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Reno Penny Pincher's Guide

Places in Reno To Save Money on Goods and Services


Reno, save money, guide, Nevada

Reno Penny Pinchers Guide - where to save money in Reno, Nevada.

Photo © Stan White
Around Reno, Nevada, there are numerous places to get what you need and want without paying too much. In some cases, you can get good stuff without paying anything at all. If saving money is a priority for you, keep reading and I'll help you find ways to do it.

Free Movies, Cheap Movies

Fleischmann Planetarium & Science Center - The Star Theater has cool movies at bargain prices. This is the next best thing to IMAX, and maybe even better if you factor in the price. Depending on the film, they are shown in either SkyDome 8/70 large format or as Full Dome digital star shows. The Fleischmann Planetarium is on the UNR campus at 1650 N. Virginia St. in Reno. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children under 13 and seniors 60 and over. Check what's playing in the Star Theater or call the showtime hotline at (775) 784-4811.

Get Movies at the Washoe County Library - The Washoe County Library has hundreds of DVD and VHS movies. All you need is a free library card - movies check out just like books. You can search the online card catalog to find interesting titles, then reserve your choices and have them delivered to your nearest library branch for pick up. There are lots of other free monthly events and activities at the library.

Free Movies Around Reno & Lake Tahoe - Reno's free movies are a big attraction to families on tight budgets. These free movie venues provide family friendly entertainment without putting a crimp in your wallet. All movies aren't necessarily suitable for everyone - be sure to check what's showing on the screen before showing up at the movie. Among the free movie venues are the Washoe County Library, UNR campus, and Wingfield Park during Artown.

Grand Sierra Cinema - This is the local bargain for (almost) current movies. It's inside the Grand Sierra Resort at 2500 E. 2nd St. in Reno. The two theaters are smallish compared to today's huge multiplex affairs, but that's part of the charm. The best part is that it's only $3 a ticket. Find out what's playing at the online showtimes listings or call (775) 789-2093.

Parks and Recreation

Admission to all city and county parks is free, from huge Rancho San Rafael Regional Park to dozens of small neighborhood parks. To learn more about inexpensive and free recreational programs, visit the Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County parks and recreation websites. Here are some examples of what our parks have to offer...

Wingfield Park - For free water play, it's hard to beat Wingfield Park in downtown Reno. You can swim, ride the rapids in the Truckee River Whitewater Park in a kayak, on tubes, or boogie boards, or just enjoy the sunshine by the water.

Virginia Lake Park - This peaceful park has a walking path all the way around Virginia Lake. There is a great playground for the kids, big picnic shelter, and fishing dock.

Rink on the River - From Thanksgiving into the following February, Rink on the River provides ice skating and a fun place for families to gather. Skating is cheap and there are some free sessions, such as opening day every year in November.

Thrifty Clothing, Food, Crafts and Gifts

Reno and Sparks Thrift Stores - I can personally testify that major bargains are to be had at the numerous Reno area thrift stores. Many of them are run by charitable organizations and do not charge sales tax, so you get to save lots of money and help your neighbors at the same time. That's a real bargain.

Discount Supermarkets and Food Outlet Stores - In the food department, there are several choices beyond the big chain supermarkets. There isn't anything wrong with the chains per se, they're just expensive. I do much of the food shopping for my household at discount supermarkets and the best prices for most items in reasonable quantities (as compared to Costco style) is Winco Foods. Another store with good prices is Trader Joe's. You've got to be selective to get good deals and be willing to try brands that may be new to you.

Farmers' Markets - Our numerous farmers' markets are also excellent places to find good food in season. The biggest one around remains the Sparks Whole Foods Farmer's Market in Victorian Square Plaza. I haven't found many bargains at the markets, but things are fresh and they are a fun shopping experience.

Clip Coupons Online and Save Money

Before you go shopping for food and other consumer goods, check out these online sources for discounts on a wide variety of items. Saving a few bucks here and there can really add up.

Take Reusable Bags to the Grocery Store

In the long run, you'll save money by lowering the stores' cost for bags. In the short term, you actually get paid five or six cents per bag for using your own rather than the disposable plastic or paper ones from the market. If enough of us do this, it will make a noticeable dent in the number of trees wasted on paper bags and the amount of petroleum poured down the plastic bag rathole.

Virtually every supermarket chain has some form of reusable bag program, including providing their own bags that are reusable and/or recyclable. Local Reno stores that pay you to use your own bags include Scolari's, Raley's, and Winco. Other stores have various incentives for using reusable bags. Bottom line - using good bags is worth it whether or not you are directly paid to do so. Check out reusablebags.com to get the straight story on the best ways to make reusable bags part of your everyday shopping routine.

Find Free Big Events, Free Museums and Exhibits, and Cheap Gas on Page 2.

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