At college, the figure "101" often denotes an introductory course. These Web sites provide level 101 help on a variety of business, money and shopping topics.

Social media 101. Ladies Who Launch, a site for entrepreneurial women, has this explainer on the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other "social media" in building a business by extending your network, becoming widely accessible, and offering your expertise as a marketing tool.

Suite 101. The "101" in the name of this site based in Canada indicates its mission as a place to learn the basics of the hundreds of topics it covers. The writers get paid a share of the site's advertising revenue. Unusual topics include a primer on how to trade in debt, and articles cover such things as whom to tip on the holidays, how to cut expenses by taking cooking classes, and how to avoid loan sharks.

For last-minute shoppers, here's a Suite101.com article on "cheap Christmas gifts that look expensive."

Travel 101. Before fuel prices plummeted, you may have assumed that travel this year would be too expensive. But think again. There could be some deals out there for last-minute travel. Here on a "101" page at Cheapflights.com are some tips for getting those deals.

Investing 101. Here at About.com is a "beginner's corner" for would-be investors. The first lesson: Buy low. The zillion-dollar question is how to know if today's low market price will look high when a stock goes even lower tomorrow.

Courses 101. How do you really round out a college education? This surprising list of valuable courses - which includes wine appreciation, cross-cultural etiquette, and golf - is provided by WetFeet.com, a site of career and education advice.

Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.