An email that really stood out in my In Box last week bore the subject,  “damn you practical hacks.”

“Ah, another satisfied reader,” I thought.

Fortunately, that choice of subject was totally tongue in cheek, as the message was from Practical Hacks contributor Michael W., who was kidding me about a particularly hot deal on a Dell netbook I’d posted in the Forum, which had prompted him to buy another netbook.

how did you snag that deal on Amazon? I get emails from them on electronics specials, and that hasn’t shown up, yet it is an incredible discount for a well-spec’d product. At Dell the standard model comes with WinXP, this with Win7.

Just the tuner alone is worth a lot. Plus it has HDMI output, which means you can run it through your HDTV…  yes I ordered it…

I get those same emails Michael, and it’s true, I did not learn about this deal via an email from Amazon.  There are several sites I check each day to search for hot deals – most via my iGoogle homepage – but Michael’s email made me realize I’d never mentioned a few of them on this site.

Here are the best sites I’ve found for great deals that I use myself & pass along to my readers:

1.  DansDeals.com

I discovered this site a couple of months ago, and it’s ideally suited to Practical Hacks readersDan Eleff sniffs out deals on computers, gadgets, airfare, and all manner of consumer products.  A seasoned traveler, Dan has included a page on his site which summarizes current airline baggage fees, and another devoted to standby policies.

The site’s a bit of a mess – there are a ton of banner ads where the masthead would normally appear, and affiliate links are sprinkled liberally in the right hand column – but who cares? .The deals are great, and this is in fact where I discovered the deal on the Dell netbook.  This one’s a winner, and an RSS feed is available, so you can see the latest deals in your iGoogle homepage or other reader.  Click on the link in the numbered subhead to visit the site.

2.  Deals.Woot (Community Deals)

Obviously a member of the Woot suite of sites, Deals.Woot features a handful of sponsored deals at the top of the page.  What’s more significant, at least in my view, is the Community section, where Wooters can recommend deals they’ve discovered to other members of the community.  Members can vote up the best deals, and when a particular deal is no longer available, a small “RIP” tombstone shows next to the link.

Best of all?  The site features a robust Search feature, and an RSS feed is available for your search results.  Looking for a deal on a Patagonia bag?  Conduct a search, and an item that doesn’t suit your needs isn’t available right now, add the RSS feed to your reader.  Here’s an excerpt of a recent search for deals on luggage; note that there are 64 such deals:

This is an absolutely fantastic feature, and many, many sites would benefit if they emulated what Deals.Woot has done here.  Adding an RSS feed for your search results is quite easy:

I’ve been looking for a deal on a Mountain Hardwear shell, and this site may help me find a great deal on one.  Definitely worth checking out.  A search for “Mountain Hardwear” produced 27 results, by the way.

3.  Woot.com

If you’re weak of mind, easily swayed by well written, funny copy, or have a tendency to buy gadgets you don’t need, by all means avoid Woot.com ..The site offers one deal per day until it’s sold out; technology and gadgets figure prominently in the product selection.  Some of the deals are excellent, but if you have a tendency to buy stuff you don’t need, ‘don’t go there.’

Special offers:  Woot Offs, in which many deals are offered over the course of a day (or sometimes two), and Two for Tuesday, which ought to be self explanatory.  Search for “Mountain Hardwear” – N/A

4.  FatWallet.com

You likely know about FatWallet, so this will be brief.  Much like the Deals.Woot, FatWallet features staff selected deals, but perhaps its best feature is its community based forum in which members share outstanding deals.  99.9% of those will most decidedly NOT be relevant to you, but if you’re searching for a deal on a particular item or brand, use its search feature to zero in on items of interest.  Unlike Deals.Woot, you cannot add RSS feeds for searches to your reader, however.

The following summarizes the feeds which are available at FatWallet:

Special note:  Travel Deals and Hot Deals sections; the site also has a “Coupons & Cash Back” section.  Search for “Mountain Hardwear” – 1 coupon, but zero “deal” results

Honorable Mention

Although the sites featured above are the ones I use regularly, the following sites are also worth checking out:

Dealighted has tremendous promise – it somehow aggregates deals from FatWallet, SlickDeals (see below) and over 20 other bargain sites.  That’s the good news.  Unfortunately, I’ve found its search function clunky and imprecise – I searched for “Mountain Hardwear,” (in quotation marks) for instance, and got 781 hits – for mountain bikes, coffees with “mountain” in their names, vendors with “mountain” in their names, and so forth; frustrating.

My advice is to perhaps bookmark this site and play with it if you’re contemplating a significant purchase.

DealNews – tech oriented; enables you to add RSS feeds for specific searches to your reader

SlickDeals.net Day by day listing of user-vetted deals; boasts an active forum; several RSS feeds available.   Search for Mountain Hardwear –  77 results  (NOTE:  go to the Forum section before searching.)

BradsDeals.com Glossier look than many of the others here; coupons available.  Search for Mountain Hardwear – zero results

Don’t forget to check for coupons

A final word on utilizing the interwebs for shopping:  whenever you purchase anything online, Google the name of the vendor and “coupon” or better yet, “coupon codes” before checking out; coupons are frequently available and will enable you to save even more!

Have any bargain sites you rely upon?  If yes, please share them by commenting!

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3 Comments on My favorite ‘hot deals’ and bargain sites

  1. Michael W. says:

    [walk of shame to closet to put away yet another netbook, while wondering who he can gift it to and when….]

    [Reply]

  2. Laura Pagles says:

    Very proud to have made it into such a great post, so thank you!

    Question: Do you subscribe to any FatWallet view alerts? They allow you to narrow Hot Deals categories down and then receive an email as soon as a deal is posted by a member to that category.

    Thanks again,

    Laura Pagles
    @fatwallet

    [Reply]

  3. David says:

    I’ve also seen Onewayshopping.com combining coupons and comparison shopping all in place. Check them out also.

    [Reply]

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