Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Secrets Revealed

Can you see both bridges (the real one and the playground one)?

Goodbye Blockbuster. A couple weeks ago we found out that our local Blockbuster was closing, which is kind of sad. This past year we have made many a trip up the street to exchange the DVDs we got in the mail so we would have no less than 6 DVDs on hand at any given time. This was especially useful when catching up on past seasons of Lost, ER, and Beverly Hills 90210 (well, there's nothing else on!) So it looks like we'll be canceling the total access Blockbuster online membership and trying out Netflix for a while. As usual, I checked with Ebates to see if we could get a good deal, and sure enough, we'll get $18 cash back after the free trial ends which is good for at least another couple months.

Shopping Thoughts. I love shopping. It's really fun. When we moved to New York I had major sticker-shock at the prices on everything from rent to bananas. Quickly I realized the only way to enable my shopping habit was to find serious deals. Everyone always says it's not worth the time and effort it takes to find deals, but I disagree. Like anything, it is a skill that is developed. The initial investment of time, effort and diligence can be large. But once you start and commit to this lifestyle, it becomes easier to spot good deals, know where to look, and know what tools to use for what kind of items and services.

5 Easy Shop-like-Christina Tips:

1. I use Discover Card's 5% cash back on certain categories. This quarter they give the 5% cash back on department store, home store and clothing purchases. Next quarter will be gas! I always keep the categories in mind and only use the Discover for those. This really paid off last month when I bought plane tickets and a rental car, since travel stuff was the category. Your cash back builds up quick this way, and you can then trade your cash back for gift cards worth even more.

2. I have a small stack of coupons paper clipped in my purse at all times. This is a terrible filing system. But, coupons do you no good at home in a box. When I'm shopping I can quickly check the stack. Every couple weeks I go through and throw out the expired ones. I only tote around coupons on stuff I actually buy and never shop for things based on if I have a coupon for it.

3. I subscribe to a couple of blogs that tell you when stuff is cheap. My favorite is babycheapskate.blogspot.com, which has weekly updates as to where the best diaper deals are among many other baby stuff-buying tips.

4. When shopping for something specific, look at a couple of deal sites. There are a million. My favorite is dealnews.com. It doesn't pay to look at those sites when you don't have anything in mind though. You'll end up buying things you don't need just because it's a good deal.

5. I used to subscribe to Lucky Magazine, and one of the benefits was an online click-through cash back operation like Ebates, but not as expansive. They did, however, give 25% cash back on discount theater tickets which we used all the time (you have to here - the tickets are $13!). Our apartment got taken over by magazines this past year though, so I had to stop that madness and now just use Ebates which I've mentioned before. Most beneficial lately was that I used Ebates to book a rental car through Hotwire, where it gives 2% cash back. So add that to the Discover Card's 5% - that's 7% cash back for doing nothing but remembering a couple of clicks. On big ticket items like that - definitely worth it.

Ok, I've shared with you some of my tricks. Tell me what yours are!

This post is dedicated to Andrea because of her comments on Sunday:)

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Andrea W. said...

Awesome stuff! Thanks!

Lachelle, Rob & Eliza said...

We play thegrocerygame.com to save money on groceries. It costs about $1.25 to do it but I save so much money. My coupons are organized in a little file container that I keep in my purse and it's really easy to plan my meals around the sales and use my coupons. It does take a lot of time but it's so nice to see that I saved 67% off of my grocery shopping bill.

Lucy said...

I buy things used, mostly using craigslist. Of course there are many things you don't want to buy used, but for those things you don't mind having used it is the place to go.

And I have recently found consignment shops, mainly the baby/kid ones. I haven't bought much baby/kid stuff, but they usually have a maternity section and since maternity clothes don't seem to go on sale as often, it is nice to get some cheap.

I also stock up when things are on sale, especially on things like meat.

jhmorris said...

Call me! If you don't, I'll assume you ran out of time or you just plain didn't want to see us...

The Anderson's said...

SO are you guys getting sad you are leaving the big apple? Or are you super excited to be moving on? I wish we could come and visit you guys before you head out. It would be a blast! Hope all is well.

Your Cousins,
Kristen & Mark

Julia said...

Awesome (I have already used a few of the deal sites you listed). Thanks!

nyc vdg family said...

Awesome tips! I'll check these out!
So glad I saw your blog on several I1 members blogs.