Business

Ways to Save: Gym, store lawn

In today's economy, who can't benefit from a few saving tips?

We're sharing penny-pinching ideas throughout this week in the Business section. Today's focus: shopping, staying fit and tending your yard.

Some tips come from readers. Others come from the misers on our staff. And a few come from rules our mothers taught us.

The full list is available at CharlotteObserver.com/business.

(Raleigh) News & Observer

Be a smarter shopper

60. Look for senior citizen, student, alumni and military discounts.

61. Shop yard sales.

62. Organize a group yard sale. You share the marketing and logistical costs but keep your share of the proceeds.

63. Give yourself a cooling-off period before purchasing anything that isn't a basic need.

64. Don't shop as a form of entertainment, or when you're hungry or depressed.

65. Bought something only to see it on sale the next week? Many stores will let you bring the item back for the discount. Worried you might not see the sale? Try www.priceprotectr.com. Find the item you bought on the store's Web page, paste its url into the box at the priceprotectr site and enter your e-mail address. If the price drops within the store's policy guarantees, you'll be notified by e-mail.

66. Check receipts for savings. Stores such as J.C. Penney send you to online surveys from their receipts. In return, you get coupons for money off. CVS prints coupons on the receipt for members of its loyalty program.

67. Belong to AAA? Check to see what discounts it has available. For instance, you can save $3 on movie tickets. Go to www.aaa.com.

68. See if your employer gets discount tickets for local theaters, amusement parks and the like.

69. If you're shopping for a computer, see if the store offers discounts to employees of local businesses. The Apple store does.

70. Shop seasonally for sales. Swimsuits are cheaper in September, and cookware usually goes on sale in May.

71. Don't be tempted. Go to www.dmachoice.org to have catalogs stopped.

72. Use Hotwire or other online sites to book hotel rooms. Negotiate with hotels for a lower rate.

73. When traveling, stay at hotels that offer free breakfast.

74. Staying somewhere several days? See about renting a cabin or vacation home so you can cook your own meals.

Stay fit on the cheap

75. Lose the gym membership and take a walk or a run.

76. Try a virtual gym such as www.demandfitness.com where streaming video lets you work out. Cost is 99 cents a day or $15 a month; free trials available.

There's green in garden

77. Use a rain barrel. It saves water and money.

78. Plant perennials and native flowers, which require less water.

79. Take advantage of local garden club sales and the know-how of club members.

80. Plant from seeds. Rather than pay for expensive “starter” pots, use the cardboard carrying containers given out free at coffee shops.

81. Use an electric lawnmower.

82. Add your shredded white paper to the compost pile for free mulch.

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