Never Pay Full Price for These Things

Faced with decreased earnings as a result of the recession, consumers are putting their frugal mindsets to greater use. We’re increasingly demanding discounts and coupons on more categories in an effort to cut back our spending.

Let’s use dining out as an example. As a child growing up in the 90’s, I don’t ever remember my parents clipping restaurant coupons. Maybe it was because we lived in a small town with only a few restaurants to choose from. Today, I couldn’t imagine not looking online for a coupon before going out to eat. I don’t find one every time, but when I do the average savings is about 20%.

WiseBread has a list of 25 things to never pay full price for. I want to focus on a few and share some strategies that have worked for me.

1. Magazines

If you’re looking for a good variety of current, free magazines, look no further than your local library. Most libraries offer dozens of the most popular titles. If the library isn’t your thing, check out DiscountMags.com. They offer yearly subscriptions of rotating titles as low as $4, but you have to search for a coupon code to get that price. Amazon also has a good selection at decent prices.

Each time a renewal notice comes for one of your subscriptions, it’s a good idea to think about whether you actually read the magazine anymore. Do they sit in a pile on the coffee table collecting dust? If so, it’s time to cancel your subscription.

9. Gift Cards

Unless you are getting cash back or rewards points on your credit card, you should never pay full price for a gift card. Think about it. You’re taking actual, real cash and turning it into credit that you can only use at one store. For that inconvenience, you should get a discount of at least a few percent. Buying gift cards at a discount is a great way to save money before you even walk into the store.

GiftCardGranny.com is the best site I’ve seen for buying gift cards. It compiles gift cards from many different sources, so you don’t have to visit several sites to find the best deal. They give you a list of available cards from each store and provide info including the discount you get, shipping cost (if any) and who the seller is. I recently saw a JC Penney card valued at $130 on sale for $107 with free shipping — a discount of 18%!

13. Car Rentals

A quick trip over to Expedia to search for rental cars tells us that an economy car can cost as much as $50 a day, with the lowest price at $30. That’s expensive. So how do you find the best deal on a rental? There are two things you can do.

The first is to use Priceline. Using blind booking, you must agree to book a non-refundable rental for a set date. If you know your trip will definitely happen and you don’t care which company you rent from, this is the best way to go. You can save up to 40% using this method.

The second is to book at the cheapest published rate you can find online. Because car rentals are fully refundable pretty much up until the day of your trip, you can re-book at any time if a lower rate comes along. But who wants to constantly monitor for better rates? A new site called AutoSlash has developed a solution. You can either search for rentals on their site or enter a rental you’ve already booked. Then, they continually monitor for coupon codes or lower rates that pop up and automatically re-book you at the lower rate. It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Conclusion

Nobody should pay full price for everything they buy anymore. New websites become available every day to help us get a better deal on the things we buy. Use these resources and your own creativity to come up with ways to save on just about anything.

Image by swewhattearitup.wordpress.com

32 thoughts on “Never Pay Full Price for These Things

  1. Magazines and books are a huge waste of money unless you plan on reading them over and over or hang the book on your wall… I do like cook books however the internet is so easy to search for recipes and you are already paying to fire that up so you might as well get as much use out of it. Great tips. Mr.CBB

    • You’re right – most of what you pay for a magazine is shipping costs. If you subscribe online you often pay less and avoid the clutter. For recipes, I’ve found that there are tons of blogs out there that regularly post them. 5dollardinners.com is one of my favorites.

  2. I never, ever buy magazines anyway – I find it a bit of a waste. Sometimes, I’ll read my favorite magazines online. You’re right though about gift cards, sometimes you can find them on Craigslist for cheap as well.

    • My favorite place for magazines is the library. Mine has so many subscriptions that I could spend an entire day reading through them. I just don’t feel right if I don’t get my monthly Consumer Reports fix, haha.

      I already pay for these through my taxes, so I might as well use them 🙂

  3. With today’s shift to frugality it is now easier and easier to pay less than full price for so many everyday purchases. Saving some money is as simple as planning ahead and searching for discounts. Smart consumers are able to save a ton of money when all of these little discounts are added up. For anyone who does pay full price for most things, I do recommend checking out WiseBread’s list. Lots of good ideas on there.

    • You’re right that a little advance planning can go a long way. I would add flexibility as well. Especially when you’re traveling. My wife and I recently took a trip to Washington, D.C. and needed a hotel for two nights. We went out of our way to be flexible in terms of location and type of hotel, so we were able to book through Priceline and save big.

