Finney's Finds: Never pay full price again

Restoration Hardware
May 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you want to be a savvy shopper you need to know where to look for the best deals and the discounts. Daily deal sites and online bargains are becoming very popular, but I want to let you in on bargain secrets you may not know about.

We all know that Costco requires a membership for shoppers to get its deep discounts, but there's one part of the store where anyone can shop.

"We don't intend that for the public not to know, but you do not have to be a Costco member to shop here at our pharmacy," said Willete Iwatani, a Costco pharmacy manager.

Iwatani says few people know the law requires all pharmacies in California to be accessible to everyone. All you have to do at Costco's front door is tell them you are going to the pharmacy.

Prescription drugs can be as much as 85 percent less at Costco. For instance, a recent Consumer Reports survey found a one month's supply of generic Lipitor cost $17 at Costco compared to $150 at many major pharmacy chains.

Barbara Lager shops at Costco for her prescriptions. She said, "It probably saves me about $1,000 a year."

If it's furniture you are looking for I've found some great deals at the Crate and Barrel outlet in Berkeley and Restoration Hardware's outlet in Vacaville's Premium Outlets.

The back room in the Crate and Barrel outlet sells samples and store furniture that has been returned to one of its retail stores. Most everything is marked down at least 30 percent. And, on Tuesdays the furniture that hasn't sold that week gets cut another 10 percent.

At the 13,000-square-foot Restoration Hardware outlet in Vacaville's Premium Outlets the furniture is mostly overstocked merchandise from the company's Corte Madera store. Most of it is brand new and in great condition. Some furniture there is marked down as much as 60 percent and everything is at least 20 percent below the prices you'd find in their regular stores.

Athena Brekke drives here from Alameda just for the big savings.

"Pretty much everything you see in the store, you're going to see out here except that it's discount. I like to look out there, look online, see what's out there and then I come here and see if I can pick it up," said Brekke.

Restoration Hardware doesn't advertise this tip, but if you are looking for something specific, you can ask one of their associates to call you when it comes in.

The North Face and H&M both hand out vouchers in exchange for your old clothes or shoes. At The North Face you get $10 off your next purchase. H&M gives you a 15 percent off discount.

Ingrid Konopaski of San Francisco plans to bring back clothes next time she shops.

"It's would be an incentive for my daughter to get rid of her clothes and get new," said Konopaski.

Looking to save money on travel? Yapta, Orbitz and CheapAir.com will all refund you money if you buy an airline ticket on their site and someone else buys it after you for less.

CheapAir CEO Jeff Klees says they have something called a "price drop pay back".

"If you buy a ticket from us and the fare goes down after you purchase it, we will give you a refund in the form of a travel credit for up to $100," said Klees.

I also suggest you go directly to the airline sites as more and more are deals you can't find anywhere else.

Here's one more tip. Airport Appliance in Hayward has a huge warehouse of marked down, slightly damaged appliances. It's worth the trip.

I have a whole book full of Bay Area bargains you can find in a book I recently published called Finney's Finds.


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