9 Things You Should Always Buy on Sale
Scoring a great deal is always something to celebrate. When my friends ask me where I found a cute sweater or pair of boots, I usually can't wait to brag about the low price I paid. With a little insight -- and some planning -- you can be a savvy frugalista, too.
I consulted some of my favorite frugal living experts and compiled this list of things you should always buy on sale. Happy shopping.
When purchasing air travel, track price trends on Yapta or Bing to make sure you buy at the right time to get the best deal possible. Natalie P. McNeal, author of The Frugalista Files, says HotelTonight is a must-download for the last-minute traveler. The app offers deals on unsold rooms with discounts up to 70 percent, and you can book right from your smartphone.
For a fun, cheap alternative, skip the hotel altogether and browse Airbnb to find a room to rent (or even a couch to crash on) in a local's home. You'll save big bucks and maybe even make a new friend.
[Related: 10 Cool Sites for Frugalistas]
In the era of flash sale sites, where top designer fashions are offered at deep discounts for a limited amount of time, there's no reason to pay full price for new threads. My personal favorites are Gilt and Hautelook.Mary Hall, author of The Recessionista Blog, also suggests following the hashtags #samplesale and #sale on Twitter to land great finds at a fraction of the retail price. "Since designers frequently share deals first with their social communities, if there's a special designer you like, be sure to check their Facebook page," she says. It's also a good idea to search for discount codes before purchasing anything online. RetailMeNot is a great resource.
3. Dining out
Most restaurants offer weekly specials or daily happy hour pricing. If you plan your week accordingly, you can find some great eats for a low price. Hall suggests checking in on Yelp and Foursquare to unlock potential deals. Sites like Restaurant.com and OpenTable also offer great savings at local joints.
[Related: 8 Tips for (Really) Frugal Living]
Melissa Massello, founder of budget- and eco-friendly magazine Shoestring, says she loves to spoil her greyhound, but that doesn't mean she's willing to spend a lot. "I always try to support and develop relationships with small, local businesses like our neighborhood vet, groomer and pet boutique," she says. "I find that loyalty pays dividends in freebies, flexible rates and special discounts for regular customers." Massello also recommends that pet owners check out daily deal sites like Pawsley and BarkingDeals.
Jeff Yeager, author of The Cheapskate Next Door, says there's no reason to buy a pet that's not adopted. "Adopt a stray from your local animal shelter, and be sure to have your dogs and cats spayed or neutered," he says. Sites like The Shelter Project and Petfinder can help match you with the perfect four-legged friend.
[Related: Best Things to Buy Used]
"Buy a used bicycle at the thrift store and pedal it on over to cancel your gym membership; then ride it to work and on local errands," Yeager says.
But if you're a gym rat at heart, Massello recommends adding up your yearly gym membership dues and then dividing by the number of times you've actually visited the gym to see whether a membership or per-class payments are best for you. "My rule is that if I'm paying on average more than $5 to $10 per visit, it's time to change gym memberships to a less costly club like a YMCA, JCC or town recreation center," she says. "Or it might be best to strictly buy class cards when they're on sale at local yoga and fitness studios." You can find great deals at healthy flash sale site Wahanda, which also regularly offers massage therapy and spa deals that are similar to services found at fancy health clubs.
Many specialty fitness spots, like yoga and Pilates studios, also offer introductory specials for new customers, so be sure to ask.
6. Tickets to live events
Goldstar offers discounts on local concerts, theater performances, comedy shows, sporting events and more. The site comes in handy when you're traveling, too; simply search for deals located near your destination. Also, sign up to receive the StubHub e-newsletter for exclusive FanCodes and discounts that can save you even more.
[Related: 10 Commandments of Frugal Chic]
I love shoes, but I never pay top dollar for them. Zappos has altered the footwear landscape: Not only can you find all the top brands for less, but their commitment to customer service and free return shipping policy makes shopping for shoes online worry-free. But if you're still not comfortable buying kicks you've never tried on, DSW also offers name brands at discount prices -- and their customer rewards program gives you even more savings.
8. Cleaning products
"Sure, the cheapest and most eco-friendly way to clean is with vinegar, baking soda and castile soap, but they take a lot more time and elbow grease -- and I personally find the smell off-putting to guests," Massello says. Instead, she prefers to purchase green cleaning products like Mrs. Meyer's and Caldrea at T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls for up to 70 percent off the retail price. Massello's favorite environmentally friendly cleaning company is Method, which regularly gives out fan-only coupons on its Facebook page.
[Related: The Future of Coupons]
The alcoholic beverage of choice among my friends is vino. So as not to break the bank every time I entertain, I seek out the best deals on quality bottles, often from small wineries. These websites all offer amazing discounts on great wine: Last Call Wines, Wine.com, WinesTilSoldOut and WineAccess.
SecondAct Asks: What do you always buy on sale? Share your savvy shopping tips and tricks in the comments section below.
Keep reading: Cheap Chic: Frugal Living Tips for 2012
Previous Post: 8 Ways to Make a Reverse Mentorship Work for You
Next Post: Jamie Moyer Becomes MLB's Oldest Winning Pitcher