Who doesn’t love discounts, sales, or free things?!
I’ll be honest, I live for discounts, sales, and free things! I come from a humble background. My parents are refugees from Vietnam who came to the U.S. with not even a penny to their name. I grew up in a large family with 5 other siblings! We lived a frugal life, because, well, we had to.
I started working the moment I could receive a work permit. I started at an American-Chinese restaurant around 15 years old. In California, it is very difficult (almost impossible) to get around without a car! I had to walk to and from work for almost 15 months (about a mile each-way), until my brother passed down his old used bucket to me. Pretty much, we had to forge our own gas money, pay for our own cellphone, and if we wanted new clothes, well… we pretty much were on our own (also both my older sisters are smaller than me lol). Anyway, the point I’m trying to get at is, growing up in this life, I grew to be thrifty. I was very economical and careful with my spending. Fast forward to now, even with a decent paying job, I still place spending limits on things. I am always looking for the best bang for my buck.
So, if you’re like me and love discounts, sales, and free things – here are some tips, along with some codes that I want to share to help you save $$!
- Download specific apps dedicated to accumulating points for free food/drinks! For example: if you frequent Starbucks often, I highly recommend downloading the app. Although you need to load your card with money, for every $1 you spend, you get two starts. After accumulating a certain amount of points, you can get a free drink, or a free meal. Also, they have weekly, sometimes daily specials!
- Yelp (https://www.yelp.com): The mobile app allows you to check-in at a place and a lot of the times, they offer discounts or a free item just for checking in. Also you can find local deals by you. So if you’re short on cash, you can turn on your yelp mobile app and you are able to find nearby food spots with a deal!
- Groupon (https://www.groupon.com/): Similar to yelp, the mobile app finds local deals by you! If you’re a new user: use Groupon $10 credit link to sign up and get automatic $10 credit!
- Other apps currently on my phone are: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eastman Egg Company, and lettuce entertain you (http://www.leye.com/app) (Earn points and redeem rewards at restaurants all part of that group).
- Never pay full price! — Unless you really, I mean really really need it, wait until they slash the price or better yet, look elsewhere and compare!
- Do not shop on impulse! — Shopping with fueled with emotion is a bad combination. Yes, while shopping is therapeutic, it is also dangerous. I try not to shop immediately when I get paid or if i’m feeling some type of way. I noticed that when I feel negative, I am less reasonable and methodical with my purchases. I purchase it because it gives me a high or distracts me from my feels.
- Sale section is my fave section — I always head straight to the clearance/sale section before roaming around a store. Why? other than the obvious fact that it’s priced less, you may end up finding just what you’re looking for! Another reason is, by the time I roam the store, I’ve lost interest or I have already committed to some items and thus really don’t need to purchase more.
- Hopper (https://www.hopper.com/) — Hopper is a mobile app that doesn’t just let you book flights from your phone: It also tells you when is the best time to buy. No spam. No ads. No popups. No time wasted. Just the confidence that you’re booking smart and saving money.
- Southwest Airlines (https://www.southwest.com/) — If you’re like me and just care about getting from point A to point B, then southwest is your best bet. About 75% of my domestic flights are booked through southwest. 1) No baggage fees, up to 2 free check-in bags, 2) they offer lots of flights, 3) if you cancel a flight, you can reserve the credit for another time and there isn’t a rescheduling cost, 4) Rapid Rewards – every time you book a flight, you receive points, the points accumulate and in return you can book flights with points. They give you an ID # and you just put it in when you book to accumulate points. Best part, it’s free. In fact, my round trip flight to NYC in Dec is 80% paid for thanks to this program!
- Google Flights (https://www.google.com/flights/?f=0) — my favorite flight booking sight if I want to compare flights domestically or internationally. They are thorough, comparing all airlines on a single page (unlike some where numerous windows pop up), and they send you alerts too.
- AirBnB (www.airbnb.com) — Almost always cheaper than a hotel! It’s very easy to book. It shows reviews, photos of the place, location, the ability to speak directly to the property owner, and much more.
- Research! — They say the best flight deals usually 2-3 months before your planned trip. I usually create an excel sheet and update it throughout those months. Another reason why I love Southwest. If their prices drop, just cancel your flight and re-book, at no charge! The credit is good for a year!
- Uber (https://www.uber.com/?exp=home_signup_form) — definitely cheaper than a taxi. It is the most common used taxi-alternative, so there are more frequent uber drivers on the road. They have drivers 24/7, 365 days of the year. Offered all throughout the US and some Internationally If you’re a first time uber user, use code: 05n9b to get a free ride worth up to $15!
- Lyft (https://www.lyft.com/) — also definitely cheaper than a taxi, and sometimes even cheaper than uber! There are less lyft drivers out, but they still have drivers 24/7, 365 days a year. Offered all throughout the US and some Internationally. If you’re a first time lyft user, user code: Sany990409 to get $20 in credit when you take your first ride!
- Via (http://ridewithvia.com/) — currently only offered in Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C. this is my favorite ride share app. Specifically in Chicago: Ride weekdays, 6:30am to 9pm, anywhere in the Loop, West Loop, Noble Square, River North, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, or Wicker Park (east of Damen). Rides are just $3.95 and sometimes even less!! Unlike Uber/Lyft which charges you based on time + distance, Via is a flat rate. Also every time you refer someone, they get $10 in credit and you also get $10 in credit! That’s almost 3 free rides!
- Sign up for mailers! — I know they flood your email, but if you’re looking for something in particular, sign up with that business, then unsubscribe when you’re done! For example: I’m currently making my own halloween costume. I subscribed to both Joann’s Fabric and Micheal’s Arts and Crafts and receive printable coupons via email so I can pay less for the items I know I can find there. Most likely once Halloween is over I’ll unsubscribe. That way, I am not longer be bombarded by their emails and I got what I needed!
I hope this was helpful. I will likely update this post as more things come to mind!
In the meantime, what are some ways you save? I love finding new ways to get the best bang for my buck!