Because there are so many unexpected costs in life, we are always looking to save a few dollars whenever possible. This includes searching for sales, clipping coupons and budgeting better. Another way to save that is growing in popularity involves a few minutes of Internet use.

More and more people are logging on to find ways to save with their favorite local, national and international businesses. How can you get involved?

Get Social: Companies, stores, restaurants… You name it, they are probably online. You can connect to these businesses on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products, daily specials or special discounts for connected users. You can also use Foursquare, a geolocation service for your smartphone, as a way to find tips and deals. Checking in on Foursquare can also be a source of information, with many places offering specials per check-in, “for the mayor,” on certain return visits, etc.

Check Your Inbox: Signing up for a business’ email list is a great way to stay up to date with what’s going on. Customers who sign up for the email newsletter are likely very invested in that business, enough so that they took the time to sign up! Emails can include discounts, upcoming sales, new products/dishes/etc. and more!

Sign Up for Daily Deals: We’ve all seen advertisements for daily deal sites, and they are available locally. Groupon is available in Columbia, while LivingSocial is only available for St. Louis and Kansas City deals. In addition to these national programs, you can utilize deals provided by Inside Columbia and the Add Sheet.

Using these deal services doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make any online purchases. However, it’s important to remember that anytime you make a purchase online, make sure you are doing so securely to protect your credit card and personal information. This can be easily determined by a site’s URL: The address should include “https” instead of “http.” A lock will also appear in the search bar.

Using online resources as a way to save is a quick and easy way to get discounts right at your fingertips. In addition, most online deal resources don’t cost anything to sign up for and let you participate in the deals that you choose. So simple!

What online resources do you use to save?