Vote for the Best Savings Idea

Choices include playing the "drugstore game," driving in the rain, and cutting hair at home.

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Thanks to everyone who shared money-saving tips in the latest Alpha Consumer Challenge! There were a lot of great contributions, and it was hard to pick the top three.

Now, it's time to vote on the winner, who will be featured on this blog and receive a copy of Rob Walker's Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. That book is also the first selection for the Alpha Consumer Book Club. To participate in the book club, all you have to do is read the book, which is an intriguing look at consumer culture. Then, E-mail questions you have for the author to alphaconsumer@usnews.com, or post them as comments on this blog. Rob Walker will answer them here over the next few weeks. You can also join the book club on Facebook and post your questions there.

Vote for the idea you like best by next Wednesday morning:

Playing the "Drugstore Game," from Cathy: "My favorite tip by far at the moment is the Drugstore Game! I go to CVS a couple of times a week, armed with coupons, store circulars and a plan. The Drugstore Game isn't for everyone, but if you like coupons and crunching numbers, this can save you hundreds (maybe thousands!). Not only am I getting things I want and need for dirt cheap (and often free), I'm staying out of stores like Target, where temptation lurked in every aisle (and especially the clearance endcaps!). Best of all, I'm really having fun—when I'm stressed out, the best distraction is calculating a money-making scenario!"


Driving in the rain to get a free car wash, from Raymond: "I think the subject line pretty much sums it up. While some people get the 'perk' of outdoor parking, others like myself live in a parking-strapped apartment complex where the only reserved parking is within the confines of a covered parking garage. To save money on unnecessary car washes, I purposely run random errands during rain storms to give my car a good splashing in the open rain. The heavier and the more powerful the thunderstorm, the more thorough the cleaning. The water is free and I am conserving natural resources! Savings is about per wash. It may not be much individually, but the savings can add up over time."
Embracing bad hair days, from Dan: "We cut our own hair in our family. There are four of us. Do the math! We save on gas as we do not have to drive to some salon, we save on time and we save on more money because we do not get tempted to buy all that stuff on display or see all the media ads while looking through a magazine while we wait. I also believe I am healthier which saves on medical stuff because I am not in there breathing all those chemicals. Does our hair look great? ... Does it matter? I mean, really. So your hair looks good, but you have credit card debt. I think my life is much less stressful without debt and able to save more for retirement. But, since I asked ... Yes, our hair looks great, just not fabulous. But, we care more about each other than each other's hairdo."
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