One of the best ways to save money is to capitalize on things you already do. It's easy to sign up for memberships and special programs, but are you taking full advantage of them?
AARP: Once you hit the mid-century mark, the AARP sends you a membership card. Don't grimace and toss it. For $16 a month, you can get some great deals on everything from car rentals to hotel accommodations. Look to aarp.org for the "Today's Hot Deals" and "Like Free Stuff" tabs. AARP also offers deals at stores such as Dunkin' Donuts, Papa John's and the UPS store.
Costco: This warehouse chain isn't just for 20-roll packs of toilet paper. By using its huge buying power with more than 70 million cardholders, Costco can offer discounts on health and dental plans, mortgage services and auto sales, in addition to gasoline and TP.
Points: Managing all the rewards and points you earn on credit cards and airline rewards cards can be daunting. Now there's a website that makes it easy: points.com. Log onto the site and enter all your membership cards; it's affiliated with more than 100 programs, including Aeroplan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Best Buy Reward Zone, Delta SkyMiles, Priority Club Rewards, United Airlines MileagePlus and US Airways Dividend Miles.
Add the cards to your virtual "Rewards Wallet" to maintain your points balance. You can trade points with others and even buy additional rewards points. The website also promises to show users top-secret ways to earn more points.