Diners can buy $25 gift certificates for $10 at Restaurant.com. Our e-newsletter Dish mentions new dining deals weekly. The Metromix.com Recession Guide also lists cheap eats and freebie deals. Making two reservations off the fast-expanding chart of 1,000-point reservations at OpenTable.com translates into $20 off a dinner when you cash in your points. Investing in a local crop share through community-supported agriculture can also yield savings on produce over the summer; TheLocalBeet.com has Chicago area listings.

For nights out, both HotTix.org and TheatreInChicago.com list theatre offers for half-price tickets. ChicagoGalleryNews.com announces gallery openings, which are almost always free. Concert discounts are listed at ChicagoClassicalMusic.com. And our own e-newsletter Chicago Guide always lists at least one free event.

Shoppers can sign up for free membership at HauteLook.com, BillionDollarBabes.com, or BadJoan.com to gain access to sample sales offering up to 80 percent off the retail price of designer brands. StyleChicago.com subscribers are also notified of fashion events, private sales, and shop openings. VIP tickets usually cost about $45, which includes food, cocktails, and mini spa services, plus a goodie bag brimming with free products and discounts, such as free facials, tanning, and trial gym memberships, along with gobs of beauty products to start. And don’t forget about our e-newsletter Sales Check, which lists sale news weekly.