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Planning Retirement Online

Shopping Around

One of the best things about the internet is that it enables us to 'shop around' in order to get the best deals. We can shop around on the internet for anything that we care to think of.

There are a number of ways in which to shop around:

  • We can physically travel round looking at various examples of whatever we want to buy and then return to the best one
  • We can get on the telephone and ring round various suppliers to see what they have to offer
  • We can use the internet to compare things. Once you have your computer and internet provider this is the cheapest and most convenient method of shopping around
  • We can use a combination of the above. It's sensible to start with the internet and then either phone or make a personal visit if we feel it's necessary

Making the Most of the Internet links

When we shop around on the internet there are three ways in which to do it:

- Use a search engine to show all the relevant websites, which you can then click on and read. The most popular search engine is Google but you may have others on your computer that you prefer to use. There's also another search engine, called Bing, which is getting very popular. So if, say, you wish to buy a cheap plane ticket to Edinburgh you go into Google (or Bing or any other search engine) and type in, for example, 'Cheap Flights to Edinburgh'. It will then present you with all the different websites through which you can buy a ticket, you read the ones that you think look most helpful, see what they have to offer and then make your selection.

- Go straight to the individual websites that you know offer flights to Edinburgh, read them and select. You miss out the Google step but the disadvantage is that you might miss out on a website that will offer you the best deal.

- Use a price comparison website that will provide you with the shopping around process without the effort. So for your cheap flight to Edinburgh, you might go to cheapflights.co.uk. If going to Edinburgh is something you do regularly, you could put this into your 'Favourites' on your computer so that you can go straight to it. Or you can use either of the first two methods above to get to it.

Some of the most useful general price comparison websites are:

For almost anything we can think of:

For sites that specialise in comparing utility prices, whilst providing other comparisons as well, try:

One of the big areas for potential savings is insurance. When we're busy and the annual house, contents or car insurance bill comes through the letterbox we very often feel that we could get it cheaper but just don't have the time to do the research. The internet should give you the time.

For a site that specialises in comparing all sorts of insurance but also covers utilities, money and motoring, try Confused.com

Insurance and finance sites include:

If you want tips and ideas on how to save money in all sorts of ways, including price comparisons, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com

For more general help with financial planning, go to our Planning Retirement section.

These are only examples of the many websites that are available. Spend some time looking at them as and when you need to or feel the urge to and put the ones you like the best into your Favourites. They're then just one click away.

There is no doubt that shopping around will enable you to save money. Using the internet to do so is the easiest and most convenient way of doing so, even if you feel that you might then want to see what you are going to buy before doing so - for household goods in particular. For things that you don't need to see, for example, books, DVDs, ink cartridges and so on, the internet is an ideal place to look for cheaper products.

This Guide to Making the Most of the Internet is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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