It’s the season of gifts, holiday parties, and new clothes! Don’t let spending overwhelm you, and start preparing now. Here are a few simple and quick ways you can save money now, and have more for those parties and gifts later.
Buy the Smaller Package
Yep, you read that right. Some supermarkets and drugstores charge more per unit for the supersize product. At my grocery store, the price for a 200-ounce bottle of Tide worked out to $3.71 a quart; the 100-ounce bottle, $3.52. Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail cost $2.66 a quart in the larger size, $2.29 in the smaller size.
Join a Ticket Club
In big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York, online ticket distributor Goldstar.com helps theaters and clubs get rid of unsold seats by offering last-minute discounts to members; tickets are sometimes offered free when a theater needs to generate word-of-mouth for a little-known show. You can also find good deals through stubhub.com, where people resell tickets they can’t use.
Get Free (and Souped Up) 411.
Dial 800-GOOG-411, tell the nice computer what you’re looking for, and Google does the rest. When I asked for a French restaurant in Brooklyn, it named 10 popular spots, sent a text message containing the address and phone number of my selection, and connected me to the restaurant so I could make a reservation.
Give a Dog a Bone
Big rawhide chews cost $9.99 at pet stores. Instead, you can ask the butcher for a beef shinbone—you might pay a dollar or even get it for free!
Arbitrage Your Gift Cards
There are millions of dollars’ worth of unused store gift cards lying around. If you have one, you can sell or swap it at PlasticJungle.com. You can also buy gift cards at a discount averaging 15 percent off the card’s face value. Sample deals: a $1,000 Tiffany gift card selling for $875; a $336 Lucky Brand Jeans card for $245. There’s no risk—PlasticJungle verifies the balance on each card.
These are just a few great tips for saving money every day. As long as you look for deals and stick to your budget, you can keep on track and have more for later.