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google voice

An important part of being frugal and saving money is finding ways to reduce your expenses while at the same time working to increase your income. Even though I fail a lot I try pretty hard to reduce my costs whenever possible. Like switching cable providers (or at least threating to) to get your bill slashed. When you get creative and look for alternatives there is always ways to reduce your spending so you can increase the gap between income and expenses. Over the last couple of months I have come across three website which have helped me to significantly reduce my expenses.

GoogleVoice (http://google.com/voice)

Google Voice provides you with a single phone number that will dial all of your other numbers. It is the ultimate in portable numbers because it isn’t tied to a carrier at all so if you change cell phones you just have to change where it forwards to and no one needs to update their contacts. The biggest draw to me however, was the ability to use Google Voice for SMS on my iPhone. AT&T and Apple  won’t allow the Google Voice App for the iPhone (if You have Android you are solid). You can get around it quite easily for about $2.00, here is how:

As of last week Google updated the mobile version of Google Voice to be pretty kick A$# (see picture to the left). Using the mobile website you can EASILY initiate new SMS messages, phone calls, and play voice mails from your Google Voice account. It is pretty much the same as if you had an app actually installed on your phone to do the work. The only thing it won’t do is alert you on new voice mails or SMS since it has no way to push to the iPhone. Enter GmailPush ($1.99), it sends a push notification whenever I get an e-mail so with the SMS forwarded to e-mail instead of my phone POW! Free SMS with notifications.

This allows me to use the lowest text plan as opposed to the unlimited plan saving me $15.00 per month.

Retail Me Not (http://retailmenot.com)

If you have never dropped by Retail Me Not before doing some serious online shopping then you are missing out on some great opportunities for savings. Retail Me Not is a user driven coupon code tracking site. People submit coupon codes for various online merchants and other users vote on the success or failure of the coupon codes. This allows you to get the best codes and most savings when shopping online. I discovered this little beauty when doing my Christmas shopping this year and saved $90.

Box.net

This site is relatively new to me, I already use DropBox to keep needed files synced between my iPhone, netbook, and desktop but that is simply storage and syncing. Box.net however lets you do some pretty neat stuff with sharing files. The reason it is so beneficial to me is that you can fax your uploaded documents via eFax for free. **Updated 02/08/2010, box.net is now charging for eFax services, it looks like if you had already added the app you are cool but it is a pay service now, BOO!”** I have to send out a fax every month for Dependant care claims and because I didn’t want to pay some online service to do it I kept a home phone around. Now that I can fax online through Box.net I dropped the home phone saving me $30 per month.

Right there with three free website I was able to save $90 shopping and $540 in monthly charges throughout the year. Not to bad for the little amount of work it took. What sites do you use to help you cut down on those pesky expenses?

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