David Pogue Helps Us $ave Money, Basically

David Pogue can’t believe that Westporters still pay to get flat tires repaired. Town Fair and other chains fix flats for free — it generates goodwill.

Westport’s leading tech guru/TV personality/author also is surprised at how few folks know that E-Z Pass offers a carpool rate — a big one. If you’ve got at least 3 people in your car, it costs $6.50 — not $12.50 — each time you drive to or from New York. (You do have to go through a manned gate and say “Carpool.” And you need to sign up in advance.)

Pogue notes too that our new Starbucks — like the other squintillion of them — offers unlimited 50-cent refills of coffee or tea (hot or iced).

Also worth noting: The smallest Starbucks serving is called the Tall. But an even smaller one does not appear on the menu: the Short. It’s less expensive, of course — and perfect for a little zap of something. It even contains the same amount of espresso as a Tall.

David Pogue, thinking of ways to save money.

David Pogue, thinking of ways to save money.

Pogue is astonished that Americans leave money on the table every day. And we do it every time we use cash machines, book flights, buy insurance or shop for clothes.

Because Pogue is such a good guy — as well as a clever person, and excellent writer — he’s sharing 150 tips for saving money. They’re collected in his latest book: Pogue’s Basics: Money.

Here are a few:

  • You can get 5 percent off anything you ever buy on Amazon. Just sign up for the Amazon Prime Store Card, a virtual credit card good only for Amazon shopping. There’s no fee — and no downside.
  • If you have a gift card for a store you’ll never visit, sell it to Cardcash.com or Raise.com. They pay cash for gift cards — maybe 75% of face value.
  • Why rent your cable box for $235 a year? You can buy one for $100.
  • That sticker on your windshield says to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Modern cars require oil changes only every 7500 to 10,000 miles. The manual even says so.

Everyone knows that time is money. But time is limited. Pogue says, “Fortunately, information is money too. If you know certain things, you can get more money without spending time.”

david-pogues-basics-moneyHis Basic Money book saves time and money, handing you 150 secrets all in one place. If you use all 150 of them, he says, you’ll save $61,195 a year!

You’d think Pogue has given away enough. But here’s a special “06880” offer: free autographs.

Our neighbor will personally inscribe any copy of the book. It’s at Barnes & Noble (or you can get 5% off by using the Amazon Prime Store  Card online).

Email pogue@me.com to arrange an autograph session.

Thanks, David! Here’s to a merry — and frugal — holiday for us all!

12 responses to “David Pogue Helps Us $ave Money, Basically

  1. I think you got the toll thing wrong – perhaps it refers to driving to NJ over the George Washington Bridge, where the toll (collected Eastbound only) is $12.

    Insofar as going back & forth to NYC, assuming you are going over the RFK/Triborough, the toll – each way – is $8 cash, $5.54 with EZ-Pass.

    Insofar as Pogue sharing all this helpful info because he’s “such a good guy,” there is also the fact that publishing a pamphlet of money-saving tips is a tried-and-true money MAKING strategy.

    Still it’s nice to see that a guy of this prominence has followed in the footsteps of “Polly’s Pointers.”

    • Hey Peter! Right you are. The carpool rates for other EZ Pass booths offer similar discounts–around 50%.

      • David – The MTA Bridges & Tunnels website does not mention any carpool discounts except for Staten Island residents using the Varrazano Br. MTA covers all toll crossings except those between NY & NJ, which belong to the infamous Port Authority. So perhaps you’re referring to similar discounts on the Lincoln & Holland tunnels?

    • OK, I’ve finally got the scoop on this. The carpool discount is available on all crossings to New Jersey: The George Washington Bridge, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Outerbridge, Lincoln Tunnel, and Holland Tunnel. There’s no discount on EZ pass crossings within New York or (sadly) to Connecticut!

      Needless to say, the EZ Pass Web site is clear as mud on this–I had to dial way up the phone tree to get someone who could give me the answer–so I really appreciate your flagging it!

      • David, EZ Pass is a co-op that provides toll-collection technology and payment processing to 35+ different agencies that own toll roads or crossings (e.g. Port Authority, MTA, Mass Pike) EZ Pass doesn’t set prices or discounts, hence the lack of price info on their site.

  2. Being a Yankee, I love these fun frigal ideas. But the one about flat tires is incorrect; Town Fair only repairs flats if you bought the tires there.

    • Flavien Freedman

      I also like these ideas, thanks Dan. Depending on what part of the tire the flat occurred on you can buy an inexpensive kit that will repair multiple instances. Then again depending on how handy you are, there are a multitude of simple auto repairs you can do yourself that will save you a bundle vs an auto shop, and you will also know the quality of the parts being used. I have done my brakes many times, as an example.

    • Thanks, Rindy! Town Fair’s site says: “Town Fair Tire has been offering free flat repair for over 40 years–on any car you own.” (http://www.townfairtire.com/free_services.shtml) It doesn’t say “If you bought your tires here!” But I’ll call them when they open tomorrow and confirm. Thanks for the heads-up!

      • Thanks, David. I went to the one in Norwalk near Kohl’s so maybe it’s a difference in towns. Meanwhile maybe a can of fix-a-flat would help!

  3. Larry Perlstein

    Hey Dan, Is this a paid ad?  Just kidding.But, you should know in case anyone asks that the Amazon card deal is a 5% credit on your next statement, not an immediate discount on a purchase. Thus the credit can only be used for future Amazon purchases. So, if for example, you’re already getting 3% cash or more back through a different card as I am, this might not be a good idea. Plus if you ever encounter having to pay interest on your balance — the rate is 26%. Regardless, I’m going to buy David’s book because I want him to be able to continue to afford to live in Westport, and I have another of his books I want autographed as well. Hugs David! I hope you both had a great weekend! Larry _______________________________Larry PerlsteinWestport CT 06880(203) 210-5040(408) 910-8845 (M)

    • Larry, thanks for that update on the Amazon card… I was trying to boil down the tip into a single line, but you’re right–it’s cash back.

      More importantly, though: Where did you find a 3% cash-back credit card? I’ve searched the WORLD, and 2% is the best I can find (except for cards that offer higher percentages only on certain categories, like groceries or gas)…

  4. About that cash machine….if you raise hell at your bank, they will wave all charges from cash machine use at other locations….sort of crazy to pay for the right to get your own money.