By Melinda Miller
Someone once told me the “joke” that a man will pay twice as much as he should for something because he needs it; whereas a woman will buy something she doesn’t need because it’s on sale. It’s a terribly rude, assumptive, sexist comment. I would have been offended by it except that, in my house at least, it happens to be completely true.
For me, a good deal is hard to pass up. Luckily, this sort of behavior was much more justifiable around the holidays. Even if I didn’t need that new cookware set that was half off, I could probably find someone on my gift list who could use it! And now that the holidays are over, I’ll take all the help I can get to save a few bucks for myself too.
If your resolutions include being more frugal, check out our list below and use the comments section to let us know about other local sites I missed or about the great deal you’ve gotten using one of these pages. We’d love to hear about it!
Check out our list below and use the comments section to let us know about other local sites I missed or about the great deal you’ve gotten using one of these pages. We’d love to hear about it!
Deal of the Day:
This is a well-organized site by The News-Gazette that lists half-price deals for more than a dozen local companies that you can purchase online and PICK UP FOR FREE (no shipping charges!) right here in town. If you prefer, you can also have the certificates mailed. There is a limit to how many of the deals you can purchase in a 30-day period. New deals are added daily.
Perhaps the best-known half-off sites locally are the three offered by our local CBS affiliate: Frugal Fridays, Tempting Tuesdays, and Par Fore Pennies. Like the News-Gazette site, each of these offers you the chance to purchase a half-off gift certificate for a local company but each has a different specialty. Frugal Fridays is, of course, updated on Fridays (at 11 a.m.) and offers deals for local restaurants. Par Fore Pennies naturally lists 50% off deals for local golf courses (GREAT presents for the golfers on your list!) and is updated on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Similarly, Tempting Tuesdays is updated at the same time. The certificates offered there vary more — from a zipline experience in Kinmundy, Ill., to a half-off deal to Strawberry Fields, the natural foods store in Urbana. You have to jump on these deals and make sure you’re buying early enough to get them in the mail before you will need them (in my experience, they are not mailed locally).
In a format very similar to WCIA’s three websites, other local news and music outlets offer 50% off deals on their websites. If you enjoy buying in this format, you’ll also want to bookmark and frequently check out Illini Radio Group’s Online Outlet and NewsChannel 15. Others crop up and disappear from time to time too. Be on the lookout for when your favorite stations might be offering similar programs.
Central Illinois Savings (cisaves.com):
This website claims to have deals up to 90% off on a wide variety of products. But note that not all of their deals are strictly for Central Illinois companies; I’ve seen listing a tempting deal for 68% off a custom canvas print that would come from a company in California in addition to offering 70% off an Illini tote bag from a company in Rantoul.
There are also websites specializing just in online ordering for restaurants. These pages aren’t offering discount gift certificates but occasionally have online-only deals and coupons for some of your favorite eateries in town. The two sites I’ve used are CiEats (www.cieats.com) and EatCU (www.eatcu.com). Bookmarking these pages on your computer is much easier than keeping a folder full of coupons that always seem to expire before you need them.
Melinda Miller came to Champaign-Urbana in 1999 to attend the University of Illinois and is happily “stuck” here now that she is aunt to five other Champaign County residents (ranging in age from 2 to 13) who let her experience the joys of our community through their eyes on a regular basis.