33 Ways to Get Great Deals on Anything

These tips will help you save money on everything from gas to groceries.

By Reader's Digest Editors
Also published in Reader's Digest Magazine September 2014
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    Groceries

    • Try Boxed, a handy app for iPhone and Android. You can get discounted cereal, applesauce, peanut butter, body wash—you name it—shipped in bulk to your home for free. And unlike some warehouse services, there’s no membership fee.
    • No smartphone? Shop from your laptop. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that groceries from delivery services like Walmart and AmazonFresh are sometimes 10 percent less than the same items from a grocer.

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    Dental Care

    • Groupon offers significant discounts on work such as teeth whitening, root canals, and crowns.
    • Investigate a dental price club or discount plan. These can help if you anticipate work that goes beyond the scope of the twice-yearly checkups many insurers cover. You pay a yearly fee—up to a couple of hundred dollars—then the plan’s discounted rate per visit. Assess your options at dentalplans.com.

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    Gas

    GasBuddy (iOS, Android: gasbuddy.com) and SmartFuel (iOS) let you compare prices of nearby gas stations.

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    Cars

    • Wait until the end of the year. New models typically roll out in the summer or early fall, making an older-inventory car easier to get for less. Plus, dealers need to meet their quotas before a new quarter, so you could save thousands.
    • Be smart about your credit. Credit.com’s Adam Levin advises against financing a car at the dealership right away to avoid tricky salespeople who have relationships with banks. Instead, shop around and get approved for an auto loan before you visit the dealer—you could save thousands depending on fees and interest rates.
    • Check prices online. Sites like cars.com allow you to search in your zip code with a variety of criteria to get a great deal—or at least have a bargaining chip when it comes to squaring off with a dealer.

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    Fitness Clubs

    For no fee, yipit.com lets you search for and find bargains on a variety of gym memberships and individual classes, from boot camp to yoga.

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    Workouts

    No gym? No problem. Download the free Nike Training Club app (iOS, Android) to access training videos, from aerobics to weight lifting.

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    Movie Tickets

    Visit your theater chain’s corporate website to see if tickets are available in bulk. Regal Cinemas, for example, allows customers to buy Premiere Tickets for $8 a pop, good for movie releases nationwide, even brand-new ones. In certain areas, that can amount to almost a 50 percent discount. The one downside: Because you’re buying in bulk, the total price can be high, so ask friends to split the cost with you.

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    Apps

    Ninety-nine pennies saved is 99 pennies earned. Free apps whose sole purpose is to track other apps you want and alert you when they’re on sale are available for iOS (try AppShopper Social) and Android (download AppSales).

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    Concert Tickets

    • No need to pay an arm and a leg to scalpers: Goldstar.com helps members find half-price tickets to events, members-only complimentary tickets, and personalized event recommendations. Sign-up is free.
    • For more events, try SeatGeek (iOS, Android: seatgeek.com). It consolidates information from online ticket sellers for professional sports like racing and fights, concerts, theater performances—basically anything you can think of. It also lets you search by venue or city and find a seat with the best sight lines.

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    Newspaper Subscriptions

    Look no further than discountednewspapers.com, which offers subscriptions to both local and national papers.

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    Books

    Subscribe to bookbub.com to browse significantly discounted and free digital books from a variety of publishers that work with all major e-readers.

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    Gift Cards

    Visit Gift Card Granny (giftcardgranny.com), which collects deals on gift cards, to nab, say, a $100 Applebee’s card for $86.

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    New Clothes

    You can get secondhand steals on eBay and Etsy, but for deals on new items, turn to windowshopper.me. This site allows you to search for specific items, set a price range, and sort by style. You can quickly swipe or click through items, mimicking the action of ripping through sale racks at a department store.

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    Fancy Dresses

    Click over to renttherunway.com, where you can lease designer gowns for reasonable prices. You’re also not charged more, beyond shipping, if you want to try on the same dress in a different size.

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    Plane Tickets

    • Airfares are often at their cheapest 18 to 28 days before a trip, and Tuesdays and Wednesdays are usually the best days to buy tickets and travel.
    • You can also dig for deals online. Try airfarewatchdog.com, which tells you when low rates become available. And you can compare prices at kayak.com.

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    Phone Bills When Abroad

    Use WhatsApp (iOS, Blackberry, Android, Windows, Nokia: whatsapp.com) to text with friends when you (or they) are out of the country. It sends your messages over your phone’s Internet connection, so you can avoid running up your bill when sending texts internationally.

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    Electronics

    • Try a refurbished unit. Many manufacturers—Dell, HP, Sony, etc.—sell discounted used goods online.
    • For more deals, go to rakuten.com, which sells discounted electronics, with great buys on everything from camera equipment to computers.

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    Apple Products

    Visit applesliced.com. It tracks the Web for the cheapest prices on iPods, iPads, iPhones, Macs, and everything in between. Enter your zip code to find out which retailers waive sales tax in your state.

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    Printer Ink

    Trade in your depleted ink cartridges at stores like Office Max for a discount on your next round, or try off-loading them on a site such as ecyclegroup.com or tonerbuyer.com.

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    Online Shopping

    • Visit getinvisiblehand.com to install the Invisible Hand extension on your computer. Whenever you’re shopping online, it’ll automatically search alternatives and notify you at the top of your browser window if there’s a better deal elsewhere.
    • Or go to camelcamelcamel.com: You can search for any item and track its price history—it’ll show you a graph and the highest- and lowest-price positions it’s had over the past several days. Close to the lowest point? Snatch it up now!
    • Finally, using your smartphone, ring up your own items and see if you’re getting a deal. Download the RedLaser app and use it to scan bar codes: It’ll pop up relevant deals.

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    Rewards Cards

    On its own, the Key Ring app (iOS, Android: keyringapp.com) can’t save you money, but the convenience it offers should: It keeps all your rewards cards for various outlets stored so you won’t have to carry all that plastic in your wallet or on your key chain. No more forgetting cards means no more missing deals.

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    Student Discounts

    Anyone in school can get deals that others would miss, such as free Amazon Prime for six months (followed by 50 percent off a membership), unlimited Washington Post digital access, and discounts from many popular clothes shops.

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    Starbucks Coffee

    • For starters, bring in your own cup for a discount. Resourceful types can save on iced lattes by ordering a double shot of espresso over ice and filling the cup with milk from the bar.
    • If you buy ground Starbucks coffee at grocery stores, check for a code on the bag and enter it to your Starbucks account online to earn free refills or drinks.

    Sources: ABC News, Wall Street Journal, about.com, marketwatch.com, lifehacker.com, and USA Today

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