live in tough economic times where saving $8 dollars is like
winning the lottery. Here are some tips for saving money
Straddle your trips overnight. This is not recommended if
you are checking-in or screening in the morning but for pretty
much any other time. If flying and the airport is open 24
hours, camp out the night before if leaving in the morning or
arrive late at night and camp out till morning. Airports
are relatively safe and if you bring a pillow and a small
blanket, you should be alright. You can often take a bus
overnight. Long-haul trains run all night. A night
spent traveling is a night you don't have to pay for a hotel.
Just keep a tight watch on your valuables!
public transit. It is generally efficient and far cheaper
than renting cars or taxis. Just plan enough time and make
sure you have all of the options figured out before hand.
- Join loyalty programs at restaurants where if
you buy x amount of meals you get one free. Often times
they will give you a freebie on your birthday and random
specials throughout the year. Some programs do have a fee
to join but generally you get the fee back in the form of gift
- Take advantage of gift card bonuses.
These are primarily available around holidays where if you buy x
amount of gift cards, you may get a 20 or 25 percent bonus.
Bonuses are usually only offered at restaurants. Gift cards for restaurants, gas stations or Walmart are great to
have on hand as they can usually be used at any location around
- Bring your grocery store savings card, it may
work where you go. There are three main grocers in the US
but each one operates under regional banners.
Kroger. Each company operate several brands and if you
have a savings card at one store, it can generally be used at other stores
by the same company.
- If you need something to do, look up free days for museums.
Many museums offer free admission periodically. I enjoy
going to the museum for a few hours but it's even more fun when
Unfortunately, more and more museums are only offering the free
days to residents so double check that before heading over.
- Carpool. This can be good and it can be bad. It's
best to carpool with people you know. The problem is if
you have four or five people carpooling from one city to
another, chances are that not everyone will qualify so that
means you may have to find your own way home.
- Eat out cheaper. Many bars and restaurants offer happy
hour specials which can be inexpensive food and drinks. Of
course, don't drink before a screening or check in. If you
want to try a nice restaurant, lunch is usually less expensive
Always ask if there are any specials.
- Pretty much all public libraries, coffee shops and many
restaurants provide free wifi. However, public wifi is not
always safe so I recommend not using your credit or debit card
to purchase things on an open network.
- Pack lighter. With all the fees for checked bags and
even carry on, you should try to ensure you pack for the
occasion. Consider packing only the essentials and buying
some clothes when you get to your destination. Get cheap
clothes at a thrift store or Walmart and if you don't want to
carry them home, you can donate them back to a thrift store.
If I'm checking into a study, I usually wait til I get to the
city to buy toiletries as I rarely check a bag.