100 Useful Web Tools to Survive–and Thrive–in a Recession
Posted by Staff Writers on February 2, 2009
The Internet affords those of us suffering from the recession many tools to stay afloat and out of danger, from tracking the stock market in real time, accessing free investment tools and financial calculators, and using free or discounted business tools to keep us connected and in the game. Read on for 100 useful web tools that will help you thrive in a recession, instead of running to play catch up.
Finance and Investment
Keep up with the markets by checking these charts, financial news sites and feeds. You’ll also find financial calculators to estimate and manage debt, house payments and retirement.
- Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg.com’s investment tools are great for watching the market, finding financial calculators and keeping up with your portfolios, securities, and stock market.
- Market Watch Market Indexes: Track the gains and losses of major markets, industries and international markets.
- SmartMoney: At SmartMoney, you can use tools like the Market Radar, Price Check Calculator for stocks, mutual fund maps and more.
- The Street: This website is an online news source and customizable tracker for business news and tracking the market.
- Tip’d – financial social media: Tip’d is the first major social news site for investing, budgeting and other PF topics.
- The Wall Street Journal: Get up-to-the minute news and market information on all the politics and business news that determines your investments.
- Quote.com: At Quote.com, you can easily find information about the world’s financial markets and use tools to manage your personal investments, like home costs, college planning and retirement.
- Raging Bull: Get real-time stock quotes on Raging Bull and set up your own account to manage your portfolio.
- NYSE: Learn about bonds, equities, trading information and more from the NYSE website.
- London Stock Exchange: Keep track of Europe’s leading market here.
- Reuters Finance: Closely follow Reuters’ business and finance pages to learn about the latest failures during the recession, get analysis on what’s coming next, and tips on how to protect yourself.
- TurboTax: Use TurboTax to make sure you’re taking advantage of every kind of deduction around tax time.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: Find out what the government is doing to help credit holders and investors during the bank crisis and financial crisis.
- The Motley Fool: Read The Motley Fool to look up stock information, read about the latest bank and company busts, and manage your own personal finances.
- NASDAQ: Get quotes, market indices, summary quotes, after-hours summaries, charts and a whole lot more on the NASDAQ site.
Use these budgeting tools to ensure you get the most out of every paycheck and know exactly where all your money goes.
- Kiplinger: Use Kiplinger’s budgeting tools to evaluate your cost of living, figure out how much you’re spending, and even discover ways to turn your savings into millions.
- Mint: Mint is a free program that helps you see where all your money goes, and how to keep it safe.
- Ideal Budget: CNN’s Money 101 starts you off with an online worksheet to budget your biggest expenses, debt and more.
- Free household budgeting work sheet: This free work sheet from Bankrate can help your family organize its budget, savings and spending.
- Buxfer: Buxfer is another free software program that tracks your credit cards, spending, debt and more.
- Bill Q: This program is a simple, streamlined platform for organizing bills.
- Choose to Save: Find all kinds of calculators on this site, from life expectancy to mutual funds to retirement to Roth IRA to stocks to bonds and health insurance.
- budgetEDGE: You can use this tool anonymously, which warns you when you’re getting close to running out of money.
- Indy Budget: IndyBudget will give you the tools to set goals, remind yourself of upcoming bills through e-mail alerts, forecast your savings and budget needs, and more.
- Geezeo: With Geezeo, you can manage all your accounts from one place, get advice from financial experts and other users, and access lots of budgeting tools.
Comparison shopping is extremely important right now, and these websites make it very easy to get the best deal on baby items, groceries, clothes, electronics and more.
- PriceGrabber.com: This online comparison shopping tool lets you shop by category or look up a specific product. You can also get reviews and ratings of individual items.
- Bizrate: Bizrate is a popular resource for those searching out the best deals. Categories like home and garden, sports and outdoors, toys and games, computers and software and electronics direct you to what you need.
- DealTime: DealTime comes with a shopping guide and store directory, plus searchable categories so you can easily compare deals.
- Street Prices: This shopping search engine is committed to "sniffing out the best prices on the web."
- Bottomdollar.com: Get the best deal on books, cameras, furniture and more.
