With unemployment in the double digits and the holiday season kicking into high gear, saving money has never been more important—or simpler. These days, sometimes the easiest way to save money is to simply ask. Really.
Short is Better!
Do you throw away half of your grande latte from Starbucks every morning? Then save money and ask the barista for the off-menu “short.” In Starbuck-speak, that’s a reasonably sized 8-oz. cup of coffee that costs 30 cents or so less.
Savings: About $80 a year
If you prefer to get your double-decaf latte with soy milk at the same cool café around the corner every morning, ask the hipster behind the counter if there’s a “discount card.” Many such cafes, like NYC’s Joe: The Art of Coffee, have special cards that you must ask for in order to receive. At Joe’s, buy ten lattes or espressi and you’ll get one free.
Savings: About $100 a year
If you’re hankering that LCD Hi-Def flat-screen or that new kitchen table set this holiday season, express interest in the floor model. More than ever, sales clerks are desperate to move inventory this season. Depending on the store, the brand, and the time of day (shop at a less busy time like mid-week and post-lunch), you might be able to save as much as a few hundred dollars simply by buying the model that was out on display.
Savings: A few hundred dollars
A Click is as Good as Asking
The next time you’re on Amazon, check out the free MP3s they offer almost daily; you might discover a great new band or song. There are plenty of discounts, too: Just this week, the re-mastered version of John Lennon’s Imagine was available as an MP3 album for only $2.99. The CD normally costs $14 (plus shipping and handling). Visit Amazon’s Twitter feed for more deals, and check out our article on the seven best Twitter feeds to follow for savings.
The Play’s the Thing
Want amazing seats at the hottest Broadway or Off-Broadway plays with a 30 to 50% discount? All you have to do is take 10 second to sign up—it’s totally free!—for the Playbill Club at playbill.com. Recently, we enjoyed the spectacle of Fela, the new must-see musical this season, from the eighth row for only $52 per seat. Regular price? $99.
Savings: $94 for two seats
When in Doubt, Just Ask!
If you’re unaware of a special off-menu item or an in-the-know perk, don’t fret. Just ask! This is the Great Recession; no one pays full price for anything anymore. So remember: ‘Tis the season for shopping—and savings.