By Robert Davis
Laura Daily began giving talks about saving money shortly after the 2009 housing market crashed. She saw her own life, as well as many of her friend’s lives, turned upside down by the recession, forcing many to rethink the way they consume goods and services.
10 years later, she is still giving talks. She also runs two websites that share practical consumer-related advice and shares advice in her Denver Post column “Cheap Checklist.”
The VOICE attended one of Daily’s talks at the Englewood Library to learn more about her savings philosophy and what it means to live frugally in a growing city. Here are five of her tips that are sure to put a few bucks back in your pocket.
The most valuable card in your wallet is your library card.
Something you may not know is that Colorado libraries have reciprocity with one another. Once you sign up at one library, you can take advantage of all of the free services libraries offer. These include computer classes, cultural attractions, tickets, and events. Libraries can help you find jobs and provide access to the internet and literature that has become too expensive to subscribe to. Libraries also offer backpacks with maps and a pass to Colorado’s state parks. You can check them out for up to two weeks. If one library has too many people in line ahead of you, you can go to smaller libraries which may have shorter wait times.
Clean up on clearance.
What’s the first aisle you go down when you walk into the supermarket? For some, it’s the snacks or candy isle. But, Daily suggests your first stop should be the clearance or manager’s special rack. Every store has them, but often hide them. It’s a place where managers dump products that are damaged, old, or just rebranded, and sell them for less than the sticker price. If you pay a little more attention and are willing to get your hands dirty, you’re guaranteed to find a great deal.
Keep up with your coupons.
Here’s something you may not know about paper coupons: most department stores and supermarkets will take them past their expiration date. Why put a date on there in the first place? Simple. They want you to come in before that date. But, if you don’t, plenty of them will still take your coupons. For example, if you have two coupons for $.50 off toothpaste at Safeway, they will give you the value of both coupons. You will still pay sales tax, but that means you would pay about $.10. This can also apply to name brand items at places like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where coupons never expire. Restaurants like Smashburger will accept coupons out of date as well.
Save your register tapes.
On the back of many register tapes are coupons for services, or other fun things. You can also go to www.rtui.com and look up what offers are in your area and print them out. Most libraries offer printing for as little as a dime per page.
Your tax dollars are distributed to arts and cultural organizations and give back by offering free days. The Denver Art Museum offers free days for residents on the first Saturday of the month. The Children’s Museum offers free days on the first Tuesday of every month. The Botanic Gardens, Museum of Nature and Science, The Denver Zoo, The Museum of Miniature Dolls and Toys, and The Firefighters Museum also offer free days every month. You can check out all of the free days at milehighonthecheap.com. ■