Acapulco’s drink specials make a night out with the girls inexpensive.
Image from Acapulco’s Facebook page.

Alcohol is delicious but going out to drink can be costly. Finding the right deal at the right time is all that is needed to have a great social experience without destroying your wallet.

Acapulco’s daily 2-8 p.m. $3.99 Humongo Happy Hour includes house margaritas, domestic draft beers, house wine and well drinks. To not drink on an empty stomach, appetizers include tacos, flautas, tortilla soup, taquitos and queso dip. On top of the daily happy hour, Acapulco also does $2.99 Margarita Mondays. House margaritas and fruit margaritas are sold at that special price every Monday until 10 p.m. If that is still too expensive, then the restaurant also does Monthly Margarita Day every third Wednesday of the month, offering $2 house margaritas all day.

El Torito offers drink and taco specials on various days of the week.
Image from El Torito’s website.

If you want to spend a little more money for some finer tequila, Acapulco’s sister restaurant, El Torito also offers discounts for their pricier drinks. Cadillac Thursdays mean $2 off any 1800 Reposado cadillac margarita. Saturdays are Smooth Saturdays at El Torito with $2 off their smooth Casa Noble Crystal Tequila margaritas. Every Monday-Friday starting at 2 p.m. is El Torito’s regular $4 Happy Hour on house margaritas, wine, domestic beer and well drinks. Hungry drinkers can also enjoy $3 off food from the bar menu during happy hour. Tacorito Tuesday at El Torito starts at 4 p.m. and mean $1.50 chicken, steak or carnitas tacos in the bar.

Get Money For Shopping or Just Browsing

Earn 100 kicks just for walking into Target.
Screenshot from shopkick Android app.

Deals are even offered for Starbucks inside Target stores.
Screenshot from shopkick Android app.

It seems like every business has a reward or points program. Get discounts on items and accumulate points when you swipe your rewards card. Sounds good but sometimes those points expire or can equate to useless prizes.

Smartphones have evolved the points program. Shopkick is a free app available for Androids and iPhones. The premise is simple and familiar, earn points while you shop. However, shopkick works with several retailers. Walking into Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Toys R Us and several other chains earns about 100 kicks, or points, per store each day.

American Eagle offers a 20 percent discount with a minimium $75 purchase.
Screenshots from shopkick Android app.

The app designates a page for each company to feature deals, coupons and sale items in Look Books. Just have the cashier scan the barcode. Browsing through Look Books also earns a few kicks per company.

Scanning certain items in store also earns kicks. No need to buy the item, just pick it up and scan the barcode. Companies like Nabisco, know that mere exposure to a new Oreo increases likelihood of purchase.

Wet Seal gives a kick for each dollar spent and a bonus 400 kicks with a minimum $35 purchase.
Screenshots from shopkick Android app.

Kicks can be traded in the reward store for Starbucks drinks, a dress from Old Navy and even gas. About 250 kicks equals $1 in shopkick prizes.

If the app user has a Visa or MasterCard, more kicks can be earned faster with Buy & Collect. Link at least one of these credit cards to the shopkick account and earn bonus kicks when the card is swiped at select stores.

Discounts, Deals and Steals

The best things in life are free; or at least discounted.

With the current recession limiting the amount of mad money people can spend, small businesses are hurting. Companies are finding different ways to get customers in and buying their products or services.

One of the best ways to grab a customer’s attention is to provide a good discount. Website companies like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Goldstar are doing just that with vouchers that offer percentages off food events, and services.

Free tickets are always the best deal.
Photo from Goldstar.

Goldstar works with different venues and events to provide various discounted tickets, or even free tickets. Tickets to see Tommy Davidson at the Brea Improv this past weekend were $20, but Goldstar offered free tickets. The only fee was a small service charge, but still a great deal.

Halloween does not have to be expensive.
Photo from LivingSocial

Groupons are for restaurants, snacks and even Oktoberfest events.
Photos from Groupon.

LivingSocial offers vouchers for hotel stays, local events or restaurants. Most deals grant at least 50 percent off regular price and others, like admission to a haunted house, provide 2 for 1 tickets.

Groupon is similar to LivingSocial, supplying vouchers for different happenings, food and getaways.  Groupon believes its services are so diverse that a contest and blog titled LiveOffGroupon.com was created. The premise was for a customer, called a “Groupawn,” to survive using only Groupons for a year. Readers of the blog tracked his adventures of drinking, zoo hopping and cooking classes.

Birthdays are for free food.

R2D2 cake is a staple for birthdays.
Photo by Felipa Penaloza.

Birthdays are not just for eating delicious cake shaped like a favorite cartoon character, or the gift cards grandma sends you in the mail every year.

No, birthdays are for free stuff. That special day is now a means for restaurants to give free meals and desserts. Most just require a quick sign up with an email address and birth date on the company’s website.

Del Taco offers a milkshake in choice of flavor (strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla). Jack In The Box gives the option of a slice of New York Cheesecake or Chocolate Overload Cake. Sonic’s birthday freebie choices are a regular creamslush, medium tater tots or medium drink.

Del Taco makes a fantastic strawberry milkshake.
Phot by Felipa Penaloza.

The New York Cheesecake from Jack In The Box far outweighs the chocolate cake.
Photo by Felipa Penaloza.

A creamslush from Sonic is the obvious choice.
Photo by Felipa Penaloza.

Other restaurants like Rubio’s, Acapulco, and El Torito give diners a free entree without any other purchase necessary. IHOP and Denny’s give a free breakfast. A Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity® and Grand Slam are the designated breakfasts but diners can order anything and pay the difference if it costs more.

The Big Steak Omelette is filled with steak, hash browns, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and cheese. It’s only about $3 more than the Rooty Tooty.
Photo by Felipa Penaloza.

Googling “birthday freebies” provides list after list previously compiled by other people who enjoy free stuff.

The Frugal Girls offer a solid list in alphabetical order with links straight to the company’s birthday club sign up page. The site also provides images of the restaurant logos for clarity.

Hey! Its Free! has a list similar to The Frugal Girls but listed alphabetically and by type of establishment. One list is for restaurants, another for retail stores, and the third for entertainment businesses. The best part of this list is the overlooked offering for “free lap dances” at “Various Strip Clubs.”