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5 Reviews by R

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Weather Underground

Weather Underground

11/1/12

Best source in an emergency (if you have internet available) - specifically their NEXRAD animated map.

Why? Because it is "near real time" with almost "google maps" level of granularity on zoom that tells you what is happening near your home and family. Simultaneously, it animates the storms, showing the storm cells (with their type, direction and relative power), and the area covered by the watch/warning from the National Weather service.

There were tornadoes in our area this summer. We found this more relevant and reliable than the tv reports (sporadic and higher level), the local news station websites, and competing weather reporting websites (too high level, or not granular enough). Fortunately, the tornadoes were well to the west and to the east of us, but we would never know for sure watching the news. We avoided being unnecessarily panicked, while having the surety of knowing when we had to pull the trigger to hunker down.

Sometimes the media over-hype storms, which breeds cynicism. Wunderground's tool will help you discern what is real and may well help save your and your family's life.

Only thing better would be an actual real time feed with this level of granularity, but I have not found that yet. If you do, post it in the comments please.

Cashbackholic

Cashbackholic

11/1/12

Cannot rely on it for 100% accuracy, but is a good place to start and covers most of the large retailers you are likely to use.

Many CB sites have rates set by categories. This site will usually present the highest rate, which is likely not relevant to you (as those higher CB rates are rather restrictive). Essentially, you must click through and read the CB sites' own description of the retailers to know.

Their ratings of CB sites are fairly accurate - maybe too optimistic for some, while slightly too pessimistic for the best ones, based on our experience.

GasBuddy

GasBuddy

11/1/12

We use it regularly to find the cheapest price within vicinity of any planned trips (e.g. on way to a store, on errand, on way back from work). It is generally accurate, but I have some custom searches that I have found some inaccurate results (i.e. some retailers were missing from the results list). However, if you click through to the map, you can easily see the best prices in the vicinity of your travels.

SlickDeals

SlickDeals

11/1/12

A great place to check if you are looking for a type and brand of item (e.g. canon camera, dell computer, panasonic hdtv). If you are too specific, may be hard to find an exact fit. Also, worth a check before you head out the door to your favorite retailer, to identify specific deals or store-wide promotions you can take advantage of.

Kayak

Kayak

11/1/12

I was a big fan of Kayak, but I want to warn everyone about a recent experience that has changed my mind. Our family lost $1000 in savings because of a Kayak alert failure.

I set up a daily alert for specific outbound and return dates. The alerts only last for 10 days at a time (highly inconvenient if you plan trips any reasonable time in advance, such as searching for a flight a month or more ahead of time - e.g. Xmas, three months in our case). I had it running (with resets) for about six weeks and saw only minor fluctuations in price. However, with my most recently reset alert, it failed to come after the seventh day (the email on the seventh one said it will expire in "three more messages" = 3 more days). It resumed again on the 10th day (last day of that cycle).

When I went to reset the alert, I did a check on Kayak's "chart" to see past price fluctuations and noticed that there was a $300+ dip very recently. After reviewing all my alerts, it became obvious that it occurred during the time frame of the missing alerts (represents over a $1000 missed savings for our family). Also, that alert on the 10th day and all subsequent email alerts from the reset now have a new format (i.e. look and feel).

Like most people, I'm pretty busy these days so did not specifically notice that the emails were missing as they hit my general email along with hundreds of others on a daily basis. I usually just give them a quick look as they come in. What's the point of having an alert if I cannot rely on it, but instead need to specially monitor if it will come and then do a manual search myself if it doesn't? It seems likely, if not evident that Kayak were sloppy and screwed up in its transition to the new format, but fat chance getting them to admit so, nor, if they do, getting any meaningful consideration for it, given their terms of service. (I have contacted them and they are "looking into it" - my paraphrase).

So now I am signed up with five other services (not just one any more)...you can bet that my next booking will be on those ones - I may still use Kayak just to search a route and validate prices, but that's about it.

I give it two stars because it is a good site to validate prices, and because I have saved money in the past with alerts, but I highly recommend you have alerts set up with multiple services because of a lack of reliability with Kayak (and my fear that other services may be just as unreliable).

R Has Earned 16 Votes

R D.'s review of GasBuddy earned 4 Very Helpful votes
R D.'s review of Cashbackholic earned 5 Very Helpful votes
R D.'s review of Weather Underground earned 3 Very Helpful votes
R D.'s review of SlickDeals earned 3 Very Helpful votes
R D.'s review of Kayak earned a Very Helpful vote

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