Team Clark’s favorite purchases of 2017

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Team Clark’s favorite purchases of 2017
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The days between Christmas and the New Year are often full of reflection, and it’s no different for Team Clark staffers. While we’re excited to focus on new ways to save money in 2018, we can’t help but look back on the best deals of the year.

Our goal is to serve you with the very best deals, tips and advice to help you save more and spend less.

Here’s the deal: We love to save money, too!

The best things Team Clark spent money on this year

Here’s a look at our favorite purchases of the year:

Beth: Reebok shoes for $30

Reebok shoe deal

This year I bought comfy Reebok sneakers with memory foam soles on Prime Day. It’s probably the most significant purchase I made for myself this year because I invested in the idea of being more active — and so far I’ve followed through. These are also the first athletic shoes I feel comfortable wearing casually when I’m not exercising. Here’s to bigger steps in 2018!

RELATED: Review: Aldi’s $14.99 sneakers

Charis: Sectional couch for $350

Costco sectional couch deal

All of our furniture pieces were hand-me-downs — until this purchase. One Saturday night while my husband and I were at Costco, (you know, because that’s where normal couples go for date night), we saw this floor model with the $499.97 sign. If you’re familiar with any of Clark’s tips for saving money at Costco, you’ll know that anything that ends in $.97 is a closeout!

As we were longingly gazing at it, a manager came over and asks us if we wanted to buy it, and says he’ll knock an additional $100 off. I’m not sure if it was because we were taking too long to decide or he was ready to close the store for the night, but he then said he’d knock another $50 off, making the final price $350. Well, we couldn’t refuse. So now we are the proud owners of a very comfortable brown sectional couch from Costco, once $899, purchased for $350!

Chelsea: Switched from Verizon to Metro PCS

MetroPCS switch cheaper than Verizon

Even with our Verizon “grandfathered plan” we were spending a fortune. Our Verizon bill was $180 for two lines with 2G data, and we went over every month. With MetroPCS, our bill is only $80 for unlimited everything! MetroPCS provides everything we need and saves us $100 each month (or more if you consider the potential data overage fees).

RELATED: Best cell phone plans and deals right now

Craig: Free rental car

How to score a free car rental

About two months ago, I received an e-mail regarding my available rewards points after I had just purchased a flight. I still needed to rent a car, so I decided to see how much I would have to pay if I used both money and points. I was shocked to see that I had more than enough points for a three-day rental of a full-sized car (Nissan Altima). No money was required at all, as all taxes and fees were included; and there was absolutely no hassle.

RELATED: How to get an $8 rental car — Clark Howard style!

Grace: Shark Rocket ultra-light upright vacuum for $130

Shark vacuum deal

I saved $60 on this vacuum, and it has been great for a neat freak like me — especially during the last months of pregnancy.

Joel: Rad Power Bikes Radwagon for $1,200

Bike commuter deal

I got lucky and found someone selling a new one on eBay. They are normally $1,599 but currently on sale for $1,349.

This electric bike has been such an awesome addition to my life. It’s allowed me to bike to work consistently and use my car less (which means less time spent in traffic). It’s also been SO much fun to put both of my girls on the back of the bike and jet around town. They love the time that we spend biking together. This bike will definitely end up saving me money — but the joy I’ve gained from riding it has actually been the reason I’ve enjoyed this purchase the most.

John: 3 nights at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando for $193/night

Travel deal hotel in Orlando

My favorite purchase of the year was three nights at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando that I got on Hotwire.com.

We paid $193.00 per night before taxes and fees for this 5-star hotel just minutes from all of the Disney attractions.

It was our first trip to Disney as a family to celebrate our daughter’s third birthday, and it was perfect. The hotel (which is very fancy) was less expensive than even the lowest star-rated Disney-operated properties and less than half the price of what it would have cost to stay in one of the fancier Disney resorts. A free shuttle runs to and from the hotel to the Disney parks pretty much on the half-hour all day long. There’s also a Hilton hotel right next door with a 3-acre lazy river pool that you have access to as a Waldorf guest — perfect for downtime when the kids tire of the parks!

Michael: Instant Pot 7-in-1 Pressure Cooker for $89 (plus a $10 Target gift card)

Instant Pot save money food bill

I’m not usually into kitchen gadgets, but the Instant Pot has been a real timesaver! It’s so quick and easy to use that I’ve cut back on fast food without really trying. I love it so much that I decided to buy one for my parents!

Nicole: OOFOS Recovery Shoes for $17

OOFO shoe deal

I could only find these shoes online or at specialty shoe stores for $44.95, but T.J. Maxx recently started selling my favorite shoes for only $16.99 — what a steal!

These shoes feel like I’m walking on clouds! I have a back injury so the arch support eliminates my back pain, as well as foot and knee pain. While they aren’t the most stylish, they’re definitely the most comfortable! In fact, I wear mine everyday in the spring and summer.

Sally: Two round-trip tickets to Ireland for under $900

Dublin travel deal

My husband and I scored an amazing deal on two round-trip tickets from Providence, Rhode Island to Dublin on Norwegian Air for only $900 (that’s the average price for only one ticket)! Unfortunately, our original flight was canceled so we arrived a day late. Luckily, money expert Clark Howard told me about a little-known European Union regulation, and our compensation from the airline was more than the cost of the entire trip. We got to travel to Ireland for free, and it was amazing!

Sarah: Audible subscription for $9 per month

Amazon Audible

On Prime Day I grabbed a deal on a six month subscription to Audible. I pay $8.95 a month instead of the usual $14.95 a month.

I like it because I can listen to my some of my school readings while I’m commuting to maximize my time. If I need to finish a chapter quickly, I can speed up the narration. There are also some free books available so I don’t always have to wait for the next month’s credit to start a new book and I can share my book library with my friends for free.

Did you find an unbeatable deal in 2017? Share your experience on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.

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