Tom Kerr writing about freebies and bargains…

I went out for sushi with friends last winter, and one of them began to describe his love of Tokyo.

“When did you go there?” I wondered.

“October. My daughter’s got these apps that track air fares and notify you of last-minute deals. She asked if I was doing anything over the next 10 days, and a week later we were eating sushi in Tokyo.”

“But your daughter’s in college,” I said. “How can she afford to fly you to Japan?”

“Oh, I helped out, but the whole trip only cost about $1,000, round-trip, for both of us.”

Deals like those happen all the time, I learned.

Five months ago, Iceland’s WOW Air offered round-trip flights to Iceland from several U.S. cities, for $190. Heck, you probably can’t drive yourself across the state and back for $190…and Iceland is currently one of the world’s top travel destinations.

As of August, 2017, WOW Air started offering flights to Iceland from airports including Boston, Newark, San Francisco, Miami, and Chicago…for similar rock-bottom prices.

There are oodles of ways to save if you just take advantage of freebies and bargains.

My mom got sick, and I was frequently flying back and forth to visit her. So I signed up for an airline rewards card. Soon I had accumulated enough points to fly to Europe and back.

All it cost me was the $85 annual credit card membership fee.

But I also got airport lounge vouchers, discounted companion fares, and other perks that were worth more than $85 per year…so the miles earned were essentially free.

Or you can use a credit card like Citi Double Cash. It doesn’t charge an annual fee but pays you 2% back on every purchase. You get 1% at the point of purchase, and another 1% when you pay your monthly bill on time. That can be an added incentive to stay on top of bill payments.

I’ve used that card for years and never carried a balance or paid a penny in interest or fees. The bank is paying me to use it – not the other way around – which is how I like banking relationships to work.

I heard billionaire Mark Cuban speaking on television about ways to grow richer, simply by taking advantage of savings opportunities.

I was surprised to hear him say that he’ll sometimes buy consumables in bulk. Consumer items tend to go up in price over time, not down, he reasoned, but you buy them year-in, year-out. So, he makes money by locking in a lower price and buying a larger quantity when he spots a sale.

When you can save instead of spending in the first place, that’s a no-brainer.

The last time I bought transmission fluid I only needed a quart, but I purchased a whole case for the volume discount, knowing I’d use it within a year. Six months later the price had jumped 25%.

What other investments pay a 25% return…in just six months?

Plus, the auto parts store gave me a $5 discount on my next purchase, so I snagged a case of motor oil.

But at the cash register the guy asked “Do you want a free oil filter?”

“You bet I do.”

“You get one when you buy a case.”

Boom…another $16 saved.

Hey, I’m not a coupon clipper, and I don’t go out of my way to be frugal. But when somebody offers me something I want, for free, I will certainly oblige them and take it off their hands.

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

But there are times when it can be as easy to pocket as low-hanging fruit.

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in Truth & Plenty. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

Image: ©iStock.com/andresr

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