price drops on your purchase within 7 days.

It may seem like a real hassle to adjust to using these websites, but even if you start small, you'll notice the savings from adding just one of these sites into your regular shopping routine. If you're only going to use one, start with Ebates, and then if you have extra time, go to Raise, too, since it generally offers the best discounts. Happy shopping!

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