7 Smart Bargains from People Who Know Best
See Movies for Less
“You can see the latest blockbusters—for less—long before they land in your Netflix queue. Big studios, like Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Warner Bros. Pictures, often give free screenings of major releases before the official release dates to amp up publicity or gather market research. The resource site Gofobo.com lists several shows a week in cities across the country. Or hit an early matinee at your local AMC theater [amctheatres.com]; every location offers $6 tickets to shows before noon.”
Meg Favreau is a senior editor for the personal-finance site WiseBread.com.
Get Cheaper Prescription Medicine
“Register with BidRx.com, a site where pharmacies, both local and mail-order, compete for your business, netting you discounts on maintenance drugs you take for chronic conditions, such as asthma and osteoporosis. Or download the free Rx iCard app, which functions like a discount card for name-brand and generic meds that aren’t filed with your insurance plan, giving you an average of 30 percent off. Just present your smartphone to the cashier to scan at checkout.”
Farnoosh Torabi is the author of Psych Yourself Rich ($23, amazon.com) and the host of Financially Fit, a web series on Finance.Yahoo.com.
Befriend Sales Associates
“Are you head over heels for a pair of pretty sandals but cringing at the price? Become friendly with the sales associate and ask her to call you if the item you’re interested in gets marked down. Say, ‘I love these shoes but unfortunately can’t afford them right now. Would you let me know if they go on sale?’ This strategy works best at upscale department stores.”
Vicky Oliver is the author of The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire Even If You’re Not ($13, amazon.com).
Change Your Dining Out Habits
“Impulsively eating out can cost you a lot. Cut down on these expenses by adopting a couple of basic policies: Dine out only if you make a reservation in advance, and when you’re planning your weekly budget, work in the probable total cost of that meal, including parking fees and a babysitter, if you need one.”
Patricia Seaman is a senior director at the National Endowment for Financial Education, a Denver-based nonprofit.
Sign Up for Frequent Traveler Progams—If You're an Actual Frequent Traveler
“Travel loyalty rewards are alluring, even when they’re accompanied by an annual fee. But chasing after those coveted points can lead to spending much more than you initially intended. That’s why it’s not worthwhile to have an airline- or hotel-affiliated credit card unless you’re a frequent traveler (taking two round-trip plane trips a month or more). As an alternative, use the free airfare-tracking feature at Yapta.com, which alerts you when prices drop. And when it comes to lodging, try negotiating a 20 percent discount off the quoted rate with a hotel manager.”
Christopher Elliott is a reader advocate for National Geographic Traveler and the author of Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals ($25, amazon.com).
Keep a Money Journal
“Writing down all your expenses—from a new iPhone to the wrap you bought for lunch—makes you less inclined to spend frivolously. Like keeping a food diary, this is not the easiest task, but a money log compels you to think twice before dropping any cash. Keep all your receipts, and tally them up at the end of each week.”
Andrew Hallam, a school teacher, is the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School ($17, amazon.com).
Eat Less Meat
“Roast chicken and pork chops are among the most popular dinner choices, and that’s fine. But you can save a lot if you eliminate at least one to two pounds of meat from your diet weekly—that’s about the equivalent of one dinner for a family of four. Replace that with a meal based on whole grains and beans to save about $6 a week.”
Kate Rowe is a culinary content developer for Whole Foods Market. She lives in Austin, Texas.