“An educated consumer is our best customer,” was a phrase used for many years by SYMS, a discount department store founded in New York in 1959. That statement says a lot because it tells us that a savvy customer is one who knows where the bargains are and will frequent such establishments, contributing to the store’s bottom line.
No one likes to be called stupid and that wasn’t my intention with this article. Instead, I wanted to alert you to seven websites you should know about to help keep you informed and to save you money. After all, knowledge is power and a lack of it can be financially disastrous.
1. Consumer Reports – Yes, not everything on this site is free and easily accessible but there is enough good stuff added here regularly that paying $26 annually for web access and the print publication is worth it. Especially if you are getting ready to buy a new car, major appliance, have work done on your home, go to college….
2. Fool.com – The Motley Fool is as close to using the word “stupid” as you can imagine, but these guys offer advice on how not to make costly mistakes. Reading about investing is boring, but if this site can make sense of Alan Greenspan and explain what he is saying to the rest of us, then we all win.
3. Clark Howard – Okay, Clark Howard can come across as a goof ball, but he is certainly a friendly guy. And that comes in handy when you’re trying to get through to a customer service department and encounter the rudest “help” imaginable. Go to the CEO instead and get results. Yeah, baby!
4. Consumer Affairs – Though the federal government tracks recalls, Consumer Affairs shares the story behind the story. I like how they ratted out a popular high school reunion website recently for giving out too much information about its members to third parties. Way to go!
5. Epinions – Yes, there are many sites offering the same sort of arrangement, therefore Epinions is one in a crowd. In any case, consumer driven websites where people share their experiences using a product or service is priceless. Now you’ll know to steer clear of a particular clothes dryer that chews up your lace panties.
6. Consumer Watchdog – Even radicals need to have a place to vent, thus we have Consumer Watchdog a site that is going after the health insurance companies at the moment. Somebody needs to tell these people that rates increase because of government involvement. Soon, we won’t have surging health insurance rates to deal with thanks to the passage of ObamaCare, right? Right?!
7. Ripoff Report – Find out who has been ripped off before you join them! Well, at least expose their dirty deeds first before taking action. Scams are noted here as are bad choices made by consumers, some by people who just don’t realize that they should have read their sales contract first. Ouch.
So get a clue and check out these websites today or before you make any purchase. Money saved is money earned, but wisdom is priceless.