I love hearing about how you’re saving money!
Whether you’re interested in racking up loyalty rewards or discovering creative ways to save money on travel, these readers are happy to share their tips with you:
Your recent piece on buying gift cards at below face value prompted me to write to you. We do the same thing for travel. Any time our supermarket has a sale like '20 percent off gift card purchase of $100 or more,' we buy hotel gift cards. We stay at a specific hotel chain that has properties from value-priced to luxury. The gift cards don't expire, and we usually end up paying around $80 for a $100 gift card. We also have a great deal of loyalty points with this hotel chain, and the chain allows us to pay partially with points. So, if we do not have enough loyalty points for a free night's stay, we will split the value of the points with our gift card and stretch it further. We also subscribe to the hotel's newsletter and receive alerts when there are discounts at our favorite properties and cities." — Harriet V.
We are theme park aficionados and we have played the 'gift card game' too! We have found that one can purchase gift cards for several popular theme parks right at the grocery store. Any time the store has a sale, I buy one or two of them and then put them away in our 'vacation box.' Every one of these gift cards is purchased below face value, or is sold at face value but you get cash back for your next purchase in store. When we reach our gift card savings goal, we start planning our trip! If you like this tip, I would make sure whatever gift cards you're buying do not expire or reduce themselves in value if not activated in a certain period of time." — Lynda F.
Here is an idea I haven't seen mentioned in your column. You've probably heard of passes for museums around the country. You can pay one price and visit a variety of different museums in different states. I have always thought these are a good deal if you like to visit these kinds of places. Our public library purchases these passes and loans them out to patrons. You check them out like a book, and then you can use the pass as much as you'd like over a two-week span. We have seen natural history and art museums with this pass. Also, if you are 62 years of age or older, and you enjoy visiting the National Parks, you can purchase a senior pass which is good for a lifetime. If you are a couple, only one of you needs the pass as you can take three guests with you. An annual pass is $20, but a lifetime senior pass is $80. It also offers discounts on camping. Camping is another discussion entirely, but it is a wonderful way to see different parts of the country on a budget. My husband and I have been avid campers for more than 40 years together. We have graduated to a travel trailer, but in our younger years, we camped in a tent. For a minimal investment in equipment, you can enjoy many years of inexpensive travel." — Adrienne G.
I shop frequently at a national pharmacy chain. It is worth signing up for their loyalty card because they regularly send out postcards with coupons inside. Almost every month, I get one for $2 or $3 off any purchase. Even if you don't need anything in particular, I can always find something useful to spend these on. Many weeks, this store has 40-ounce bottles of laundry detergent on sale for $2.99. These coupons make it a steal. Don't be afraid to just stop in and get that one thing too. I don't ever let coupons like these go to waste." — Jin W.
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