The Internet can be a powerful money-saving resource—especially if you know how to use specialized tools to find online content.

One useful tool is Google Alerts, a free service that notifies users when new content on the Internet matches selected terms. For example, Ryan Gosling fanatics can set up a Google Alert to dispatch an email every time new “Ryan Gosling” content pops up on No doubt, that would blow up your e-mail. Is it hot in here? Never mind. (No federal laws were violated by using Google Alerts to stalk Hollywood’s hottest man candy.)

In addition to feeding my Gosling obsession, I use Google Alerts to save money and time in two ways: (1) to receive automatic alerts when a new coupon or coupon code appears online for a product or retailer that I've specified; and (2) to receive automatic alerts when the price of a particular product drops below a dollar amount that I've specified.

How to Use Google Alerts to Find Coupons and Coupon Codes 

Step 1: Click here to visit the Google Alerts homepage.
Step 2: Type in “Ryan Gosling home address.”
Step 2: Fill out the Google Alert "form" (see image below).

  • Search query: If you want to find new coupons for a particular product, type the product’s name plus the word “coupon” in quotation marks. For example, if you're looking specifically for Pampers coupons, enter "Pampers coupons" in the search query box. Use quotation marks around a phrase or concept of two or more words. If you're looking for coupon codes for a specific store, use the store name plus coupons in quotation marks (e.g. "J.Crew coupon code"). You can also enter a search query for particular types of coupons or coupon codes using Google Alerts (e.g. "Listerine BOGO" or "J.Crew free shipping"). There is no limit to how many simultaneous Google Alerts you can set up (like “favorite food Ryan Gosling”). I also use the search term “Facebook freebies” to alert me to promotions.
  • Result type: Google Alerts can monitor the following different results types: news, blogs, Web, video, groups, or everything combined. Use the drop-down menu to select the results you want. I select "everything" as the most comprehensive option.
  • How often: Determines how often Google Alerts will notify you of new results. You can choose: as-it-happens, once a day, or once a week. Typically, I select "once a day" unless my Google Alert is exceptionally time sensitive (like "Facebook freebies" because of the limited quantities) which warrant "as-it-happens" alerts.
  • How many: Determines whether Google Alerts sends "only the best results" (Google will filter your results by relevance to your search query) or "all results." Typically, I select "all results" so I don't miss anything useful.
  • Your email: Enter your email address (it does not have to be a Gmail email address).

Step 3: Click on the red "Create Alert" button. Google Alerts will send you an email to confirm or cancel the alert. Confirm by clicking the link in the email and you’ll start getting the alerts!
Step 4: Modify or manage your Google Alert or use advanced features by clicking on the "Manage Your Alerts" button. To use advanced features, sign in to the site with a Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, register for one for free here.

How to Use Google Alerts to Set a Price Drop Alert

  • I’ve had my eye on a Nikon Coolpix S6200 digital camera (which could capture from a mandatory 100-yard distance a certain Hollywood celebrity), but the lowest price on the Internet is $129.99. I’ll only pay $100 or less. So I created a Google Alert to notify me when the price of this camera drops below $100.
  • To set up this Google Alert, enter a search query of "Nikon Coolpix S6200 $1..$100" (see picture below). Put the entry in quotation marks. The first amount ($1 for this example) is the minimum amount you'll pay. The second amount ($100 for this example) is the maximum amount you'll pay. Enter two periods (with no spaces) between the minimum amount and the maximum amount to signify to Google Alerts that $1 to $100 is the desired price range.

  • Interested in all brands of digital cameras costing between $50 and $110? Enter the following search query: "digital camera $50..$110".
  • When setting a Google Alert for a price drop alert, I recommend selecting "as it happens" from the "How often" drop-down menu. Since an item often sells out quickly once its price drops, you'll want immediate notice so you don't miss out.

I’ve saved so much time and cash I have enough to buy a ticket to wherever the golden Adonis of Hollywood is currently filming. And maybe even enough to cover the required 10 percent for my bail.

Editor’s Note: No one associated with is stalking or advocates stalking Ryan Gosling (no matter how tempting). Are you using Google Alerts? Plan to set some up? Tell us about it in the comments.

Tech Tool: Use Google Alerts to Save Cash (and stalk Ryan Gosling)