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Don't Let Inflation Ruin Your Fun. How to Save on Restaurants, Gas and Gadgets

Learn secret tips to afford your lifestyle.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Katie Teague
3 min read

Save money at restaurants and the gas pump to keep more cash in your wallet.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Are you one of those people who prefer to eat out rather than dive into your fridge? Do you keep up with the latest gadgets or fashion? 

With inflation crushing most parts of the economy, prices on everything are soaring, but there are ways you can save money and still get the things you want and need.

Discover some ways to save on eating at restaurants, filling up your gas tank, as well as how to get a better deal on devices and more. Plus, check out these easy and free ways to save money on your gas, electric and water bills.

Buy discounted gift cards for shopping and eating out

If you often spend money on eating out at restaurants and shopping, you'll want to know this tip. You can buy gift cards online with a balance higher than what you pay. That's right. People often receive gift cards to stores and restaurants they don't like or will never go to and they sell them online. You can also get a little bit of cash back. Here are some places to check out. 

CardCash: You can buy unwanted gift cards on CardCash and it'll tell you the amount the card is worth and what you're paying. Just search for any store or restaurant you frequent to see what's available. For instance, I found a $25 Cheesecake Factory gift card for $20.48 (an 18.1% savings). CardCash offers a 45-day money-back guarantee on all purchases.

Gift Card Granny: This one works a bit differently. You earn cash back for every gift card you buy on Gift Card Granny. For example, a $50 Lowe's card will get you 50 cents back. Gift Card Granny has a "100% Lifetime Guarantee" on its gift cards.

Save money on gas through membership clubs

While the average gas price has lowered, you still may be thinking about ways to save a bit at the pump. Here's an idea: become part of a membership club. Here are a few places that offer fuel discounts (and other perks). Plus, check out these other ways to save on gas.

Kroger: When you spend money on groceries at Kroger, the total spent is converted into points that you can use toward fuel. Each month, for every 100 points earned, you get 10 cents off, up to $1 off per gallon. Your points expire at the end of the following month. Even if you don't have any points, you can still save 3 cents per gallon at the pump.

Sam's Club: You can become a Sam's Club member by paying an annual fee of $50. With that, you can save 5 cents per gallon when you buy gas.

Walmart Plus: If you join Walmart Plus for $98 annually or $13 monthly, you can save 5 cents per gallon at the pump -- and that includes Sam's Club gas stations.

Costco: A $60 membership to Costco gets you access to one of the cheapest places to buy gas in the US. 


Save on things you spend money on often.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Buy used, refurbished and open-box devices

Not quite ready to spend $1,000 on a mobile phone or other electronic device? You don't have to. Instead, you can shop around for used and refurbished devices, as well as products that are considered open box. Check these places out.

Amazon Warehouse: You can find preowned, used and open-box items in great condition from Amazon Warehouse. I bought an open-box Ecovacs Deebot at a crazy good discount and it was still in its original packaging. Sometimes these items are bought and returned without being opened, but still have to be categorized as "used" and "open box."

Best Buy Outlet Deals: Just like Amazon, Best Buy has its own section for open-box deals. For instance, I found an Apple iPad Pro, which would have had an original price of $1,099, for $946 open-box. For refurbished or preowned products, you can choose to see only those devices by checking the boxes under the "Condition" section.

Apple: Only use Apple products? Check out the Apple refurbished items where you can save on iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and more. While you won't find the newest iPhone 14 models (yet), you can still save $230 on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, for example. 

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