Wait for the paperback (which typically comes out six to nine months after the hardcover, at about half the price), or check sites like Powell's Books, Strand Book Store, Amazon.com, and Overstock.com for used and overstock books. If you buy a lot, consider an annual membership card from a chain like Barnes & Noble ($25) or Books-A-Million ($20), which will give you 10 percent off most in-store purchases. Remember, though, that you have to spend plenty of money on books annually (at least $250 at Barnes & Noble and $200 at Books-A-Million) to break even. Of course, the library offers the best deal: It's free, as long as you remember to return the book before those 20-cents-a-day fines start piling up.
The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, an industry group located in Boston, says that on average it costs $150 to enroll and $50 a month for a single adult membership. If you go rarely, it may be cheaper to buy a few day passes. See if you can join through your company, which can shave an average of $65 off the enrollment fee and $7 off the monthly charge. Even better, ask if your local gym is running a sale: Some hold once-a-year anniversary sales, others will cut prices at the end of a month when a quota needs to be met.
There is no set yearly schedule for sales on computers and consumer electronics, says Glenn Cunningham, director of the electronics store at Amazon.com. Instead, these items go on sale when manufacturers introduce a new version or need to sell a lot quickly to impress investors. To take advantage of these sudden, deep discounts, decide exactly what you want to buy, then go to a site like Slick Deals
, or Techbargains
, where you can check for the day's latest discounts. The latter two let you set up free e-mail alerts that tell you when a specific item―or something in a general category, such as "Dell laptop"―has gone on sale.