April 30, 2010

Why You Need a Reader

The question I get asked most often about saving money is: "How do you have time to do all this?" Well, there are lots of answers to that question, but the two most important reasons are this:

1) I don't really watch TV (I only watch one hour a week). I would much rather spend my "down" time online reading blogs or reading a book. (If you watch a lot of TV and say you don't have enough time to save money then you are "paying" for your choice.)

2) I use several tools to help me find deals and coupons faster.

I've already mentioned my favorite tool for getting lots of freebies with little time and effort. This post is about how to read lots of deal blogs quickly and efficiently. I can read about 20 blogs in the time it takes me to check my email. The key is I don't visit each blog/site individually. Instead, they come to me in the form of an RSS subscription in my reader.

Once you have a "reader" you just add all the sites you want to follow and then check the reader like you would your email. All the new posts show up as they are published and are saved there until you go to read them. You just have to scroll through them. No more going to a blog only to see it hasn't been updated. You just "set it and forget it". [Hey, I sound like an infomercial!] If you have an Gmail account you already have a reader, just look at the top of your Gmail page and you'll see:

Click on the word "Reader" between Documents and Web.

A reader really is a huge time saver! You can organize your reader any way you see fit. So if you are only in the mood to read friends blogs but want to skip the others you can do so easily. I subscribe to all sorts blogs, including several "money saving" and freebie blogs. Another great feature of a reader is the ability to search what you've read. If you want to look up an old post for some reason (ex: where was that Colgate coupon link?) then, in Google Reader anyway, you can just use the search function.

This is a great way to keep up with the deal blogs... just search the store you're looking for a deal at and all posts from all the sites you subscribe to will show up (sorted most recent first). This is how I make my CVS or Walgreens shopping lists.

I know may of you are fans (or "like") blogs and deal sites on Facebook to keep up with posts. This can work well for you if you are on Facebook all the time. But if you don't happen to see a post on your Facebook feed you could miss some really great deals. It is also difficult to go find old posts on Facebook. Plus, I'm sure you'll notice most blogs just link to their sites and you still have to go visit each site individually anyway. If you read a lot of deal blogs this can take a lot of time. Why not cut out the middle man and have the posts come to you.

I use Google Reader, but there are other "readers" available. They are easy to set up and easy to check. There really is no reason not to give it a try! There's no need for bookmarks or clicking on each site to check for new posts. An added benefit is you won't miss any posts, they stay there until you read them.

If you're skeptical, just give it a try... I think you'll be surprised!

Here is a YouTube video that explains it for you visual learners:

*This is an edited post from my personal blog.


Jon said...

I agree 100%. An RSS reader makes keeping track of everything you're interested in very easy. You can follow more than just blogs using an RSS reader. For example, I use my reader to follow favorite searches on Craigslist. Anytime someone lists an new item with my search terms, it shows up in my reader. This is helpful during rummage sale season. I can set up a search to tell me when there are rummage sales in the towns that I live near.

Shelly said...

Wow, thanks Jon... I knew you could follow a lot of stuff, but I never thought about using it with Craigslist. I'm going to give that a try!