Apr 162012

LOTC_Full Round LogoWe know you love all the great South Florida deals you find at Florida Keys on the Cheap.

Now we’ve got another great resource to save you time and money: Living on the Cheap.com.

Living on the Cheap is a new national consumer news website, offering advice on sports and recreation, entertainment, travel, couponing, shopping, personal finance and more. It’s a one-stop-shopping site for deals and smart shopping (and saving) tips for people all over North America. And it’s based here in South Florida and edited by Florida on the Cheap editor and publisher Teresa Mears and Mile High on the Cheap editor Laura Daily. Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap editor and Florida Keys on the Cheap writer Patti Roth, who scouts out Florida deals for us, is a National Deals Editor at the new site.

Your editors at Florida Keys on the Cheap are part of a team of more than 20 consumer advocates, frugalistas and experienced journalists who have joined forces to create this new resource. We’re excited about this new money-saving national site and we hope you will be, too.

We hope you’ll check out Living on the Cheap, bookmark it and subscribe to our daily email update for practical information about how to thrive, not just survive, in today’s economy. We also want you to share the news with your friends all over the United States. We’ll continue to bring you the best local deals at Florida Keys on the Cheap.

We’ll have a gala grand opening at Living on the Cheap with giveaways and prizes in a few weeks, but we’re giving you a sneak peak first. We hope you and your friends will spread the word about Living on the Cheap, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 Posted by on April 16, 2012
Sep 052011

math-for-grownupsThis guest post is by our friend Laura Laing, author of the new book “Math for Grownups.” You can read more from Laura at her blog, Math for Grownups.

Saving some bucks can be a thrill and also a big boost to the bottom line. But did you know that a little bit of math can help you save even more? Take a look:

For the Day or the Year?

Your kids LOVE Disney World. Your family visits at least four times a year and more often if you have company. You spot an online deal: 10% off each child’s ticket.

Can you do better? Here’s where looking at an annual pass might be a better deal. If a Florida resident three-day pass is $138 for each person 10 and older, and you want to visit four times, that’s $552 per person. With the discount, each Florida resident three-day ticket will be $138 minus $13.80, or $124.20. But if an annual pass costs $414.29, you’ll save cash without the reduced ticket price. (Editor: You can spend all day doing math comparing the various theme park ticket combinations and deals.)

Fly Me to the Moon—with My Luggage, Please

You found a great deal on plane tickets online, but is the best deal? To find out, check the additional fees.

Most airlines today are charging for each bag of checked luggage. So, if your discounted ticket costs $250, but you need to check two bags (at $20 to $25 each), you could be paying up to $300 for the ticket, not including airport taxes and security fees. Another airline, without checked bag fees, could cost you less in the long run.

BOGO May Be a No-Go

By one, get one (BOGO) is always a good deal, right? Not so fast. You’ve found an online coupon for orange juice. If you buy a 64-ounce container, you can get a second one at half the price. Take a look at the other options when you get the store – before you buy.

At your local Publix, you notice that the BOGO orange juice is $3.48. But there’s another brand on sale for $5.53 per 128-ounce container. First off, the second brand is twice as large as the first. So, whether you use your coupon or not, you’re getting the same amount of juice. But how much would you pay, if you use the coupon? Half of $3.48 is $1.74. (Use a calculator, if you want!) And $3.48 + $1.74 is $5.22. Turns out, BOGO is the better deal.

You may not want to do any math, but if you’re looking for the best deal, a few calculations — and some creative thinking and common sense — can mean the difference between saving and spending.

 Posted by on September 5, 2011
Jun 072011

salebagI don’t always clip coupons, but I’m a dedicated user of the Publix “buy one, get one free” promotions. Nothing annoys me more than stocking up on something only to see it go BOGO the next week.

Watching TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” makes me realize that there are times it pays to clip coupons. I would never buy 100 bottles of mustard of stock up 30 years’ worth of toilet paper, but I don’t mind amassing 10 boxes of granola bars.

When I started paying closer attention to BOGO sales and trying to match them with coupons, I realized that both come in cycles.

Certain items going on sale every three months and others every six months. Once I learned that, I started waiting to stock up.

I can almost always get a BOGO deal on cereal, tea bags, granola bars, salad dressing, snack crackers and frozen dinners. Other frequent sale items include canned tomatoes, name-brand toilet paper and paper towels, soda and ice cream. Meat also has predictable sales cycles.

Want to match your coupons with sale items? Hold on to your coupon supplements, because many items for which you’ll find coupons in Sunday’s paper will go on sale about a month later.

Really dedicated bargain hunters keep a price book to track how often their favorite items go on sale and at what price, so they know what bargains to wait for.

If you’re looking for coupons, be sure to check our Free Samples and Coupons page and our Printable Grocery Coupons page. Those pages are updated frequently as new coupons become available.

— Teresa Mears, Miami on the Cheap

 Posted by on June 7, 2011
Sep 122010


Congratulations to all those who sent in their cheap tips as part of the Parenthood DVD contest. If you missed this contest, start working on your cheap tips now because we have another DVD contest coming up.

Here are our winners and their cheap tips:


Katiuska Carrazana of Miami:

  • Best happy hour: Friday’s at Happy Wine, 5792 SW 8th St., Miami.

Andy Cohn of Miami:

  • BIG 105.9 has weekly dining deals. On Wednesdays at 9 a.m. they have Pauly’s Picks, where you get a $100 gift certificate for $50. For good restaurants, you have to be quick. On Thursdays they have Doc’s Deals, a $50 certificate for $25. They also have WIOD Deals.

