Money-Saving Tricks, Pt 2

As promised, here’s the next installment [and, most likely, the last] of how to save money in THESE TOUGH TIMES.

Phones

  • Save cellphone minutes and your time by skipping the long-winded voice-mail greetings. Press * for Verizon, 1 for Sprint or # for AT&T and T-Mobile.
  • Need a phone number? Call 1-800-GOOG-411 for the number and then to have it dialed. All FREE.

Travel

  • Looking for a Wi-Fi hotspot? Check jiwire.com. Works in 144 countries.
  • Where can kids eat for free? Check familyfriendlyamerica.com or coupondivas.com
  • Want super-great rates on airfare? Get a group of at least 10 travelers and many carriers, including Southwest, United, American, will give you discounted rates.
  • If you like B&Bs when you travel, consider joining a club and pay $10 or $20 per night with breakfast in the homes of other travelers. In return, you offer your spare room. Evergreen Club at 800-962-2392 or Affordable Travel Club at 253-858-2172.
  • Museums, zoos and science centers offer free admission on the first weekend of each month if you have a BofA ATM, credit or check card. Check it on museums.bankofamerica.com.
  • If you are over 62, Amtrak offers 15% discount and Via Rail Canada offers 10% for over 60.
  • Drive for free by signing up at autodriveaway.com for cars needing to be relocated. You pay $350 refundable deposit, then the first tank of gas is free. Some rental car companies offer similar deals.
  • Free sightseeing excursions with the locals in select areas--globalgreeternetwork.com and the newer europetours.eu offering free walking tours.
  • Birdwatcher? Hook up with a local birder at birdingpal.org
  • If you’re leaving at a godforsaken hour, you might prefer a sleep-and-park package combining a night at the airport hotel, shuttle to the airport and parking at the hotel for 7 to 10 days. These deals often cost the same as parking along. parksleepfly.com , stay123.com, parkingacess.com.
  • Irritated at airlines charging for luggage? Join the club. It might be cheaper to send it Fedex [fedex.com] or UPS [ups.com].

Cars

  • Find cheaper gas at gasbuddy.com, gaspricewatch.com or autos.msn.com/everyday/gasstations.aspx. For alternative fuels, check altfuelprices.com.
  • Pay your car insurance annually instead of in installments and save up to 8%.
  • Check AAA’s car buying service or ask the dealer’s internet sales department for their “best quote.”
  • Facing car repairs? First visit repairpal.com to find out what the job should cost. The site gives free quotes based on surveys of thousands of shops.
  • Save $20 an hour and pay less for parts by going to an independent mechanic. Service by a qualified independent is unlikely to invalidate your car’s warranty. But read it carefully, follow the maker’s maintenance recommendations and keep records of service.

Now, I’m looking for more tips on how to save money. If you’ve got one, share it with the rest of us.

Here’s one from me:

In the past few years, I’ve discovered that the vast array of household cleaning supplied that we all buy–one for the floor, one for the sink, one for the laundry, etc. is really just a marketing ploy to sell more “stuff” and make more money.

I’ve substituted VINEGAR for all of the above. I mix it with water and use to clean windows, to get rid of hard water buildup on faucets and shower doors, to wipe down the counters, to mop the floors. I also use one cup with every wash load to take the place of  bleach, borax, softeners or whatever else we’ve been bamboozled into “needing.” Vinegar also saves a lot of time outside. Pour it full force into the grass growing in the cracks of your sidewalk or driveway. Bam! Grass is gone. Its uses seem almost endless. Plus, the smell goes away immediately.

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