Traveling is not something you do everyday. Therefore, it is understandable to not know where the cheap eats are located and end up grabbing a bite from an overrated place when you are out of town or country. However, make this kind of mistake once or twice in your life and never let it happen again. If you are new to traveling, you just got lucky because the following are mistakes I made over the years and I am sharing them with you:
1. Don’t drink anything from the hotel’s mini fridge. There was probably a note somewhere written in size 4 font stating the can of Sprite in the mini fridge is not included in the hotel fee. It was my fault for naively believing in anything free. I cannot remember exactly how much the hotel in Paris charged me but it was definitely a rip off. Lesson learned. Buy bottles of water and soda from nearby convenience stores.
2. Don’t buy souvenirs from gift shops near tourist sites. I purchased random gifts with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa when I was in Europe as souvenirs for my family and friends. Every time I see tourists in New York City wearing “I Heart NYC” T-shirts, I am reminded that I once made unnecessary purchases as well. Many of those low quality souvenirs broke in my luggage on my way back to the States. Always buy something that you want to receive.
3. Don’t waste time to book an activity. When you are traveling, the last thing you want to do is waste time to plan your trip. If you signed up for a tour good for you because you probably make enough money to save yourself the hassle of booking flights and hotels. However, what about the activities? With the increase in web apps, booking for activities is just as easy as booking a dinner reservation.
4. Don’t go shopping by yourself if you cannot bargain. I know I cannot bargain but I know someone that does—my aunt. The summer that I was in China, I did not buy anything from street vendors or self-own shops without my aunt next to me. Unlike department stores, privately own small businesses do not mark final prices. Most of the time, they increase the price leaving enough room for negotiation.
5. Don’t carry expensive items. Leave your Gucci at home if you own one. Remember, you are traveling not walking the runway. Sales representatives and pick pocketers look out for people who wear brands and diamonds. Unless you are capable of hiring guards, do not carry anything expensive with you.
6. Don’t let anyone tell you what to buy. This sounds like a no-brainer but I had witnessed a family of four (mostly the mom) fell into a marketing trap. A psychic warned the mom that her son is in danger after reading his palm and suggested the mom to purchase a 2,000 RMB jade lion to adjust the Feng-Shui at home. Mom was not interested at first so the psychic went in the back to ask for his master. The master ended up closing the sale. These people are not professional marketers, they are professional liars! Keep the ball in your court. No one can make you spend money.
Enlighten your shopping by reading latest shopping tips and money saving online shopping blog.
If you love shopping then you probably love saving as well. Many consumers have taken to the internet to save money while shopping online. Sales and revenue from online retail continues to grow. It is safe to say that online shopping is here to stay. What is not so certain though is that you will save money. Just because it is online does not necessarily mean you will save money.
To sign up for the newsletter on your favorite websites just look for the option box. This is usually easy to find and often times will even pop up once you visit the site. To save you from massive overdoses of email create an account on a free service like Gmail or yahoo mail especially for receiving promotional offers. This will eliminate overcrowded inboxes and having your personal email sold to or shared with others.
While you may save time and effort, sometimes-extra steps are needed to save money. Not so sure how to sniff out the best deals? Internet savvy shoppers like me are always on the hunt for savings. Here are seven tried and true money saving methods I use when shopping online.
Sign up for newsletters
Yes, we all hate spam and overflowing inboxes. However, this really is a great way to save money. If you do not know it is on sale then how will you save? Sign up for mailing lists at your favorite sites. Not only will you be alerted when they have sales but quite often most retailers will have special promotional deals for subscribers.
Social networking, much like newsletters is a good way to get sales alerts, flash deals, and bonus coupons. Look for the social networking icons on your favorite retailer’s website and do not be afraid to join up.
DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT purchase anything online without first looking for a coupon. Many sites out there like retailmenot offer valid coupon codes for many online retailers. Before you purchase an item, go to Google, type in the name of the retailer or the name of the product and then right after it, type coupon code, or promo code. Most of the time you will find a valid coupon to take some savings off. Copy your newly found coupon code and paste it into the promo code box on the checkout page. Cha-Ching! Cash off.
Deal sites are popping all over the place. This is due mainly to the widespread success of Groupon. Join these sites, they are good. Retailers post promotional offers that expire in a set amount of days. You purchase the deal directly from the deal site and then they email you instructions on how to claim your offer. In my experience, it is best to stick with major deal sites. Even then, do your research. Sometimes the “deal” is not such a great deal at all. Research the item by doing a quick search. On occasion, you will find the deal is available for the same price on other sites. If that is the case then there is no rush to purchase it before the deal expires.
