Editor’s note: Matt Rutledge comes to TaylorEason.com from the School of Experience. He’s spent the last year figuring out how to save as much money as humanly possible and he actually agreed to share his hard-knocks knowledge with us. In this economy, we need all the help we can get! I guarantee he’ll introduce you to new deals and discounts you haven’t thought of and if you have others to suggest, please share in the comments! His first post:
Saving money at restaurants:
- As far as saving at restaurants, my favorite website by far is Restaurant.com which offers restaurant gift certificates at a greatly reduced price. But as with all discounts, you have to do it correctly to get the most bang for your buck. To start, sign up for a free account so that when gift certificates go on sale you’ll receive an email alert. Word to the Wise: This site often has sales as low as $2 for a $25 gift certificate. Just make sure you check out all the terms and conditions on the certificate before buying so you won’t have any surprises.
- Another great way to get a ton of discounts at restaurants is to sign up on the websites of the restaurant itself. For example Ruby Tuesday offers a Buy One Entree Get One Free coupon when you sign up for their email club. Some restaurants such as Zaxby’s and Captain D’s give you a free meal or a free appetizer just for signing up for their email club and many restaurants, such as Ruby Tuesday, Denny’s, Bonefish Grill and Moe’s send you a coupon for free a meal on your birthday, as well as send coupons throughout the year. If you receive too many meals to eat in one day, order take out and freeze the food for later. Word to the Wise: Already used that Buy One Get One Free coupon or Free Meal coupon at your favorite restaurant and want another? Simply sign up for the email club again with a different email address and another one will be on it’s way to you!
- One of my favorite websites to score tons of free stuff is Freecycle.org. It’s a place where people can give away things they don’t want or find things they need and the best thing is everything is FREE. You can find everything from appliances to furniture to concert tickets. To start, simply find your local Freecycle group on the site then send a request to become a member. It takes just minutes to set up an account and I recommend you have it setup to send messages to your email address so that when someone sends an offer you’ll be notified immediately. When you see something you want, simply reply to the email and then you can make arrangements with the person for pick up. Word to the Wise: Don’t delay when you see something you want. It’s not uncommon for something to be claimed within minutes of going on the site. Also make sure to ask questions to clarify it’s something you really want. For example: Was this bed in a non smoking home? Does the washer actually work?
- It may seem like a cliché but the Sunday paper really IS your best friend. The coupons and sales ads are indispensible when it comes to really getting a good deal. Most coupons are really not going to save you much unless they are combined with a good sale. CVS is one of my favorite places to use coupons because of the CVS Extra Care Bucks which can be combined with a sale, manufacture coupons and CVS coupons. So, for example, an item is on sale for $4 but it also pays you $4 in Extra Care Bucks. I use a $3 off manafacture coupon and a $1 CVS coupon, so my cost is only a few cents of tax but I still get $4 in Extra Care Bucks to use on my next purchase, which can be potentially combined again with a sale, manafacture coupon and CVS coupon, etc. All you have to do is sign up for a free card in the store. Talk about a good deal! Word to the Wise: Some of the Extra Care Buck deals allow more than 1 deal per card. Be sure to take advantage. If not, simply get a second card. Also, scan your card at the Extra Care machine at the front of the store and it will give you additional CVS coupons.