A Flight for Ten Bucks?
Check out Spirit Airlines'
$9 fare club. For $39.95 a year, you can access ridiculously inexpensive flights—even $2 fares. The airline flies to many major cities and a slew of locations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and South America. You'll receive e-mails every six weeks, listing cheap fares like the recent $17 one-way ticket from Fort Lauderdale to New York City. Passengers on the same ticket will also get member prices (as long as the member books).
Baby, Have We Got a Deal for You
Attention, parents: Hold on to those 20 percent off coupons for Bed Bath & Beyond. Now that the store owns the chain BuyBuy Baby, you can use them there, too. That means a Chicco KeyFit 30 Cortina Travel System, normally $330, would be $264. (Coupons accepted only at BuyBuy Baby and Harmon stores; must be used by expiration date.)
Return six empty containers of MAC products (a blush compact, for example) to a MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics online and receive a free lipstick of your choice. (For information, go to MacCosmetics.com
and click on Giving Back.)
Around-the-Clock Sample Sale
Websites such as HauteLook.com
host private online sample sales that last 36 to 72 hours and feature items up to 70 or 75 percent off. Recently, a Laundry by Shelli Segal dress was on sale for $89 (originally $235). Gilt.com
is invitation only, but those who join the waiting list usually are admitted within a couple of weeks.
Use free open source software—downloadable via the Internet. For instance, GIMP, an image-producing, photo-retouching program similar to Photoshop, is available at no charge at Gimp.org
. Find other sources of free software at SourceForge.net
. And of course Google offers a variety of free options to manage documents, calendars, spreadsheets, and photos.
Many people know TravelZoo.com
as a great source for cheap flights, but the site also has a Deals Locator section, where you can learn about reduced-rate tickets for theater, concerts, and special events in your area (just enter your zip code). A Family Pack of tickets to a regular season Chicago White Sox baseball game is $17, and includes a voucher for hot dogs, chips and a soft drink.
You've likely heard that beauty schools offer free or seriously discounted haircuts by students under teacher supervision. At Aveda Institutes, for instance, you can get $15 to $25 cuts (AvedaInstitutes.com
). You might also try massage schools: The American Massage Therapy Association lists institutions on its site, searchable by state (AmtaMassage.org/amta-cos
). Steiner Education Group's chain of accredited massage schools has 17 locations, from Las Vegas to Miami, and offers 50-minute massages by students, usually Saturdays or Sundays, starting at $25 (SteinereEd.com
Dining Out on a Dime
lists restaurants that let you buy dining certificates at significant discounts. Recent deals? The Melting Pot in Boston, $25 certificate for $10; Bodega Restaurant & Lounge in Cleveland, $50 certificate for $20; Mac and Cheeza in Los Angeles, $10 certificate for $4.
, an online community for bargain hunters, features coupons, savings alerts, and rebate information. DealHunting.com
, and NaughtyCodes.com
have codes to enter at checkout for discounts on purchases or free shipping.
Most homeowner's premiums are neatly incorporated into the mortgage payment, so consumers don't consider reviewing them. That's a mistake. If you shop around and find something better, call your insurance provider and ask what they can do for you, suggests Ellie Kay, author of Living Rich for Less. Certain improvements (installing a security system or a new roof; adding storm shutters, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks) and even a change in habits (quitting smoking) could qualify you for lower rates. You can typically expect about 15 percent savings, Kay says.
Bring your toner cartridge back to Staples and receive $3 in Staple Rewards.
Play the Loyalty Card
Find out if your favorite lunch spot, coffee joint, or hair salon offers a loyalty card or promotions through Facebook. Così sandwich shops have a CosìCard, which provides a free reward after ten purchases; customers who become of fan of Champps Americana on Facebook
get a coupon for a free burger (participating locations only). At my local nail salon, a manicure is $10, but with the card, every tenth one is free.
