The Daily Cheapskate: How To Get Free Swag At The Auto Parts Store

There is an art to getting things for nothing at a place that usually charges all the money in the world. 

Four microfiber mitts. Five packages of cleaning wipes. And enough air fresheners to make a Grateful Dead concert smell minty fresh. 

Clearance prices? About $75. My cost? Zip! This is how I have been doing it for about a decade now. 

Most auto parts stores clear up their old inventory during the end of the month. This is a time when you'll start seeing yellow tags turn into red and the slow sellers migrate towards the cashier check out line in the hopes that the discounted price will yield a 500% profit instead of a 1500% profit.

Don't buy them.

Wait until the next Monday when all is quiet. Take a few of those clearance aisles to the checkout line and watch for what I call, "The Magic Nickel".

If that item rings up five cents, they can't legally sell it to you. But they can give it away. I always say something in the lines of, "Well if I can't buy it, is it okay if I keep it?" 

I also do one other thing. I also buy something else at the normal prices. This afternoon it was a steering wheel cover for a 21 year old Volvo that apparently had a prior owner whose fingers must have been sweating muriatic acid. I bought it for $10 and ended up with a bunch of stuff that is all too useful in the new car business.

So you want your beater to smell less like a warthog in heat? Want to not buy cleaning supplies, wax, and wheel shine bottles in February?

All you have to do is ask. And if they say no, just wait until the shift changes and a new face greets you.