Everyone can learn to adjust to cutting back, be it through a local ski trip instead of Vail or the Alps, waiting for the Black Friday sale to buy that flat screen TV for 30 percent off, or opting for a classic purse you can coordinate with year-round instead of a seasonal designer bag. But real savings don’t start with the triple or quadruple digit purchases. They start with the smaller ones you make daily. Let’s see just how much you can save on those everyday items when you look for clever ways and alternatives to cut costs on a smaller scale.
Before: Body by Victoria Body Wash, 6.7oz ($15)
Try: Oatmeal and Honey Pure Vegetable Soap by Trader Joe’s (2 bars for $1.50)
Before: Nigella AX B Shampoo ($25)
Try: Kiwi Shampoo by VOS ($0.99) or Green Apple Shampoo by Suave ($0.99)
Before: Cut and blow dry at a salon ($60 plus tip)
Try: Bumble & Bumble  hair model cuts if you live in NYC (free—usually offered on Mondays only), or you can try doing a search under the free section of Craigslist  for other salons offering their services for free if you’re willing to change things up with a cute bob or a new hair color. Another great option is your local beauty school ; they often do services for free or at least for a fraction of a salon-priced cut.
Before: Full price at Virgin Records or iTunes (average new CD: $12.99)
Try: Being patient enough to wait for a CD by mail through Amazon  (average “very good” or “like new” new released CD: $5.99 including shipping)
Before: Full price ticket ($9 to $12)
Try: Kicking back in the comfort of your own home and renting something from Blockbuster, Netflix, or even watching a movie online for free through Hulu.com . For some theaters, like the AMC/Lowes in NYC, all shows before noon on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays are half price. Check your local theater for your local discounted shows.
Before: RAO’s Gourmet Marinara Sauce ($9.89)
Try: Roasted Garlic Marinara Sauce from Trader Joe’s ($1.99) or Del Monte’s Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano ($1.99)
Getting Around Town
Before: Cab (average city ride: $8) or Car ($3/gallon of gas)
Try: Biking (if it’s not raining and you own one), walking when possible (you could probably use the exercise), carpooling, or public transportation ($1 to $2 per ride).
Before: Average yoga studio class ($10 to $20 per class)
Try: Yoga to the People’s free yoga podcast  at home, or any number of podcasts offered through iTunes (free)
Before: Flights ($200-plus) and hotels ($100-plus per night)
Try: Traveling driving distance by car or bus instead of train or plane—if you’re in the east/Midwest area, Megabus  is offering roundtrip tickets for free when you travel between January and May of 2009 and book your tickets online using the promo code: greenbus). Instead of staying at a hotel, try a B&B or a vacation rental or a house swap through Craigslist ; you can usually find a deal for half the cost of a hotel.
Before: Double tall soy vanilla latte ($4.50)
Try: Doppio, cafe au lait, or tea ($2.50)
Before: Late night cocktails at full price ($8 to $12)
Try: Happy hours! The same exact drink you have enjoyed at your favorite hotspot tastes even better a few hours earlier when it’s half price, trust me ($4 to $6)
Before: Erath Pinot Noir, 2006 from Fred Meyers (Oregon), or Wine Warehouse (NYC) ($16 to $32)
Try: Red Diamond or Blackstone Merlot at Trader Joe’s Wineshop ($8 to $10)
Before: Eat out anywhere sans coupons
Try: Coupons! They aren’t so scary, really. Restaurants.com  is a great place to score great deals on restaurants in your area (e.g., $25 gift certificates for only $10). You can also find a lot of “50 percent off” or “buy one, get one free” dinner coupons in the 2009 Entertainment Book  for restaurants your area (good from November 2008 through November 2009). EXTRA: If you’re going out for someone’s birthday, they can save big by going to one of the restaurants on this extensive list  (offers include free dessert, free appetizer, and/or free dinner).
Just start small, start daily, and see just how big you can save!