By Trevor Conroy
It seems everyone is trying to figure out the next big Web 2.0 “killer app” that’ll fetch multi-million dollar offers from Google and the like. Often these internet startups are inexpensive to put together. All you need is a great idea and a programmer or two to bring it to life. With a new internet startup popping up every hour (if you don’t believe me, check out KillerStartups.com which is, ironically, an internet startup itself), it’s hard to weed out the garbage and identify the truly useful internet applications. But for those looking to transform the power of Web 2.0 into financial savings, here are ten internet startups your wallet will thank you for using.
- Hire a Helper Gone are the days where you have to pull into a day laborer lot and load the back of your truck with workers to get your gardening done. Now you can just visit this site, enter your zip code, and get a list of people or companies willing to help you with your lawn mowing, moving, and other chores. Laborers list their rates right on the site, so you don’t have to call around to find the lowest price.
- Eversave Find all the coupons, free samples, and special discounts you could ever want on household products and groceries at Eversave. Sign up for free and you’ll gain access to all sorts of crazy e-coupons that’ll save you money on the stuff you by everyday.
- 3LUXE You know you need a new outboard engine for your boat, but you don’t want to spend hours reading reviews to find the best one. 3LUXE saves you the trouble and tells you the three best-reviewed items in hundreds of diverse categories, from bakeware to baseball bats.
- RetailMeNot.com The next time you order something–anything–online, be sure to stop by RetailMeNot.com before you hit that “Order” button. Simply put in the address for any online retailer and you’ll get a list of potential money-saving coupon codes you can use on your shopping cart. You’d normally have to sift through dozens of bargain forums or subscribe to spam-a-day mailing lists to get these codes, but RetailMeNot.com puts them all in one convenient place.
- FareCompare There are lots of websites out there that say they’ll find you the cheapest airfare, but few of them make it as easy as FareCompare. Just enter where you are, where you want to fly, and (optionally) when you want to do it. FareCompare comes back with the cheapest available fares across multiple airlines. I’ve been using FareCompare since it launched and have saved hundreds on flights so far.
- Dealighted Hot deal forums have been around for years; but with more of them popping up every day, it’s hard to visit all of them and find out the hottest deals on crap you probably don’t need. Dealighted solves that problem by picking out the hottest of the hot deals from many hot deal sites. So now instead of visiting 27 different places to find refurbished condoms at a great price, you just have to visit one.
- PayScale Is your employer paying you what you deserve? Answer a series of detailed questions to find out what people like you in your area are making in your profession. Then storm into your boss’s office and demand more money! Or less if you’re already making too much. Wait, don’t do that.
- SwarmBuy Imagine if you could get great deals on items by grabbing 30 of your friends, crowding into a store, and saying to the manager, “We’ll all by this item if you knock 20% off the price.” That’s exactly how SwarmBuy works–swarms of customers interested in an item can attract offers for discounts on the merchandise they’re seeking. Vendors benefit too by quickly spotting a large group of customers willing to buy their wares.
- Rentometer Us poorer folks still living in apartments and paying rent monthly will find Rentometer to be a great resource. Just tell Rentometer where you live and it’ll let you know if you’re paying too much compared to other nearby apartments. I actually used Rentometer a few months ago when my lease came up for renewal. I showed the landlord the website and that there were better deals to be had within a few blocks. He agreed to keep my rent steady for the next year.
- BudgetPulse Even dumb people who don’t know how to count will find BudgetPulse useful for keeping track of their nickels and dimes. BudgetPulse’s gorgeous interface and stylish graphs will tell you in a minute just how broke or wasteful you really are.
Of course, who knows how long some of these startups will be around, so I’d be careful about getting too addicted to some of these.
Trevor Conroy is a technology and finance writer from Seattle, WA. He enjoys scuba diving, cooking, and making fun of people who stood in line for 37 hours to buy an iPhone.