Using coupons isnt the only way to save. Lots of times, it pays just to ask.
When shopping at any retail store, ask the cashier whether there are any coupons that might be useful. You would be surprised how many times the employee will reach under the counter and pull out a deal for you.
Also, ask about discount days. Kroger has a senior discount day on the first Wednesday of each month, when seniors receive 10 percent off their purchases. My salon has specials on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Such weekday specials are common at many stores, because theyre looking to get you in on otherwise slow weekdays.
Also, when youre buying a big-ticket item, dont be shy about asking for a better deal. If the company wont come down on price, ask for something of added value, such as free delivery or installation.
■ Bob Evans is offering free kids meals each night during December with the purchase of an adult entrée.
■ Save $20 on a purchase of $45 or more at Yankee Candle.
■ When you buy one Beef n Cheddar or Turkey n Cheddar sandwich at Arbys, use a coupon to get another sandwich free. Offer expires Dec. 11.
Freebies and rebates
■ Megabus is giving away 200,000 free seats for available travel from Jan. 9 to Feb. 28.
■ Amazon.com is giving away sets of five holiday songs every five days through Christmas.
■ Buy an Oskar folding snow brush at Sears and get the full cost back by mail-in rebate.
■ At 2 p.m. daily, Target is giving away gifts on its Facebook page. Grab a ticket to see if you win.
■ Turn yourself and your loved ones into elves, and receive a free calendar featuring the photos.
■ American Airlines is offering 500 AAdvantage bonus miles for taking a Facebook survey.
■ Earn five bonus Disney Movie Rewards points daily through Dec. 25. Go to ABCfamily.com/25days to find the Disney Movie Reward logo, then click it to receive a code that can be entered in your account.
■ Earn 100 points on Recyclebank.com when you review a list of eco-friendly gift-giving tips. You can redeem points for coupons, magazine subscriptions, samples and more.
Protect your privacy by never using your real email address when requesting freebies. Instead, create a separate account using free email services like Yahoo or Hotmail. Also, avoid giving out your phone number. Try entering (555) 555-5555 instead. This works on most forms.
Deborah Morris' weekly column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get through these economic hard times a little more easily. If you know of a way to save some money, feel free to share it on The Fru-Gal blog on BluegrassMoms.com and visit her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.