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Surviving the Economy: 7 Small Ways to Save Big

by Student Loan Daddy
    1. Sign up for free customer loyalty and rewards programs. Enroll in programs like Upromise or MyPoints, and earn discounts, cash back, and even money toward your child’s college fund. You can earn rewards for eligible purchases on groceries, gasoline, online shopping, and more.
    2. Bookmark deal sites. Use websites like SpoofeeCheapStingyBargains, and Slickdeals to find daily deals, discounts, and bargains on everything from computers and electronics to furniture, appliances, and clothes. Users also post information about stores and retailers that are offering freebies and giveaways.
    3. Rent movies from the redbox. Forget monthly fees at Blockbuster and Netflix. Rent your DVDs for just $1.00 a night from redbox, the company behind those standalone red kiosks prominently placed in front of some Walgreens, McDonald’s, and other convenience stores. You can reserve your movies online, then pick up and return your selections at any one of more than 8,000 locations — all with no late fees.
    4. Hit garage sales and thrift stores. Wander into some of the more upscale parts of town. People who live here will tend to upgrade and redecorate more often, and their barely-used castoffs can end up in consignment stores or as donations to thrift shops. With a little luck, you can snag an almost-new designer couch or a high-end home entertainment system at a great price.
    5. Get spa services at a beauty school. Let a hairstylist-in-training cut your hair or a nail-artist-to-be give you your manicure and pedicure. You could save as much as 75 percent over salon prices just by letting a student practice on you; some schools even offer days when their student services are absolutely free. And if your rookie messes up, a professional is usually on hand to fix the problem.
    6. Make fewer trips to the grocery store. Start keeping a shopping list, and do all your grocery shopping just once a week. Besides saving on gas, you’re also less likely to buy things you don’t need: Over 50 percent of shoppers who make “quick trips” to a store three to four times a week will buy items on impulse, according to a study by the Marketing Science Institute.
    7. Use online coupons and discounts. Sites like The Coupon Mom offer hundreds of dollars worth of free grocery coupons, free restaurant coupons, and free samples. At Restaurant.com, you can buy a $25 gift certificate to local restaurants for only $10. And coupons aren’t just for food and groceries anymore: At RetailMeNot.com, besides coupons for restaurants, you can quickly find printable coupons and codes for over 15,000 stores and online retailers, including car rental companies, booksellers, clothing stores, and sites like eBay and Overstock.com.

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