These readers found crazy-deep discounts on everything from designer clothes to Broadway shows. Now, they're sharing how they did it. Keep clicking to see their tricks for getting what you want for less. Photo by Getty Images
$23 Dream Jeans
Kendal Perez, Fort Collins, CO
"I saw the perfect pair of dark red jeans at The Limited-but they were $75. I tried less expensive stores, but no other similar pair looked quite as good. I'd almost given up when I saw a promotion on CouponSherpa.com for 50% off up to three items at the store. Then I combined that with a $15 reward I'd earned using The Limited's Couture credit card. I ultimately ended up paying just $23 for the jeans I wanted. Score!"
Her Secret: Patience.
Of course you want a coveted item as soon as you see it, but it can pay to wait until the right promotion comes along.
$15 Souvenir Sweatshirt
Ashley Hardesty, Boston
"My boyfriend and I went to an event called Christmas at Fenway, where they sold Red Sox merchandise from the previous season at discounted prices. Many items were damaged, stained or otherwise undesirable, but I dug through one bin and found a thick white Nike zip-up hoodie with embroidered lettering marked at just $15! I couldn't figure out why it was so cheap-until I saw a huge smudge of makeup on the sleeve. I bought it, slathered on some stain stick, washed it twice in warm water, and now it's sparkly clean. Similar ones at the souvenir store went for $80 to $100 the following season."
Her Secret: Be open to a bit of repair work.
If you need to do small fixes, like spot-treating stains or sewing on a button, it can really turn out to be worth the effort.
Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY
"We needed some new lighting, so my sister-in-law told my husband and me about a place called Green Demolitions, where people who are remodeling their homes donate their no-longer-wanted, but still good-looking, fixtures, appliances and things of that nature. The company then resells them at a fraction of the original purchase price. As soon as we walked in, we saw a wonderful, brand-new chandelier!"
Her Secret: Don't agree to the first price.
In this case, Deborah and her husband were shocked that the chandelier they wanted was only $150. It was easily worth $1,000! The salesman took their surprise as hesitation-and cut the price in half. It never hurts to ask if a salesman can do better than the listed cost.
$0 Greeting Cards
Elsa Chen, Sunnyvale, CA
"I'm a member of a bunch of custom greeting card websites, like Shutterfly.com, Cardstore.com and Treat.com. Because these sites email discount codes for almost every occasion, I buy my holiday and birthday cards for just the cost of shipping. Not only do I save, but since they're personalized, they're even better than store-bought cards."
Her Secret: Buy out of season.
Make sure to use the discount codes before they expire, even if that means buying a card for an August birthday in January.
$10 Chanel Suit
Vittoria Woodill, Philadelphia
"I was browsing at a thrift store, and the suit's bright color jumped out at me. I took it off the rack to look closer and I knew it was high quality because of the weight of the material. Then I saw the Chanel label and snapped it up! It seemed too good to be true, so I had it authenticated, and it's the real deal. It probably retailed for around $3,000 to $5,000. I paid $10."
Her Secret: Feel the goods.
Rule of thumb: Heavy is luxury. If it feels cheap, it is cheap, and it's not worth your hard-earned pennies. Check the label, the stitching and the material. Poor quality is no bargain, no matter how inexpensive it is.
$1 First-Edition Book
Sharyne Wolfe, Mill Neck, NY
"I bought a copy of Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham at a tag sale for $1. The book had a dust jacket, which I knew made it more valuable, so I put it on eBay with a starting price of $9.99. Someone emailed me to ask if I could do a 'buy it now' for $150. Sold! The book turned out to be a first edition."
Her Secret: Educate yourself.
If Sharyne had realized she had a first edition, she would have priced the book even higher. "Now I know that if it has a dust jacket and is in good condition, I'll buy it and check its value on eBay," she says. You can also search "first edition" on eBay to find clues for how to identify a rare book.
1¢ Leather Belt
Sekita Ekrek, New York City
"I had a $10-off coupon for DSW that was about to expire, and I spotted the perfect belt there on sale. It was distressed, well-constructed and just the right shade. The label didn't list the sale price but when I got to the register, the belt rang up for 80% off $50, plus my coupon. Grand total: 1¢."
Her Secret: Combine promotions.
Holiday sales are usually pretty good, but to max out savings, try to find coupons or loyalty discounts that you can stack on top.
$25 Broadway Show
McKenzie Minden, Cambridge, MA
"The Book of Mormon came to the Boston Opera House earlier this year and tickets were over $100 a pop. The day it opened, I decided to check StubHub.com. Lucky for me, there were a bunch of cheap tickets! Just hours before curtain, I paid $25 (including fees) for an orchestra seat with a face value of $185."
Her Secret: Be flexible, spontaneous and willing to walk away.
It's worth checking Stubhub up until the last moment-the closer it gets to showtime, the more the ticket auction site's prices drop (ticket holders who can't attend want to get something). But you need to be willing to take a gamble and skip the show if prices don't go low enough for you.