Friday, September 24, 2010

Money May Not Grow On Trees, but Freebies Grow On The Intertubes!

Does the bubbly background make it annoying to read the blog?  (I don't read it after I publish... mea culpa)

SO my darling readers, I apologize for the late post this week.  I am currently being just as trendy as possible lounging in an LA cafe with ginormous sunglasses sipping my latte (ok, it's coffee.  Lattes are too much... not coffee) and blogging.  Fear not... my pants are not skinny and I am not sporting a hipster scarf and Apple products ;-)

How is your saving escapades?  Any brilliant triumphs?  Well, did you SHARE THEM WITH THE CLASS?!  Extra credit is available.

This week's blog concerns Free Stuff from the Interwebs.

Ha.  I thought that would get your attention.  Yep.  Solely digital no longer, the interwebs deliver stuff required to survive directly to your door.  This post is how to never buy shampoo, tampons or breakfast cereal ever again.  Yes I wrote that in small letters.  Boys might read this blog too you know.  I'm sensitive and whatever.

Let's start with an easy one, shall we?  Feel free to follow along in a new tab.

Walmart loves to send you (good) free stuff.  Just fill out the info and BAM it shows up at your door.  It's pretty speedy, and the samples are usually good sized.
No, you don't have to agree to provide feedback to get the sample. 
Frequency: Check back weekly.

CheapStingyBargains
Yes, that's the name of the site.  Awesome, right?  Besides their AWESOME discount shopping section (definitely check it out before you buy a computer) they have Daily Free Stuff!  Beware.... check early in the day for the best stuff.  It's a popular site and some stuff goes Quick!
Frequency: Check back daily.
  
No Junk Free Stuff
I know, these names keep getting better and trust me... so do the offers.
This one's a little more complicated. It's a mix of coupons and freebies, but sometimes that's nice!
Frequency: Check back weekly-ish.
     
Start Sampling
Alright, I know that name isn't AS clever. This is one of those rare sites where a membership is nice. You rack up "Trial Flyer Points" or something. For getting free stuff. Yep.
Not that I've received spam from them, but as always I recommend your "extra" email account for this one. It has GREAT samples from everywhere. 
Frequency: Check back weekly-ish.

PG Sampler 
It's another one you have to register for.  But trust me, it's worth it.  Clicky clicky.... and free stuff and coupons magically appear!  
 Frequency: Check back monthly.

FreeFly's
Yes yes, I know.  More stuff to sign up for.  Notice I grouped them for you.  But would I lead you astray?  Would I deliver you unto Spam?  Of course not.  Only sweet, sweet freebies! 
Frequency: Check back weekly.

Yogi Well Wishes
Some of you may have been recipients of this already. The Yogi Well-Wishes Tree sends a 3-pack of delicious Organic tea to you and/or a loved one (along with a lovely message).
I'm pretty sure it's one per household, but spread the love! (I adore the Mexican Chili tea. Mmmm. It's a real sinus-clearer-upper)

Now, I want to point out that I have personally used every single one of these freebie sites. No "I heard about it" or "I googled it..." about it. Nope. I use it. I love it. I share it.

Have a super duper freebie site to share with the class? Don't be stingy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Interweb is Like A Mine.... Of Coupons!

Our Mission, to seek out new coupon sites and to boldly clip as no one has clipped before!

My Sunday afternoon non-holiday ritual included a leisurely stroll to the little Mexican corner store to pickup the Sunday paper.  I would usually peruse the headlines for anything interesting on the walk back (it wasn't a very good paper), and spend half an hour clipping coupons, sorting them into my little wallet-sized accordion-style organizer.

Of course, I only clip the coupons for products I usually buy, or products that are brand-new.  It's almost always cheaper to not buy something.  (But sometimes with careful shopping, the new products end up being free with the coupon!)

Oddly enough, in NJ the grocery store circulars were pitched at your house long about Thursday and that's when the sales started for the week.  Go figure. 
Anyway, I always made my $1.50 for the paper back in the coupons I clipped... but I knew there had to be more coupons out there....

Note: Most of these require a login, and some kind of "Coupon Printer" to be installed before you print.  It's ok - install it.  It's not harmful software, it's there so you can't print an infinite amount of those coupons. 

Coupons.com
SmartSource.com
RedPlum.com

AFullCup.com     This site lets you search brands or products, and will "find" coupons for you.  Very useful.  This site also has a GREAT Coupon Blog that will outline the weekly deals for you!

Target.com            Target stocks great coupons that can be used in their store

RiteAid +UP         Do you have a Rite Aid Wellness+ Card?  Did you register it online?  Then you are eligible for $5 off of a $25 purchase, not to mention TONS of other rewards! 

LogIn, go to "In Our Stores" and click on "Video Values."  Watch a video, get a coupon, rack up points for another $5 off of a $25 purchase!
Keep an eye on the circulars.  Many times personal care items are much cheaper in a drugstore - especially with coupons!


*FUN FACT* Did you know you can use 1 Manufacturer Coupon AND 1 Store Coupon for each item?!  It's true!  Check the top of the coupon to see if it says "Manufacturer Coupon"

Also, see if it makes sense to save the under $1 coupons for stores that Double Coupons.  For example, Tops will take your $.75 coupon and make it $1.50 in savings!  Of course, if Rite Aid has it $2 cheaper than Tops.... Well, you know what to do!

Stores like Tops also occasionally run promotions where you can use a coupon in their circular to double a $1 coupon, or have (store) coupons for different.  Keep an eye out for those, even if it's just to grab a circular when you walk in.