- mySimon: This little guy directs you to some of the best sales online.
- PriceSCAN: Here you can view price trends, get vendor ratings, and easily find the product you want.
- Nextag: Nextag finds deals in mortgages, travel, and regular shopping categories.
Travel Deals and Tools
A recession doesn’t mean you have to cancel all your vacations. Use these sites and tools to find the best deals on ticket prices, attractions, public transportation and more.
- TravelZoo: Look for flights and hotels all over the world, plus vacation specials and packages on this site.
- Kayak: Kayak searches over 140 travel booking sites to find you the best deals, while still allowing you to buy directly from the travel sites.
- Trip Advisor: Make sure you get the most out of your trip and the best deals by reading reviews, getting vacation ideas and finding the best restaurants, transportation and attractions for less.
- Booking Buddy: Use Booking Buddy to search Expedia, Orbitz, American Airlines and other travel sites.
- EasyJet: If you can’t get a cheap flight to your first destination in Europe, fly to a hub and then use the more budget-friendly airline EasyJet for a connection.
- Transport Direct: If traveling throughout Britain, use this site to get public transportation directions, car routes, day trip ideas, bus stops and more.
- Google Transit: Google Transit will connect you to the closest public transportation option and then get you to your destination. Find public transit in the U.S., Europe and more.
- GasBuddy: When planning a road trip, make sure you know where to stop for the cheapest gas along the way when you use this tool.
Saving Money on Food
Food is a necessity and often carves out a large portion of our budgets. Use these tools to make sure you’re saving as much as you can on grocery shopping and eating out.
- Vegetable Gardening Guru: Grow your own vegetables to save money at the grocery store.
- Beer Tools: Learn how to make your own beer with these recipe generators and other beer tools.
- Diet.com recipes: Instead of buying trendy and expensive diet foods, learn how to make your own healthy meals.
- All Recipes: Watch how-to videos, start your own blog, and create an online recipe box to store meal ideas and cheap snacks.
- Cheap Eats: This blog directs you to cheap food in cities like Detroit, Eugene, OR, and Las Vegas. You can also find recipes and tips for finding and making cheap food.
- New York Eat Cheap 2008: New Yorkers and those planning to visit the Big Apple can find the best of inexpensive restaurants here.
- 20 Ways to Save on Groceries: Bankrate’s list has lots of great tips for helping you budget your grocery bill.
- The Grocery Game: Get tips for saving money on groceries, find coupons, and more.
- Healthy, Cheap, Tasty and Quick: The Grocery Store Grand Slam and Eight Tips on How to Achieve It: The Simple Dollar has excellent tips on getting through your grocery trip stress-free and without spending too much.
- Sam’s Club Store Locator: Consider getting a membership to Sam’s Club so that you can save money on groceries and other items.
Check these coupon sites to cancel out online shipping costs and more.
- RetailMeNot: Find free shipping and discount coupons for ebay, Kohls.com, PapaJohns.com, VictoriasSecret.com and others.
- DealCatcher: With DealCatcher, you can find coupons and learn about the best deals of the day.
- CouponCabin: Go to CouponCabin.com to get savings plans, free shipping and clearance prices.
- Cool Savings: Here you can find printable coupons for groceries, clothing, pet items and more.
- Fat Wallet: Fat Wallet is an online cash saving community that lets you connect with other shoppers, find coupons, earn cash back and more.
- Flamingo World: On this site, you can find online coupons for Bluefly, Ann Taylor, Target and more.
- CurrentCodes: Browse by store merchant or by category to find coupons for your favorite products and stores.
- Wow Printable Coupons: Find printable coupons for restaurants, shopping, travel, rebates and more.
- Best VoIP Service Coupons: Compare deals at the top Voice over IP service providers.
- CheapStingyBargains: This site posts coupons and even has a forum and price comparing tool.
Free Business Tools
Continue to grow your business despite the recession with these free or almost-free tools.
- Entrepreneur.com: Access Entrepreneur.com’s business tools to search for vendors, start your online business, create a logo and more.
- Inc.com: Membership to Inc.com is free and gives you access to tips and tools regarding employee management, client relations, financial management and more.
