Boy, it has just come to my attention that, while every other student worker like me probably plays Flash-based games online, I’m usually scrounging the Internet for the next gadget steal I can make. Whether it be NewEgg‘s horrible pun “Shell Shocker“, something random at Woot!, or even what’s shaking over at Buy.com, the Internet has allowed some really great money-savers to pop up. Most of the savings to be had aren’t even dependent on seasonal pricing (read: Black Friday), so for “frugal” college students like myself, early Christmas shoppers, or bargain hunters, these websites I’m highlighting today are a godsend.
I love NewEgg. Having bought all the parts for my existing PC off of NewEgg, as well as every computer-related purchase since then, I’m pretty much sold on these guys. This web-based company (who has recently expanded to include a Canadian website, as well) is easy to navigate, keeps track of all your orders if you keep an account with them, makes it easy to get RMAs (Return Merchandise Authorization), and they ship really quickly. Their Shell Shocker promotion is also a recent addition, which provides an item on a deep discount for a limited time, much akin to…
Woot! is a very interesting website. They do sell products over the Internet, but they aren’t a retailer in any sense that conventional shoppers would think. Selling only one product per day, the day’s featured product goes online at 12AM and is discontinued at 11:59 that night (their motto is “One Day, One Deal”). In between the time a product goes up and comes down, their main page will show the item, a description – which includes witty banter, self-depreciating humor, mocking of the product, the website, the consumer, or a mix of the three, and some text which is entirely unhelpful – all of which adds to the site’s character. On top of all of this, the prices here are astounding, but the items are short lived, so you have to pay attention. Woot! also has specials like Two-for-Tuesday: two items for the price of one (very useful when there are things like digital cameras or earmuffs), or Woot-Offs, where there are massive chains of sales in a row.
Woot! also has a number of sister sites: Shirt.Woot!, Wine.Woot!, and Sellout.Woot! The shirt website sells t-shirts, printed on American Apparel tees, with custom designs on them. Wine.Woot! sells bottles of wine, or other sophisticated things like cake samplers. It’s very difficult to describe everything that happens on Woot!, as well as all the information and products they carry, so here’s a link to their FAQ and the Wikipedia page on Woot!
Buy.com ” What’s Shakin’ “
Buy.com’s website is already a pretty good place to shop, but then I came across the items that are “shaking”. As a metric of an item’s popularity, there’s a section of items on Buy that are “What’s Shakin“. On that list are the items that have had the greatest change in sales rate (usually some of the best deals), which means there’s either been a discount, a coupon sent out, or some kind of promotion: all ways you can save money or get something extra. They’re already starting up the holiday sales promotions over at Buy, but the earlier you start, the earlier you’ll get your shopping done.
The websites I’ve talked about so far are singular places to find deals; the only prices you’ll find will be at that website, but with websites like Passwird and Dealighted.com, these sites act like price aggregators (or more like savings aggregators) in that they tell you what website is offering relatively lower prices for regular MSRP. Passwird is run by a single college student, but it updates multiple times daily, and keeps track of what deals are obsolete. Dealighted, instead of being run by one person, is a collection of deals or future sale prices (a good example would be the Black Friday ads popping up on DL right now) from other websites and also deal notices that are submitted by users.
Thanks to these places, I’m already way ahead on my Christmas shopping and I know exactly where I’m camping on Thanksgiving Thursday (It’s Meijer if you need to know). And don’t forget about these places once the holiday season passes; Woot and their sister sites always have good deals. It just depends on if you want the item they’re selling at the time…
Pictures courtesy of: Woot.com, Passwird, NewEgg, All Enthusiast;