Take a hike!

Saturday September 27th is the next free entrance day at our national parks. You still have enough time to make some plans. November 11 will be your last chance to get in free in 2014.

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Fee-Free Yosemite (and other parks)

I took this!!!

I took this picture!!!

Mark your calendar! Monday August 25 & Saturday September 27 are Free Entrance Days at our National Parks! I’m partial to Yosemite and Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau (Try pronouncing that!).

Your savings depends on which park you go to but I know it costs $20 per car for entrance into Yosemite. September is usually beautiful in Yosemite. I doubt there’s ever an ugly day in Pu’uhonua.

Airfare Compare

Kayak is the first place I go when I’m ready to book airfare. AirfareWatchdog has probably already alerted me to a drop in fares, but I like to do a double-check.

Kayak lets you compare the prices of all airlines at once. You choose the departure and destination airports and the dates (or date range if you can be flexible) you want to fly. You can then narrow the results by time, number of stops, and airline.

This site makes it really easy to find and buy your airfare at the lowest possible price.

6+ months free admission to Universal Studios

Going to Universal Studios Hollywood in 2014 or do you live in the area? This may be the deal for you.  Get all of 2014 for the price of a 1-Day regular admission ($92)!
Plus you’ll receive Annual Pass Member benefits all year long!

  • Discounted General Admission tickets for your friends and family
  • Discounts on food and merchandise (excludes alcohol, carts and collectibles)
  • Discounted prices on Halloween Horror Nights tickets

Read the restrictions very carefully and check the blackout calendar before you buy or book anything (July is pretty much out).  

 

PlumDistrict

PlumDistrict is a great discount site for all women. It’s definitely geared towards moms and kids, but we childless folk can enjoy the deals, too.

We are a community of moms connecting other moms to products and inspiration to make our lives easier. We’re here to spark the sort of connections that make mom’s day by offering great values for her and her family.

PlumDistrict is free to join and they offer national and local deals. If you’re taking a vacation, check out the offers in your destination area. My favorite Bay Area nail salon chain (Pinkies) comes up often and I get my mani/pedis at a super discount. They also have a lot of offers for personalized gear, toys, maternity nutrition, kid’s sports camps, fitness gear, magazine subscriptions, kid’s clothes, etc. It’s a site for anyone.

PlumDistrict also offers some great referral bonuses for their members! When you invite or refer a new member, you earn 5 Plum Dollars to use on your next purchase.  They also offer the “Three for Free” deal. If you purchase a deal and share it with friends (via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail) and three of them purchase the same deal, you get yours free!

OpenTable

I love free things. And I hate waiting. I’m cheap AND impatient. It’s an awesome combo.

For these reasons, I’ve been a member of the free restaurant reservation website OpenTable for years. OpenTable lets me make restaurant reservations all over the world for free and I earn dining checks just for showing up! Each reservation earns 100 points (some restaurants even offer 1,000 points for slower time periods). At 2,000 points, I can redeem for a $20 dining check! I can use the dining check at any restaurant in the OpenTable system and I always make a reservation for the redemption meal (thereby earning another 100 points). I use the site when I travel, too. I’ve made reservations from Alaska, to Hawaii, to Florida.

OpenTable also lets me make reservations for other people. Everyone in my family is on my account. They call me when they want a reservation and I earn the points. When I was an assistant, I made reservations for my boss and anyone else who asked. I racked up points and dining checks like crazy. If you are an assistant, you need to get an OpenTable account. If you just like to eat and you like free stuff, you too should get an account.

Discount your Costco Membership

If you have a Costco near you and you aren’t a member, you’re missing out.  When you think of Costco, you probably think “bulk food”…giant barrels of peanut butter and a ten pound block of cheese.  Costco is so much better than that now.  They sell everything.  Diapers, mattresses, jewelry, computers, toys, brand name clothes , prestige cosmetics and fragrances, movie theater tickets, bikes, TVs,  cell phones, gift cards, prescription eye wear, and even caskets!  Costco has you covered from birth to death and all the time in between.

I use my Costco membership so much that it’s free.  I’m an “Executive Member”.  My “2% Rewards” earnings on my Costco purchases earns me a fat check right before my renewal date.  The check is good for anything at Costco, even my membership renewal.

The bulk (lame pun!) of my grocery purchases are made at Costco. I buy all of my frozen and fresh meats, frozen seafood, eggs, cheese, and some produce there.  I haven’t found the bulk quantities to be a waste of money or food.  I take my lunch to work everyday and I cook dinner most weeknights.  I’ve also split a purchase with a friend or relative when I knew it would be too much for me to consume or use before it expired.

I buy a lot of household products and all of my contact lenses there.  I often find designer clothes and sunglasses while roaming the warehouse.  I bought my TV there, too. (The same TV that Best Buy was selling for about $30 more.)  I also buy gift cards for local and chain restaurants there.  They’re typically $100 worth in gift cards, at a cost of $79.99. And because I’m a cheap bitch, I buy most gifts there, too. They sell everything!

A regular Costco membership is $55.  The Executive Membership is $110.  If you think you’ll be spending at least $2800 there annually, go with the Executive Membership. In the end, it’ll be cheaper.  You’ll be amazed at the selection at Costco and you’ll be amazed at how quickly that cart adds up. Making your 2% reward pay for your membership is much easier than you think.