Comparison Shop Your Life

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While all the money-saving forums suggest you take a look at your latte habit to trim a few dollars from your budget, it’s good to take stock of the things you pay for regularly to make sure you’re getting a fair shake. This includes everything from your prescription medication coverage to your car insurance. We all know that prices continue going up. As much as we can’t stop them, at least we can make sure what we’re paying is fair.

Medical and Dental

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t got a clue what medical or dental procedures should cost these days, except that they’re usually enough to empty my bank account. Health Care Blue Book (www.healthcarebluebook.com) can help. It’s a free consumer guide to help you find fair prices for everything from surgeries to laboratory tests, tailored to your area based on your zip code. There’s also a mobile app for iPhone and Android so you can price compare on the fly when you’re sitting in your doctor’s or dentist’s office.

Prescriptions

Every month when I pick up my prescriptions, even when they’re covered by insurance, I wonder if I should be taking my business across the street for a better price. Short of calling around town, prescriptions can be as much as 90% cheaper when purchased online. PharmacyChecker (www.pharmacychecker.com) can help you decide which pharmacy is right for you. It’s an independent evaluator of online pharmacies, designed to help you save money on your most-used medications. Compare prices of individual medicines, including shipping, and link directly to pharmacies through the website. They even offer pet medications!

Gas

Before you head out to gas up the car, check GasBuddy (http://gasbuddy.com/). Enter your zip code for a list of the cheapest gas prices in your area, reported by users like you who update the site on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Update the site yourself to help out your neighbors and earn points used to enter contests for free gas cards.

Phones

If you’re still using a landline, compare phone service rates using ABTolls (www.abtolls.com). Use your monthly bill to tailor the recommended plan to your specific needs. Enter the number of calls you make monthly and the minutes you use for long distance and local calling. Obtain information and advice regarding how to read your current long distance bill and avoid telecom scams.

Cellular services

LetsTalk (www.letstalk.com) helps you sort out all the cell phones and service plan options before you renew your contract. Purchase through their site or simply use them to shop around. Another site for all-things-cellular is Wirefly (www.wirefly.com). With a huge selection of the latest cell phones from all major carriers, you can renew your wireless contract without ever leaving your easy chair. Their satisfaction guarantee assures you can test out your new phone and service for up to 14 days before you commit.

Insurance

Insurance for your home, car or boat seems to go up every year, even if you haven’t made a claim. It doesn’t hurt to check out other companies to make sure you’re getting the best deal. InsureMe (www.insureme.com) connects you with insurance agents in your area, helping you obtain free insurance quotes and eliminating the timely process of calling around yourself. Enter your information once and receive quotes from all the big names: State Farm, American Family, Farmers, etc. Don’t forget to bundle your auto and home owners insurance for extra savings.

All else

Comparison Shopping.com (www.comparisonshopping.com) has links to comparison sites for just about anything you’re in the market for, from automotive to travel. Whether you’re looking to compare daycare providers or cable TV services, if a comparison site exists for the product or service you’ll find a link to it here. Enter what you’re looking for in the handy search function for a quick list of links to sites offering a roundup of options.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.

Photo used by permission Polycart