This year's prices for gas, groceries, prescriptions, and more continue to climb, making holiday gifting seemingly impossible. But don't hang up your holiday spirit just yet — there are ways to reduce daily expenses, as long as you pay a little more attention to the deals around you. The item costs that we can help reduce? Groceries, beauty products, prescriptions, takeout, and gas. Here, our money-saving experts reveal the secrets that will help you save cash this season.
To slash your grocery bill: Show your age.
“Great news: National chains like Kroger, which include Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, and Ralphs stores, offer shoppers 55 and over 10 percent off their total bill on the first Tuesday of every month. Simply sign up for the store loyalty card, then have your senior status linked to your account. What’s more, the discount works with digital coupons and other deals like price-matching in the stores. The only caveat: no rain checks on sold-out items.”
—Amie Clark, money-saving expert at TheSeniorList.com
To slash your self-care costs: Shop at Trader J's.
“Shoppers swear by Trader Joe’s beauty products, and most of them are under $10. I love their Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer. Their Shea Butter & Coconut Oil Hair Serum has a cult following, and folks claim their Brazil Nut Body Butter is a duplicate of pricey Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream. The reason they can sell these quality products at super-affordable prices? They save money on fancy packaging — something I never missed.”
—Tracey Stewart, money-saving expert at Offers.com
To slash prescription bills: Order online.
“Online Rx programs, like the one at Amazon.com (type ‘Amazon pharmacy’ in the search bar), can save you up to 80 percent off generic drugs and up to 40 percent off brand-name prescriptions. Check pricing by simply typing in the name of your prescription. Also smart? Amazon’s Basic Care store (Amazon. com/BasicCare) offers Amazon brand over-the-counter medications like cough medicine, pain remedies, and sleep aids for up to 75 percent less than store brands from competing drugstores.”
—Andrea Woroch, money-saving expert at AndreaWoroch.com
To slash your restaurant bills: Go family style.
“The latest trend in takeout? Family-style meals — larger entrées paired with sides that can be shared at home. For example, we love Olive Garden’s family-style meals to go, which start at about $6.50 a serving and include things like lasagna, breadsticks, and salad. We eat some for dinner, then save the leftovers for lunch the next day. To find similar deals (and coupons), visit EatDrinkDeals.com and type ‘family meals’ into the search box.”
—Sarah Rosen, mom of three, Austin, TX
To slash your gas bill: Use a free cash-back app.
“My top tip to save on anything? Take advantage of free apps that pay you. For example, I love Upside [Upside.com] — an app that works with gas stations in your area and will give you back up to 28 cents per gallon. Plus, new members get an additional 20 cents back on the first use — that’s 48 cents and almost $10 cash back on a 20-gallon tank. You simply pay with your usual credit or debit card, and submit your receipt or ‘Check In’ to earn your cash back. Use it every time you fill up, and you’ll earn plenty of cash back every month.”
—Janell Poulette, money-saving blogger at SavingYouDinero.com
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.