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Frugality is in style, but that doesn't mean you should unnecessarily sacrifice important aspects of your routine for the sake of saving money. Take advantage of the digital tools you have to help find deals and cheaper alternatives to the products and services you already use. Follow these five tips to help slash costs without sacrificing your fun this summer.

1. Set up coupon alerts: Give your e-mail address to the cashier at check-out the next time you're at one of your usual retail haunts and receive coupons directly in your inbox. Many third-party websites also offer free Web and printable retailer coupons. Get cash back from purchases four times a year through Ebates, which partners with retailers on special coupons, and sign up for community discount services like the popular

2. Download a barcode-scanning app: Check out ShopSavvy or a similar application that uses your smart phone's camera to scan an item's barcode and provide you with competing local and Web retailers' prices for that same product. Avoid an Internet security mishap by only buying from familiar and secure websites.

3. Get rid of your landline: Cut out this extra service only if everyone in your household has a cell phone. Chances are, you make and receive most of your phone calls on your cell anyway, so unless you have dial-up Internet, you likely have little use for a home phone. Instead of making long distance calls, use Skype – best when secured through one of the many highspeed Internet packages available – to chat with far-away friends for free.

4. Plan nights out around bar specials: Look up time and gender-specific cover charges for bars you plan on checking out so you can get in the door for less. Find drink specials on bars' websites and MyOpenBar using your Internet satellite access. Many restaurants offer discounted appetizers and entrees during certain times of the night, and even freebies to a certain number of customers. You can also use your smart phone to find your next destination, the best specials and even your friends using networking applications like Facebook or Foursquare.

5. Watch movies online: Save time and money spent on trips to the rental store and sign up for a movie service like Netflix that allows you to stream movies instantly to your computer. You'll have a greater selection and support the movie industry by watching a legitimate online stream instead of a pirated movie. Also take advantage of movie rental kiosks like Redbox, which offers new releases at $1 per night.

Using the digital tools you already have helps you find great discounts and painlessly reduces your spending. With so many convenient technological resources out there, why settle for spending more money than you need to? With a good Internet connection and a little research time, savings are just around the corner.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.