In addition, speaking of research, it is foolish to buy anything online without researching it first. The beauty of online shopping is that you can do all of your navigating right from your browser. You do not have to drive around from store to store getting prices or “just looking”. You can do all of that right from the safety and comfort of your own home. Check various sites and compare prices. Do searches vary the keywords you choose to bring up different results? I have even typed in the exact price I wanted to pay plus the product name and found the item for that price. Now that is how to save!
Never pay for shipping
Well that is if you can avoid it. Moreover, believe me, most of the time you can. Try to only shop at sites that offer free shipping. If free shipping is not available then look for a site that will ship for free. If you cannot find one then look for the next best thing. Flat rate shipping. Some sites will offer a flat rate no matter how many items are shipped. You can also opt for free shipping at a certain purchase price. If there are more items that you want or need, it is worth it to purchase them all at once to save on shipping. Nevertheless, remember, if you are purchasing more than you want or need just to get free shipping then you aren’t really saving at all.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Finally, do not be afraid to ask for the savings. You would be surprised how much I have saved by simply asking. If you could not find a coupon code? Go to their social network page and post a comment asking how to save money on a product. Email customer service and tell them you would like to purchase but would also like a discount. You can save a good deal of money so get into the habit of asking for savings when all else fails.
About the Contributor: Veronica Spriggs is owner and designer for Wedding Album Cafe. In addition to wedding album design she creates useful blog posts and video tutorials on the subject of photography. When she is not designing or creating content, she enjoys saving money online.
Let us face it. When money gets tight, spending extra on luxuries such as the Internet and cable becomes increasingly less appealing. However, in today’s day and age, a house without an Internet connection is like living without plumbing. Fortunately, with the numerous home service providers available nowadays, you do not have to resort to cutting off your cable, phone, or high-speed Internet services altogether. There are tons of options and ways to save big bucks by being a little bit smarter about how you manage and utilize your home services.
You can trim quite a bit off your digital expenses by choosing different alternatives to cable services. For starters, if you have a powerful high-speed Internet connection, you can ditch cable altogether and download your favorite movies and television shows from sites like Amazon and iTunes. Alternatively, you can rent them from Blockbuster, Netflix or other online streaming services such as Vudu.
Luckily, with the advances of technology, you do not have to huddle around a computer monitor to watch your favorite shows. Your best bet is to connect your computer to your television. Another option is to use game consoles like the Sony PS3 and Xbox 360 to stream movies and shows.
If you are using the Internet to watch TV shows and movies, getting rid of this service is not an option. The good news is that you can still save money. You can halve your monthly bill by sharing a connection with your neighbor. Just be sure to secure your network so other users cannot tap into your service and burn through your monthly data allowance. Also, check with your Internet service provider to verify that you are not violating its service terms.
Another solution to reducing your monthly digital expenses is to make use of cellular Internet. You can use your smart phone’s Internet connection or a USB modem. The downside is that there are limitations for cellular broadband. You will surpass your monthly data allowance quickly by watching online programming.
Getting rid of your land-line does not sound so scary. People are dropping landlines left and right. Yet some still rely on this service to stay connected with visitors, babysitters, and emergency response personnel. If you fall in this category, consider using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to direct phone calls over the Internet.
One of the most popular services is Skype. All PC-to-PC calls are free regardless of where you are. Expect to pay a little extra to call landlines. Starting at just $3 a month, you can get up to 10,000 minutes to cell phones and landlines. You will need to get a special phone to place calls. You can purchase this phone on Skype’s site and expect to pay anywhere from $27 to $100.
There is still money to be saved for those who can afford to maintain cable, Internet, home security systems and home phone services. Digital expenses add up quickly when these services are paid for individually. When you bundle services, the greatest benefit is that you can save both time and money.
You can save up to 40% on your home services each month by bundling your high-speed Internet, cable, and home phone. The best part about it is that you are billed in one, easy-to-read invoice. You no longer have to hassle with three or four different bills to pay each month. There are multitudes of options available, and it is important to identify what you want out of your home services to choose a plan that is right for you. You can find local offers and specials by taking a few minutes to do the research.
There are plenty of ways to save money when it comes to home services. Whether you are looking to save big or simply interested in shaving off unnecessary digital expenses, taking advantage of these suggestions is a good beginning point of reference. Set goals, identify your bare minimum needs, and do your research. The deals are out there and it is up to you to take advantage of them.
Keep reading online shopping blog for latest money saving tips and home improvement tips.
About the Contributor : Gerad covers a broad range of topics around home services including internet, TV, and security systems for a variety of sites. He currently is working with Safe Choice Security on their blogging.