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 I just wanted to take a moment to post about and promote a few tech tools I've used lately that have led to discounts and savings.

1.  PriceBlink is a (currently in beta) site that tracks prices on many products.  The neat thing is they have browser plugins available.  Today I was browsing prices for a 6-pack of 3M Filtrete air filters we needed.  We use the filters in our furnace / air conditioning system.  Each filter lasts 3 months, so the 6 pack lasts a year and a half.  In 2007, we bought a 6-pack of eBay for $86.31 plus $8.50 S&H ($94.81 total).  I found the same pretty cheap on Amazon today for $94.26 plus free super-saver shipping - a few cents cheaper than 2007.  I was about to buy it when I noticed the PriceBlink toolbar had found a cheaper price.  The toolbar found it listed for $82.43 plus $4.99 shipping at vitacost.com.  Well, that would be a savings of $6.84 from Amazon - but I've never heard of this site.  How can I trust it?  But I clicked through anyway, and discovered they are offering free shipping - even better!  Now the cost of my item will be only $82.43 ($11.81 less than Amazon).

2.  PayPal - We've all heard of PayPal.  As I clicked around the VitaCost website, I wondered if I could trust sending them my credit card information.  I've never heard of the site.  How can I trust it?  Then I discovered that they offer PayPal payments.  Bingo!  After seeing that, I can trust the transaction.  Even if I cannot 100% trust VitaCost, I know I can work with PayPal to get my money back if something goes wrong.  That helps me feel more secure about my purchase.

3.  MyPoints lets you earn points for visiting various websites, taking surveys, or linking through the MyPoints website to make your purchases at many online retailers.  Whenever I make a purchase online, I usually get everything "ready" in my shopping cart, and then I head over to MyPoints and search the merchant listing.  If the merchant is listed, I "click through" and then find my shopping cart again.  Recently I've made a few purchases that will add up to many points that I can redeem for various gifts cards (most often we've gotten Barnes and Nobles gift cards so Janet can buy "free" books.  I've received points from a recent large purchase from HP (Janet's new laptop), purchases from Half.com and even the purchase I just made from VitaCost.  The laptop purchase alone was enough to get us $100 worth of gift cards.  On a daily basis I earn numerous easy "5 points" for clicking on a couple email links.  They add up over time.

I'd love for you to join MyPoints.  Let me know your email address and I can refer you - I'd get points for that.  Otherwise, please use the above tools / sites to get good deals on stuff.  Its awesome!

PS.  I fully believe that such tools can cause people to want to buy things they do not need.  There is no savings in buying things you don't need or didn't want.  So use caution while shopping online.  Seek great deals on the things you need to buy and beware of anything else.

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