It seems you can do everything online these days except wash your clothes — and some genius will no doubt figure that out fairly soon.
One of the great benefits of the Internet is the many ways it helps us save money. From tax filing to wedding registries, the World Wide Web has a lot to offer.
Consider the following seven ways you can save with a computer, tablet or smartphone.
1. Online Car Insurance
Esurance allows you to comparison shop auto insurance prices, then make your purchase. Usually, the listed quotes are lower than if you were to buy through an agent.
2. Online Tax Filing
If you own three homes, have 2.5 kids in college, and a passel of deductions, hiring a tax professional is likely worth the expense, but most of us can handle it by ourselves using online tax software. IRS.gov lists a variety of companies that allow you to use their programs for free.
Note, some will charge a fee for filing your state return.
3. Online Wedding Gift Registry
No more wandering through stores trying to figure out what you don’t really want, when the present you’d actually prefer is cash.
By creating a wedding registry with CardAvenue, you can get gift cards to preferred stores without the awkwardness of asking for money. Plus, you save time by setting up your registry online and guests can purchase discount gift cards to score savings of their own.
4. Online Savings Account
The most popular online bank is ING Direct, which offers high savings rates with no fees.
Online banks can afford to offer such benefits because they don’t have to maintain brick-and-mortar locations. (You’ll want to keep an eye on any changes in your accounts, however, as Capital One recently purchased ING.)
5. Online Budgeting
Forget expensive software packages; online budgeting is easy and usually free.
Mint.com, the hot commodity in this area, also brings all your financial accounts together either online or to your mobile device.
6. Online Backup
Don’t lose your precious files and photos. Mozy Stash offers a free free MozyHome 2 GB account, which allows you to sync and backup your files in the cloud.
Shutterfly.com picture storage is free and unlimited.
7. Online Fitness
Monthly gym memberships are notoriously pricey, especially if you’re charged an additional fee for group classes and can’t fit regular trips to the club into your busy schedule.
Working out at home is now easier and more efficient than ever, with services like StreamFit that let users stream unlimited workout videos for under $20 per month, or GaiamTV, which gives users online access to their entire library of fitness DVDs for less than $10 a month. Digifit’s new Spinning App offers a free instructional cycling video for those with a bike at home. Finally, YouTube is a great resource for free videos on perfecting moves and form.
What online service alternatives help you save money?
Andrea Woroch is a national consumer and money-saving expert who shares smart shopping tips and personal finance advice to show consumers how they can live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. She dissects retail and savings trends for media, encompassing everything from travel and electronics to groceries and coupons, and has been featured on New York Times, NBC’s Today Show, Dr. OZ, CNN and many more. Follow her for daily savings tips on Twitter or Facebook.com/