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Shake Up Your Eating-Out Routine
As a big fan of eating out, I took note when Wise Bread (wisebread.com) suggested, "Bring your own wine." Obviously this depends on whether the restaurant allows it, so my husband and I go one better—we pair takeout from a place we like with our own bottle of red or white, and dine somewhere romantic, like in a park or next to the fire pit in our yard. Another trick we use pretty often is to hit Restaurant.com to buy gift certificates at a discount. I recently nabbed a $25 gift certificate for $10. We ate and drank in style for the cost of fast food.
Drive a Hard Bargain
At I Will Teach You to Be Rich (iwillteachyoutoberich.com), author Ramit Sethi offers no-holds-barred advice about negotiating, offering scripts for talking to everyone from your cable provider to your credit card issuers. I turned to him before I bought my Honda Fit. Even though I already considered myself a worthy adversary for any car dealer, I did learn from this master. As Sethi suggested, I began the process by going online and asking every dealership within 100 miles to e-mail me its best offer. A place an hour away offered me a lower price than one nearby, but not enough to make me want to road-trip. Off I went to my local dealer, just minutes away. Sure enough, he matched the price, which was lower than I would have dared suggest had I been a walk-in customer. The salesman tried to convince me to spend what I'd saved on a pricey maintenance package. I laughed. "It's my money," I said. "I'll keep it."