10 Innovative But Obscure Sites That Put Money In Your Pocket
These ten websites help you save or make money in innovative ways, yet they are relatively unknown. We learned of these guys while doing research for the Wise Bread book coming out in May. You've got your copy pre-ordered, right? Enjoy the list, and share with your friends! Don't forget to chime in with more money-saving sites in the comments.
1. Zilok - Weird name but incredibly cool concept. Zilok is basically "eBay for rentals". You can rent your stuff out or rent someone else's stuff for a day. For owners, get more out of your purchases -- just a few rentals could pay for the item! For renters, you can save money by renting, instead of buying, seldomly used items. Stuff like canoes, laptops, cameras, cars, books, baby strollers, and everything in between is available for rent from someone near you.
2. Shop It To Me - It's like having your own personal shopper constantly on the lookout for sales! Rather than scour through all the deals on the web, create your own wish list of clothes, then wait for a bargain to appear. Select your size, brand, and other preferences, and Shop It To Me will email you when there's a relevant sale. This is perfect for lazy but cheap shoppers like me.
3. UPromise - Save money and build a college fund at the same time. You get 1-25% back from shopping online through UPromise, or by shopping at over 30,000 offline restaurants, drug stores, and supermarkets. Your discounted savings can be automatically deposited into a 529 college savings plan.
4. Covestor - Covestor lets you follow the trades of top performing investors. Piggyback off proven winners to grow your wealth. If you're one of those proven winners, Covestor will pay you for every person who follows your stock trades.
5. BeatThat! - 100% community driven, this site rewards members for finding the lowest price with cold, hard cash. It's the perfect shortcut for deal hunters who don't want to run through multiple sites to verify the best price on a product. Because deal hounds all over the Web are getting bounties for finding better deals (versus a staff who may not be giving it 110%), you'll find some really great bargains here. And if you're one of those deal hounds, you could make some beer money for all that time you spend those deals sites.
6. Freecycle - One man's trash is another man's treasure. Find your location and see if anyone is giving away something you need, and vice versa. What a great way to be green and frugal at the same time.
7. Smart Hippo - Crowdsource your mortgage rate research. Smart Hippo is a community of people who post their reviews of mortgages, banks, and lenders. You can use this information to find the best rates and loan officers in your area.
8. BillShrink - Get a list of cell phone plans or credit cards that are better than what you have in less than 5 minutes. Answer a few questions about your current credit card or cell phone plan (or have BillShrink do it automatically by uploading your last statement), and BillShrink will recommend better phone plans or credit cards that fit your needs.
9. SmartyPig - Hands-free savings account for specific goals or purchases. You set a goal and choose the amount you want to contribute each month to reach that goal, and SmartyPig automatically pulls that amount from your checking account each month. You can make your goals public to friends and family, so they can contribute to your goal if they want to. Just like a savings account at your local bank, SmartyPig pays an interest on the money deposited and all deposits are insured by the FDIC. You can withdraw your money at any time via a debit card or electronic transfer.
10. CrossLoop - For finding PC help and/or getting paid to fix a PC problem. CrossLoop is a remote desktop application and marketplace. The help requester must give the helper a single-use code in order for the helper's computer to see and control the helpee's computer. This is great for fixing your parents computer, getting help fixing that nagging Windows issue, or make a few bucks helping others fix their PC problems. It's free to use CrossLoop. If you're a PC whiz, you can make money at the marketplace by helping those without geeky kids to help them. You can set your own rates and determine your own specific services. Windows only at the moment, but a Mac version is in development.
Do you know of an obscure site that saves you a ton of cash? Well, don't keep it a secret! Please share in the comments.