I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published November 3rd 2014
It's All About The Money, Money Money
I think we can all agree that Australia is a pretty expensive place to live, and the Gold Coast is no exception. Often I have had 50 bucks in my wallet and it can be almost gone after buying a few items at the supermarket, or paying for a breakfast or lunch.
There are, however, a number of ways to save money and get discounts - if you know where to look. The trick, if you are willing, is to research, sign up and gather as much information as possible. Of course, this means that your inbox, news feed and wallet may be a little cluttered, but if you are serious about saving, then you need to wade through a lot of stuff you don't need, in order to find the things you do.
Get your hands on one of the many Gold Coast tourist brochures, you can find them in receptions, cafés and ticket offices. They all have numerous deals, discounts and money off strips that you cut out for everything including dining, entertainment, shopping, attractions and more. Some have up to 30% off restaurant bills, free gifts, half price admission tickets plus lots of other discounts and deals. My tip would be to identify the ones that save you the most, such as a % off the total bill or free entry into somewhere. Also, make sure you check the expiry date and more importantly use them, it is easy to forget, you have them.
Cheap meals at clock house in surfers
There are many restaurants that will have special deals, on certain nights, and if you find good ones close to you, you could be eating out cheaply a couple of times a week. For instance, you can get cheap steak night or schnitzel night, for half the price of the usual menu. Many of the restaurants in Surfers and Broadbeach have cheap breakfasts, $10 lunches and cheap dinners as they all try to out do each other on price. Usually their billboards and signage will tell you about all the promotions, and which days are worth going.
Cheap lunches at Costa Doro in surfers
Early Bird and Happy Hour
Pretty much most bars and restaurants throughout the Coast, but especially where there is plenty of competition such as Surfers and Broadbeach, tend to have early bird offers and happy hours.
Early Bird at Saffron Broadbeach
Early Bird Magnolia Indian Broadbeach
The early bird offers, as long as you don't mind eating a little earlier, are an excellent way of saving money on a meal out. Often you can get up to 40/50 % off your meal, or in some cases off the total bill.
My friend and I did this quite often when we were students, you still get the benefit of being out and about and enjoying the many restaurants on the Gold Coast, however it is for a fraction of the price, just look at the restaurants signage for details. My tip would be not to head to the first one you see, often they start at 15 or 20 % off, but if you walk around - especially down the side roads - you can often find more, also again, the ones that offer a % off the total bill are the best. Make sure you check on arrival if you need to be seated by 6:30pm or pay by 6:30pm, as of course that makes a difference.
Happy hours speak for themselves, but they are a great way of saving money on a night out, as drinks are pricey, especially if you like spirits or cocktails. Now the "happy hour" of today usually lasts a few hours, so you can save big. Some places want to get more people through the door early on and some want people later on, so you can - as long as you research your local area - find cheap drinks for the whole night, as long as you don't mind switching venues. $5 drinks make a huge difference, on the cost of a night out, especially if in a group.
Websites & eNewsletters
There are loads of discounts and deals websites where you can sign up for alerts and newsletters, letting you know if there are any special deals in the categories and locations you specified on sign up. Again, some of the the stuff that comes through won't be relevant, but I have found some really great deals for spa treatments, high teas, exhibition tickets and more at a fraction of the usual cost. So it is worth signing up to a few. My tip would be to be very specific when you sign up, in terms of what categories interest you. At first I ticked quite a few categories but ended up with too many emails, but after I changed my settings I found it much more relevant. Just don't fall into the trap of buying these deals then forgetting them - it happens more than you think.
Social media is a great way of getting some exclusive deals for your favourite places. Simply like and follow some of your favourite places to get first hand offers and discounts. Quite a few places, especially new ones, will offer a free coffee or something if you simply like their Facebook page. Other places I know have had a secret word for the day, head in say the secret word, and get a free drink. If you are in the right place at the right time, you can get free tickets, free coffees and more.
Of course you don't want to like too many pages, as then you will never see anything your actual friends post, however, selecting a few favourite places and rotating every month may give you access to some great deals and freebies. You will also quickly identify the people who like to give away free stuff and those that don't.
Certainly a great way to save is to grab some loyalty cards and reward cards, if you are spending anyway, you may as well get a little back. Surf Club and RSL Clubs have excellent deals for members, and their memberships are usually free or just $5, so you soon reap back the cost. Their memberships usually gets you money off food and drinks, together with other exclusive promotions.
Coffee cards are great too, if like me, you buy a coffee most days. The best ones are the buy four get the fifth free, but most are buy nine and get tenth free, some even throw in a cake. You may think that's a lot of coffee to get through just to get one back, but if you have a few cards on the go and you craftily take the stamp of friends who don't collect, then you will soon be sipping a weeks worth of free coffee.
Supermarket rewards too are a great way to get some thing back, as we all have to shop at the supermarket. This is something I have only done recently, and it's already added up to quite a few points. Imagine how many I would have now if I had signed up from the start?