- Bplans: Get tips on writing a business plan and design your plan based on one of 500 sample plans.
- Google Docs: Create spreadsheets, word documents and more with this free set.
- Zoho: This free collection of productivity and business apps features an online organizer, wiki, notebook, presentation tool, spreadsheets, invoicing, CRM and more.
- Backpack: Organize your small business, vendors and contacts online with this project management and streamlining tool.
- Campfire: Manage group chats without having to pay for commutes and travel with Campfire.
- Highrise: Make your clients feel super special when you use this CRM tool. Comes with a 30-day free trial.
- Blinksale: You can send up to three invoices per month for free with this online invoicing program.
- LinkedIn: Join this networking community to instantly broaden your contacts base, find new jobs and discover promising opportunities.
If you give up fun altogether in the name of savings, the recession will damage your mood and relationships, not just your budget. Check out these resources for ways to have fun on the cheap.
- My Open Bar: If you live in New York City, Chicago, LA, Miami, Honolulu or San Francisco, check this website for spots with free or almost free drinks specials. More cities to come.
- Daily Candy: Subscribe to this daily e-mail service that lets you know all the cool (and affordable) sales, and special events and parties for foodies, fashionistas, the art crowd and more.
- PaperBack Swap: Join this community to mail books to fellow readers and get books sent to you. You can also swap hardbacks and audio books.
- SwapTree: Trade books, music, DVDs and video games with online friends using this service.
- Shop Freebies: Shop for free samples and get coupons for household items, travel and more.
- CompleteTickets.com: Get discounted movie, concerts, theater, and sporting events tickets here.
- Okaya: Okaya is an event search engine that helps you find discounted travel, concert, sports and theater tickets.
- Citysearch: Search bars, spas, restaurants and more by price range here.
- Chowhound: Get recommendations for quality, but economical, bars, recipes and restaurants.
- Fun Free or Cheap Things to Do In Your City for $5 or Less: Click on the map to find cheap things to do in your city, or in a major city near you.
Health and Fitness
Don’t neglect your health during a recession: from free clinics to personal fitness and diet tools, these resources will keep you healthy.
- HRSA Find a Health Center: Use this tool to find federally-funded health centers that can help you out, even if you don’t have insurance.
- NeedyMeds.org: Click on your state to find low-cost clinics.
- PPARx.org: This free clinic finder finds health care facilities in your zip code.
- iPod Workouts: Download free and cheap workouts to your iPod to save you money from classes and trainers.
- Body Fat Calculator: Calculate your body fat by yourself with this tool.
- StartYourDiet.com: Set up a free account to get daily weight tracking support, a diet profile, daily food journal and more.
- The Diet Channel: Use the tools on this website to learn more about diet and fitness. Use the exercise calculators, find daily meal plans and more.
- WebMD: Look up symptoms and get medical advice for free on this site.
- MayoClinic: The website for the prestigious Mayo Clinic features treatment help, information about drugs and supplements, a symptoms and diseases page, and plenty more.
- Doctors Lounge: Head to this site to ask medical questions without going to the doctor’s office.
General Recession Advice
For even more tips and advice on how to thrive during a recession, turn to these guides.
- WiseBread: This site teaches you how to live "large on a small budget." Find shopping and travel deals, get personal finance tips, and more.
- Tips for Surviving a Recession: Kathleen Pender of SFGate gives readers tips for emergency saving and more.
- 3 Ways to Recession Proof Your Finances: This article cautions readers to avoid credit cards, go back to using coupons and more.
- Recession Tips for Web Designers: This guide is helpful for web designers and freelancers who need to stay afloat during tough economic times.
- 40+ Ways to Survive a Recession: Get tips for saving money on groceries, cell phone bills and more.
- Managing Debt: Suze Orman has lots of tips for managing and paying off debt here.
- How to Protect Yourself in a Recession: Mellody Hobson has advice for locking in fixed mortgage rates in this article.
- Recession Management: Positive brand image: Learn how to make your brand work for you and sustain your business during a recession.
- Recession 101: What are the signs?: Learn how to recession-proof your finances and stay afloat in a bad economy.