How to Save Money on Things That Are Rarely Discounted

There are always those items and services that you purchase on a regular basis that rarely (if ever) go on sale. A few that come to mind are: gas, utility bills, doctor visits, Chipotle burritos and Apple products.

This got me pondering: are there still ways that we can save money on these things?

Here’s a few suggestions that have worked for me and I hope will help you save on those goods and services that are hard to get deals on. Please share any that you’ve encountered that have worked for you!

save on things that rarely go on sale

Buy discounted gift cards

I wrote a year ago about how I’ve been saving as much as 13% on some everyday purchases by using discounted gift cards. I have notifications set-up with a gift card aggregator called, so I get emails when my favorite brands go on sale. You can get lots of different cards – even the ones that are hard to find deals on (like gas stations).

$5 off a purchase of $75 or more with code RAISE75AF

Discount for new customers only at discounted gift card reseller

Buy refurbished or open box items

Here’s a tip that I only recently discovered: when you want to purchase an item – like an Apple computer (that rarely goes on sale) – ask the store associate if they have one for sale that was an “open box” item. We actually got several hundred dollars knocked on a perfected good – but slighted “used” – Apple laptop at a big box retailer by doing this. Not all of them allow this, but it’s always worth a try and the item can still fall under warranty.

Sign-up for online deal news

One of the most popular deals newsletter is called SlickDeals. Charlie has talked about it too – but everyday you’ll get a run-down on some really good deals that you can take advantage of that others have posted to the site. Just a couple months ago, I picked up a gas gift card for 10% off retail as eBay was running a deal on them. With gas being one of those “everyday” purchases, I’ll take all the discounts I can get!

Use your credit card and save

I always say this with some hesitancy because I know many of us have, or do struggle with charging too much on credit cards and then aren’t able to pay them off every month. But there are some great advantages to using ’em – like cashback rewards (last year we earned almost $400 in cashback from credit card usage). When I swipe my Discover card, I get at least 2% on purchases, and sometimes as much as 5% on targeted items. So, you can certainly “cheat” the system by paying your bills or buying gas with the credit card to save.

Negotiate, negotiate

I’m a big fan of negotiating. On items that don’t go on sale often – or ever – you may be able to work some other deal that can help you save more. On dental or doctor visits, try asking about paying upfront in cash and then getting reimbursed by your provider. Our dental office takes 5% off our bill if we pay in full with cash.

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  1. Great post! You’re right about Apple products. I just bought a new MacBook this week and they almost NEVER have sales or negotiate, but they do have discounted gift cards every now and them! I looking forward to the credit card reward points the purchase racked up.

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