Other programs you might like to enroll in:
Drink Tropicana OJ?  You can enter Tropicana codes for points to trade in for coupons or prizes

Use NatureMade vitamins?  Create an account for access to COUPONS!  And rack up points there too!  (Target likes to put these vitamins on amazing sales, and coupons usually stack!)


I hope you learned a couple nifty tricks for coupon clipping and saving! 
Tune in next week when we dive into the immensely clever world of "Free Internet Stuff."
Shop Thrifty!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Money Saving Tips - Part 1

Who doesn't love saving money?  But for me, it's a gladiator-style competitive sport.  This is war people, go big or go home.
Just as Homer documented the Trojan war, so have I decided to document my own war I have waged against paying full price for anything. 

Let's start with my favourite free-money website!  Swag Bucks.  It's relatively simple, and you can put as much or as little effort into it as you wish.

Step 1:  Use my referral link (below) and give them your info.  Be honest, and don't worry, I've never received any spam from them.  You start out with 30 bucks!

http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Grue42


Step 2:  Check out the Swagbucks homepage!  I highly recommend downloading the toolbar if you use internet explorer, or mozilla firefox.  It gives you a nifty, easy way to search and great access to the blog, the homepage and of course - the TSG toolbar!  (More on that later).  Toolbar:

 http://swagbucks.com/?cmd=sb-plugins



Step 3:  Get your Daily 4!  Every day you can get 4 easy swagbucks (SBs). 
  1. If you have the toolbar, as soon as you open your web browser you win 1 SB.
  2. On the swagbucks homepage, you get 1 SB just for clicking on "Trusted Surveys" on the left.
  3. On the swagbucks homepage, click on "Daily Polls."  You get 1 SB for participating in the daily poll!
  4. On the swagbucks homepage, click on "NOSO."  Just click "skip" through all these offers (unless you're really interested) and you get 1 SB at the end!

Step 4: Win by searching!!!  That's right, just use the swagbucks search engine as a replacement for your Googling.  You occasionally get rewarded for searching.  I average 30 SBs per day from searching.  Some days are better than others.

  • TIPI set my homepage to a swagbucks search.  That's right.  For example, you could set your homepage to something like.... http://search.swagbucks.com/?t=w&p=1&q=Disney which would automatically search "Disney" everytime you open your browser.  I win a lot of bucks this way.  But Pay Attention - sometimes you have to enter one of those "are you human" codes to claim your prize.

Step 5:  CODES!!!  TSG usually puts out one or more codes a day.  These codes are worth anywhere from 4 - 20 SBs and can be anything.  Something else, located in the BLOG, or the TOOLBAR (the little envelope that says "from TSG") or in the SWIDGET (see below).
Some of them are "Hunts" where you have to look through some of the shopping or partner sites for the CODE or for LETTERS that you have to unscramble to come up with a code.

Swagbucks Tricks Blog
There are tons and tons of helpful sites for Swagbucks.  My favorite is
   http://www.swagbuckstricks.blogspot.com/
and
http://www.tattooastronomyblog.com 
Included is the Swidget which will let you know when a code is out. 
Also, a chat box so you can ask for help from other Swaggernauts for Codes.
They'll also (usually) send you Email Alerts when there's a code. 


And that's all you need to get started!  Easy, right?!
What?  You want more?  Oh, alright... ;-)  Let's talk about SPECIAL OFFERS!!!

  • Go to the swagbucks homepage.  Scroll down to the Special Offers and hover over that yellow tab, and/or click on the "Special Offers" link on the left.  I generally run through to find any videos to watch (usually worth 2 or 3 SBs).

  • *NEW* All the cool kids are using SwagBucksTV to rack up their points!  Just watch videos (through to the end), and randomly you'll win SwagBucks!  Be careful - in an attempt to make you actually watch the videos there is often an "Are You Human" code which must be entered within a time limit.
    (My solution to this is to shrink the screen, and leave just a sliver visible while I'm working.  That way when a SwagBucks win occurs, I can see it and go claim it without interfering with my life.)
  • I also look for facebook apps, and anything else that doesn't look like a lot of effort or information.

  • If you have a computer you don't use for anything important... (*cough* my lab computer *cough*) download all those stupid games, toolbars, etc.

*NOTE* Take note of how many SBs, and screenshots of this stuff before you delete it in case it doesn't credit. You can always check by clicking on the "Missing Swagbucks?" link.
Also, give a legit email (even if it's some random yahoo account you never use for anything except junk).  Sometimes these things require "confirmation"

  • FACEBOOK  "Like" Swagbucks on facebook.  Lots of times codes are posted there.  It's also a great way to chat with fellow swaggernauts!

  • TWITTER Twitter Tuesdays have the Phrase That Pays!  Come up with a clever way to use the phrase The Swag Guy (TSG) posts in the Blog and tweet it! 
    On Thursdays, there's Twitter Trivia!  Tweet the answer first and win!

WHY Bother?
Isn't that the question?  Well, Swagbucks has a Plethora of awesome prizes to redeem your swagbucks for under The Swag Store.
 Personally, I redeem mine directly for the $5 Amazon GiftCards.  I've found them to be the BEST deal.  Most of the prizes I want I can buy "cheaper" from Amazon. 
Just be careful when considering some of the other "Gift Cards."  Some of them are nothing more than $5 off coupons labeled as gift cards.


Well, that's really it this time.  All of these offers I've done so far are legit.  Auto insurance quotes,  Netflix, Discover (which I highly recommend as a credit card, it gives great rewards and has no monthly fee), etc.

Good luck!  I hope this was somewhat helpful.  If you need help or want to offer suggestions, leave 'em in the comments!

Tune in next time for another money-saving tip!