Live Well On Less
Butter up your favorite brands.
Companies love hearing from loyal customers and will often send them coupons
or free samples, reports Brock, who once scored several bottles of aftershave
from his favored manufacturer. Pen an enthusiastic letter or e-mail to the
customer service department of your favorite conditioner, snack food, or
cleaning product; it could save you cash while you continue to enjoy name-brand
products. "When my daughter was born, I figured out quickly that a certain
brand of diapers fit her best," says Jeannie Patro, 34, an editor from
Milwaukee. But they also happened to be a more expensive name brand, so Jeannie
went to the company's Website and signed up for their online customer network.
"They send me newsletters and coupons every few months, and if I combine
them with a sale or double-coupon offer at my store, I can save 10 or 20
percent off the regular price," she says.
Vacation in not-so-hot destinations.
"We recently went to Minneapolis for a weekend and stayed at a luxe
hotel with a great spa for $200 a night, which was a lot more affordable than a
comparable place in Chicago or New York," says Rae Meadows, 37, a novelist
in Madison, WI. "I got a pedicure, my husband got a facial, and the
treatments cost about 15 percent less than usual, so we even felt okay about
ordering room service every morning." Check Internet travel sites like
Travelzoo and Expedia for discounted rates and package deals.
Take a chance on a student.
Lawrence recommends contacting hairdressing or massage schools in your area
to connect with stylists and bodyworkers in training. These students are
required to practice on real-life clients, usually with supervision, before
receiving professional certification, and services will cost you a fraction of
the usual price. "I get my hair highlighted three or four times a year, and
that can add up," says Cari Dineen, 32, a REDBOOK staffer who lives in
Westfield, NJ. "Luckily, I discovered a nearby beauty school where I pay a
third of the cost of a regular salon. The students take a little longer, but
surprisingly, their work is second to none — they want it to be perfect to
impress their teachers!" Find a reputable beauty school near you at