Deal on Wheels
If you need a car but can't swing the down payment, you might consider taking over someone else's lease through SwapALease.com
. These websites match leaseholders with people who need cars. The customer must submit a credit application, and once approved, she assumes the rest of the monthly payments.
A Cheaper Commute
In March, the maximum tax-free transit benefit for commuters who use public transportation increased from $120 to $230 a month. That means commuters in the 25 percent tax bracket would save an extra $330 in a year. Contact your HR department to see if your company is registered and to obtain an application.
Don't Get Taken for a Ride
Talk to your auto insurance provider and ask if there are discounts available. Many companies offer lower rates if you have an anti-theft system, a garage, if you're a non-smoker, or if you're between ages 30 and 60. Drivers willing to spend a Saturday afternoon taking a safety course can fax their certificate of completion to their insurer; many receive about 15-percent off their premiums.
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
Grocery stores are providing incentives to green-minded shoppers: Whole Foods, for example, gives a 10-cent refund to shoppers who bring their own bags. Like this Hayden Harnett
tote ($27)? Here are 8 more green totes
The New Book Swap
A new entry in the book exchange world is PaperbackSwap.com
, where users can print wrapping and postage stamps ($2.23 for most paperbacks) right from their computer. Sign up, list your books, wait for the requests. For each title you send to another user, you get a credit, the equivalent of one book. Members receive two credits just for joining. Three more ways to find cheap books
Incredible Expanding Chest
Any many can tell you that your breasts grow throughout pregnancy and don't stop once the baby arrives. Instead of buying new sizes, you can buy one bra that will expand with you. La Leche League International Intimates by Q-T's adjustable Wrap N Snap nursing bra costs $19.50 at LLLIClothes.com
Scrutinize Your Bills
You might find anything from unrequested subscription renewals on your credit card bill to accidental double charges from retailers. Looking at my bank statement, I noticed I was being debited $15 every three months for an insurance policy I cancelled three years ago. Check the phone and cable bills, too; There's a common practice called cramming in which your own comapny or another service provider adds charges to your bill that are vague, misleading, or unauthorized, or you're billed for services you didn't receive. — Anne Kadet
E-mail Your Text Messages
It's free to send text messages to a cell phone from your computer—just type your friend's cell phone address into the "to" box in the e-mail header. For Verizon Wireless customers, the address is the firstname.lastname@example.org; for AT&T, email@example.com; for T-Mobile, firstname.lastname@example.org; for Sprint, email@example.com. — Anne Kadet
Get First Dibs on Sales
Clothing stores typically mark down their inventory on a certain night after they close the store—say, every Tuesday evening. For the best selection, ask a clerk which day is markdown day and show up first thing the next morning. — Anne Kadet
Check the Price By Phone
There's a way to find out—as you're standing in the aisle—if the store sale price is a good deal. Call 1-888-DO-FRUCALL and type in the bar code number of the product in question. Frucall's free service will tell you the range of prices that online retailers, including Amazon.com, charge for the same item. If you own an iPhone or an iPod Touch, the Amazon app does the same thing. — Anne Kadet
Use Your Flexible Spending Account
Only a third of eligible employees take advantage of FSAs, which allow you to take a teax deduction on medical expenses your insurance doesn't cover, including copays and therapy visits. A person making $35,000 could save $200 on taxes. — Anne Kadet
Farm Fresh For Less
If you're committed to staying organic, Community Supported Agriculture programs are cropping up all over the country. Pay $20-$30 (some require minimal community service as well) a week (or do a $10 half share for 1-2 people) in exchange for fresh veggies straight from the farm. Check LocalHarvest.org to find a CSA near you. A family of four that spends about $10 per person on produce a week could save as much as $80 per month. — Dorothea Hunter
High Art, Low Prices
Many museums offer free or discounted admission at particular times. In Manhattan, the Museum of Modern Art is free on Fridays from 4 pm to 8pm. Admission is free to the newly expanded Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.Don't break the bank: 25 more solid gold ways ways to save money on everything (updated for 2010!)