Is anyone really paying the published rate to park near the airport anymore? There are so many coupons out there for airport parking lots (and many of them accept competitor coupons) that I am somewhat amazed when some people pay the posted rate. Hotels and motels are similar; no one pays the 'rack rate' at a motel anymore. If you don't shop around for a discount, you could easily pay $20 or $30 more per night than you have to.
On the other hand, coupons can be a burden. There are just so many coupons around; coupons for groceries, coupons for restaurants, coupons for car washes and oil changes. . . . They arrive in the mail, they are in the newspaper, they are in magazines, and, of course, they are online. I admit, I use coupons. I am not a fanatic about it, but I know I save a few hundred dollars a year by using them. My guess is that some of you, whether you are visitors or residents, wouldn't mind saving a few bucks on some things you'll be doing anyway, like going out to eat, or buying groceries, or visiting some local attractions. Of course, you could spend many frustrating hours clicking around the Internet to get to the myriad of coupon sites out there, only to find that the available coupon is for a radiator flush, or a fifth hot air balloon ride if you buy four more. Not too valuable for most people and very time consuming. So I have put together a few recommendations for online coupons and bargains that I believe are worthwhile.
Restaurant.com (Buy Direct)
Just enter your zip code, find a great coupon, pay, and print it off on your computer. No postage, no waiting. Pay close attention to restrictions on meals, such as minimum dollar requirements, times available. I personally use this service. (Buy Direct)
I've also compiled a list of 15 restaurants with discount offers at Restaurant.com for a special occasion, a date, to take a visiting relative or even to give as a gift.
Groupon (Buy Direct)
Groupon offers many opportunities for savings on local products and services. I have personally used Groupon for restaurants, car washes, admissions to attractions and even a few products. Make sure you read the deal page for restrictions which are clearly indicated. For example, some restaurant deals may only be available on certain days or for certain mealtimes.
A coupon network made up of local businesses in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. There is no charge for coupons.
ValPak is the company that send you those packages of twenty or so coupons for local businesses in the mail every month. Well, if you threw them away or misplaced them, you can get them online. Just enter your zip code.
GolfNow.com (Buy Direct)
If golf is your game, you have many courses from which to choose in the Greater Phoenix area. GolfNow.com offers discounted rates at more than 100 Arizona golf courses. The best deals are always in the afternoon -- beware of summer heat. While not all the premier golf courses in the area participate in GolfNow.com, and some of the courses are the ones for which there is not much demand, there are many fine, challenging and beautiful courses on the list, arranged geographically. Read the rules: tee times arranged online are not refundable, and there is a small convenience charge for using the service.
Both Scorebig.com and Goldstar.com are ticket consolidators. Unlike ticket brokers who often sell tickets to the highest bidder, these companies offer tickets to local performances and events at a discount. Check here for a few recent deals I saw at Goldstar.com and ScoreBig.com.
Aside from regular coupon sites, there are the ones that I call Daily Deal programs. Sign up and you'll receive daily or periodic emails with discount deals for products and services around the Phoenix metro area. Some are for restaurants, some are for spas or salons, some are for local activities, others are for miscellaneous products and services. You'll typically get half price for whatever the deal of the day is, and you can usually print the certificate from your computer. Companies in this category are Lunch Club, Deal Chicken and others. Check them out here.
You must like saving money, or you wouldn't have gotten to the end of this article! Here are several other About.com sites that might interest you:
All prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.