Ruth Hara of Miami:

  • Best cheap date: any guy in Miami — ’cause they’re cheap!
  • Best cheap place to take your kid: the library — and maybe they’ll learn something.
  • Best cheap hotel: Travelodge (locally, any hotel west of I-95).
  • Best cheap eats: Steak n’ Shake (half-off shakes 2 to 4 p.m. weekdays).
  • Best thrift shop: Douglas Gardens in Miami, Red White & Blue in Hialeah and North Miami.
  • Best cheap fun: sightseeing on the MetroMover, which is free.
  • Additional cheap tip: sign up on all the lists.

Grecia Morales of Miami-Dade:

Ella Pedre of Miami:

  • Best cheap date: Free movie screenings during the week.
  • Best cheap happy hour: The Bar in Coral Gables.  Ladies drink free between 5:30 and 7:30
  • Best cheap place to take your kid: Miami Children’s Museum on Target’s free night and several museums have specific days that have free admission.
  • Best cheap hotel: I like to stay at La Quinta.  It is cheap, clean and the fresh waffles for breakfast are great.
  • Best cheap eats: McDonald’s 49-cent hamburgers and 59-cent cheeseburgers Wednesday and Sundays, Subway’s $5 foot long or you can check out the culinary schools.  You get great food by students that could end up being the next top chefs.
  • Best thrift shop: Every Wednesday is “Wacky Wednesday” at the Salvation Army Family Stores in Miami-Dade and Broward. All clothing is 50 percent off.
  • Best cheap fun: Our county parks offer great amenities for free! Hopefully, they will not start charging for parking.  Our libraries offer great movies to borrow for free.
  • Best cheap beauty salon services: La Belle Beauty Academy offers cheap services from their students. You can check out other beauty schools and see if they do, too!

Stephanie Beck:

  • The best DATE, HAPPY HOUR and EATS are all combined at Morton’s Steak House in West Palm Beach (and other South Florida locations, though hours may vary). The setting is elegant and impressive and conducive to conversation (DATE), the HAPPY HOUR is all night in the bar offering inexpensive drinks, wine and beer, and the EATS are delicious and $5 each! You can make it dinner easily since they offer a delicious salad, mini burgers and filet sandwiches and gorgonzola french fries … yummy!

Andrea Knafo, Broward mother of three:

Karen Usry of Hollywood:

  • My best cheap date is in Hollywood. Stroll along the Broadwalk and people watch. Stop for a slice of pizza at Roccos and listen to the live music on most nights (I love Wednesdays), then end the night with a scoop from Ben and Jerry’s. Oh. and some smooching on the sand.

Honorable mention goes to Susan Moss, organizer of the Labyrinth Café folk music series in Fort Lauderdale, one of our favorite cheap music opportunities.

Do you have a great cheap tip we didn’t mention? Leave a comment here, and stay tuned for our next DVD contest.

 Posted by on September 12, 2010
Aug 242009

carrepairWhen the mechanic comes out with the estimate of how much it will cost to fix my car, I am nearly always stunned. Can it really cost that much?

If you want a second opinion, check RepairPal, which provides free estimates on repairs to most cars, customized by ZIP code. You can access RepairPal on your computer or get the freeiPhone app.

RepairPal joins several similar services: DriverSide, which is also free, and FairRepair, which charges $9.99 for an estimate once you enter your VIN number but gives you that cost back as a rebate if you use one of their participating mechanics, who have promised to honor the estimates.

RepairPal launched last year. In addition to providing repair estimates, it explains the purpose of the repairs, outlines problems specific to your car’s make and model and has a forum where you can get answers to questions. You can even keep your service records online.

Some local repair shops are listed with reviews, but that part of the website isn’t yet complete.

 Posted by on August 24, 2009
Mar 232009

birthdayI love free stuff. I love it even more when people give me free stuff just because I exist. I’d like to think it’s just because I’m cool like that, but really, they’ll give it to anyone. Want yours? Check out these two sites and register to get free stuff on your birthday.

  • BirthdayFreebies.com: With this site, you can be sure that you’re finding the freebies that are close to where you live, thereby enabling you to maximize the number of freebie redemptions. A quick search of my zip code brings up 71 restaurant freebies & 5 services. Not bad. (FYI–Since my b-day isn’t for a few months yet, I haven’t registered. David did, and he posted a comment on Atlanta on the Cheap that the numbers are inflated because they count each location separately. YMMV.)
  • FreeBirthdayTreats.com: Here, you can register for free birthday swag for yourself, your kids, or even your pets. Yes, your pets. Really. You can’t make this stuff up. A quick search of my area brings up a list of about 40 freebies, including entrees, desserts, & even a cigar (for me, not my pet…she’s stuck with a free toy from Petsmart, not that she’ll complain).

Some deals are valid on your birthday only. Others give you a few days to a few weeks to cash in, so plan carefully to work in a few free post-birthday pick-me-ups.

–Jennifer Maciejewski, Cities on the Cheap

 Posted by on March 23, 2009
Mar 202009

The price at the pump is starting to climb again. If you want to pay less every time you fill up, visit GasBuddy.com before you head out to find the best deal near you, wherever you are in the U.S. and Canada. Just enter your zip code and a list of the stations with the lowest gas prices in the area will pop up.

Consumers enter fuel prices at GasBuddy.com, and each entry includes the time of the most recent price update. I’m definitely using this site on my next road trip.

Fill ‘er up.

–Jennifer Maciejewski, Atlanta on the Cheap

 Posted by on March 20, 2009