We all have our weaknesses, and yours may be a Starbucks addiction or even an avid book reading habit. Although we advocate saving, we're also a big fan of being able to indulge on occasion. After all, if you keep denying yourself, it might be counterintuitive because you may end up buying on impulse. Here are some ways you can still enjoy your favorite purchases, yet save at the same time:
- Starbucks: Sign up for a Starbucks card and you can accumulate rewards such as free drinks. Once you buy five drinks, you get free syrup or soy milk and free refills on brewed coffee, iced coffee, or iced tea. You'll also get a free tall drink if you buy a bag of coffee beans. Once you buy over 30 drinks, you get a free drink for every 15 drinks you buy. As a card holder, you'll also get a free drink of your choice on your birthday.
Frugal secret: You can make your own Starbucks drinks in your own home. Check out Squawkfox's recipe for a homemade Starbucks Frappuccino that costs only 32 cents to make. Don't forget to also check out YumSugar's Starbucks-inspired pumpkin spice latte recipe.
- Books: If you got a thing for books, there's always the library of course. But for those who just love permanent additions to their budding book collection, you can consider joining book clubs like Barnes & Nobles, which sends regular discounts and coupons to your inbox. You can also get really cheap indie ebooks for free or for 99 cents on Amazon. Some of the books are actually really good, but check out the reviews before buying if you don't want to waste your time on a dud.
Frugal secret: Shhh, don't let anyone know, but you can get free books from authors, even the acclaimed and famous ones, if you try this trick. A lot of times, you can even get the book ahead of its release. All you have to do is start building up a nice repertoire of really solid and detailed book reviews on Amazon or Good Reads, the social network for book recommendations. If your Amazon reviews are good, people will start voting on them, which may qualify you for Amazon's Vine program, an exclusive club that "invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and prerelease items." And if you're a popular Good Reads reviewer, authors will start reaching out to you to review their books.
- Yoga: You can save on yoga classes by subscribing to daily deal sites and keeping an eye out for discounts at your local yoga studio. Lululemon also offers free yoga classes, so you might want to check out your local shop. A lot of studios have free or donation-based classes on occasion, so you might want to check with them, too.
Frugal secret: Become a yoga teacher to get access to free classes. You don't have to worry about teaching taking up too much of your time because I have friends who teach only once or twice a week and still get the perks of a full-time teacher, such as being able to attend classes for free. You can also offer to trade services (writing, graphic design, admin, or whatever skill you can provide) with the studio in exchange for free classes.
- Music: Save on music by listening to Pandora, a free personalized radio that'll cater to your musical taste. Download the app on your smartphone to turn it into a portable music player. You can also check out Spotify, a free online music collection that lets you access millions of songs without paying a cent. The downside of these free services is the ads that disrupt your flow of music.
Frugal secret: Without downloading anything, you can enjoy a music playlist of your choice (without ads!) by curating your own YouTube playlist. Pick videos that don't have any ads so that you won't have your music interrupted by annoying advertisements.
- Movies at the theater: Daily deals regularly offer discounts on movie tickets from big theater chains like Fandango, so keep an eye out for them.
Frugal secret: You can actually watch movie screenings for free, before the movies are even released to the public. All you need to do is check out sites like GoFobo and Film Metro. Wise Bread has more detailed instructions on how to watch the free screenings.
- Magazines: Subscribe to your favorite magazines to enjoy huge discounts. Sites like Amazon and Magazines.com offer the same popular magazine titles at up to an 80 percent discount. Of course, you can always check out your local library for free magazines that you don't have to dispose of when you're done reading them.
Frugal secret: Slickdeals.net is a cool forum that features awesome free subscriptions, so it'll be a good source to check out once in a while. Past deals have included Every Day With Rachel Ray and Better Homes and Gardens magazines.
- DVD rentals: Subscribe to streaming services like Netflix instead for just $7.99 to watch movies and TV shows over the Internet instantly.
Frugal secret: Have a RedBox rental near you? Use these rental codes from Inside Redbox to use for one night of free rental. Just remember to return the DVD before 9 p.m. the next day and you won't have to pay for the movie.
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