  4. I have either in the past year or recently received free subscriptions to the following magazines:
    -Woman’s Day
    -Newsweek
    -Outdoor Life
    -Bloomberg Business Week
    -Forbes

    Generally, I follow a blog and if they ever post about it, I’ll sign-up for the magazine if there is a chance I might actually read it. Just make sure not to sign-up for anything that asks for CC information.

    I’m guessing you have used GiftCardGranny before? I am always nervous about using sites like that.

    • That’s an impressive list of free magazines! I do the same thing, but I also worry about clutter. I try to read magazines quickly and get rid of them so they aren’t laying around.

      I haven’t personally used GiftCardGranny, but I’ve heard from several people who have had good experiences. It would be my first choice if I bought a used gift card. You’re right though, there’s no way to tell 100% that you aren’t getting ripped off. You have to take a small risk to get the discount.

  5. I got US Weekly and Star for 2 years for free just by signing up when I purchased stuff online at Forever 21. They cancel it automatically and do not charge you to renew. It was a really good deal, but there’s no way I will buy magazines today. I hesitate to buy books too because I do not like to reread books. I like to buy them used and then resell them for another reader on Amazon.

    I like the gift card idea – I will check that one out when I need a gift card.

    For my Chase credit card, when the cashback categories include groceries (meaning I get 5% at grocery stores) I like to buy gift cards at the grocery store – because I will get the 5% cash back! I can get Home Depot, Target, movie tickets, etc.

    • 2 years free…that’s a pretty good deal! Especially when they don’t bombard you with renewal notices. I don’t like buying books either unless I know I’ll reread them or refer to them often. I get 98% of my books from the library.

      I also have the Chase card. It’s a great card because they offer some popular categories. Buying gift cards at the grocery store is a good idea. You can end up with 5% back on a lot more categories that way.

  6. I like the idea of finding discounted gift cards. I’m gonna check that website you referenced the next time I go shopping and see if I can find a good deal. That’s a really great idea.

    • Thanks, Katie! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying gift cards for yourself, as long as you were planning to shop at a particular place anyway and you’re able to get a discount or cash back.

  7. Great post, I’ll have to check out wisebread’s post as well. I have never heard of giftcardgranny.com, very excited to check that one out. I like to use restaurant.com (going through ebates for cash back) and get a gift card for a local restaurant. My wife and I only dine out when we have a groupon, living social deal or simply a gift certificate from restaurant.com.

    • You sound like us! We try to only eat out when we have a coupon of some sort. I’ve looked into Restaurant.com and for us it’s not a good deal. On most of the offers you have to spend a minimum (often $50), and it would really be a stretch for us to order that much food since it’s only the two of us. If I was going as a bigger group though I’d definitely consider it!

  8. Plastic jungle is another good discount gift card site. And for rental cars you can always see if your insurance provider has any companies they offer discounts through. I’ll have to check out AutoSlash.
    I’ve found Expedia to be pricey, too.

    • Thanks for the tip about Plastic Jungle. I didn’t realize some auto insurers offer discounts – I’ll ask them about it next time I call. As for Expedia, I often use it to see what’s out there and get a sense of price range, then I’ll look for a better deal elsewhere. I use the Expedia price to gauge where I should start my Priceline bidding 🙂

  9. I always get the magazines and gift cards for DIRT cheap – especially through my credit card points. I’ve never tried Priceline to rent a car. I’ll have to try that one out next week for my upcoming business trip. Thanks!

    • Hi MMD, thanks for stopping by! I’ve never used credit card points to get magazines, but that’s a good idea. I have used them to get gift cards because they offer a $50 card for $40 in some cases. Priceline is great for rental cars as long as you don’t care which company you rent from. Also, I believe they’re non-refundable through Priceline, so just make sure your trip will definitely happen.

  10. I use Magazines.com for my my magazine subscriptions along with eBates. I get a discount from Magazines.com and then get cash back on what I spend from eBates. It’s a win-win for me.

  11. I never pay full price for magazine subscriptions or gift cards, but I never thought about using Priceline for car rentals. Most of the time when I’ve had to rent a car it was because of getting into an accident or my car being in the shop. I’m glad you mentioned this tip, since this summer I’m planning to move and will be renting a truck. I think you might have just saved me some money 🙂

    • Hi Carrie! Yes, Priceline is a good resource to save on car rentals. I’ve also found it useful for hotel rentals. I’ve booked several hotels of decent quality for $40-45 a night, which is a lot less than you’d find them on other booking sites. Good luck with your move!

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