Use my easy tips and tricks to learn how to get free stuff ... that you actually want!
If you are anything like me, you love a good bargain ... you just don't want to jump through tons of hoops or spend a lot of time to get it!
Although I've been known to clip a coupon or two, I'm no crazy coupon lady, nor do I have any desire to be. Who has the time for that? That said, I do love saving money. Thankfully, I've learned some easy tips and tricks that you can try, too.
Follow my tips to save money and learn how to get free stuff ... and yeah, it's stuff you'll actually want!
1. Enroll in Rewards Programs and Sign up for Store Emails
The easiest way to get free stuff is by signing up for store emails and rewards programs. Once you do, you be notified of sales and get exclusive promo codes. Businesses often offer freebies for their best customers. Many stores will also send you coupons, and although I don't like searching out coupons, I'll definitely use them if they fall in my lap ... ha!
I recommend signing up for rewards programs and emails for every store you shop frequently, whether that's a grocery or clothing store. Here are some of my faves:
- Shutterfly - I love Shutterfly and have ordered everything from yearly family photo books to personalized gifts. They send out weekly emails with substantial discounts codes, plus they frequently send weekend offers where you get to choose something free (no purchase necessary), like an 16 x 20 photo print, custom photo mousepad, or even a free photo book. The only thing you pay for is shipping.
- Grocery Stores - Get a rewards card for every store you shop, and you'll save money every time you visit ... no coupon clipping required. Of course, if you check out their sales before shopping you'll save even more money, and many stores have coupons you can load on your rewards card, too. I especially like the Whole Foods rewards program / app. Recently, I've gotten deals like $10 off, $5 off $20 of produce, and even free strawberries. It adds up!
- Movies - Love movies? Then, get rewarded for your favorite pastime! I love the AMC Stubs program. Join at no cost to get free refills on a large popcorn, up to $2 off tickets every Tuesday, and a $5 reward every time you reach 5,000 points, OR purchase a premium membership to get free size upgrades on popcorn and drinks, up to $5 off tickets on Tuesdays, and earn points 5x faster than you would with the free membership. If you go to lots of movies, it's 100% worth it to pay the $15 annual fee ... my husband and I have had one for years, and the free perks more than pay for the cost.
- Drugstores - Just like the grocery store, get a rewards card for every drugstore you shop at. I have one for Walgreens / Duane Reade and CVS. Both will reward you with dollars off your purchase ($5, $10, etc.) as your purchases add up, plus you'll get coupons. Just last week at CVS, I was able to get two packs of razors (why are they sooo expensive???) for less than I'd have payed for one pack by combining a $5 off coupon with a coupon for razors. Score!
- Target - Sign up for a Target Red Card to save 5% off every single purchase you make, in store and online. While not a huge discount, it definitely adds up, and can be combined with other offers. Sign up for the Cartwheel app, too (more on that below).
- Old Navy / Banana Republic / Gap - They frequently send out 40% off coupons, which adds up to big savings.
- Loft - Don't miss their crazy sales! How does 60% off sound?
- Groupon / Living Social - Sign up for Groupon and Living Social to receive discounts on restaurants, events, experiences, and more, like $20 worth of food for $10. These programs also occasionally send out free deals, but you have to snap them up quickly before they're gone!
Don't want to clutter up your email inbox? There is an easy way to take care of that! Simply set up a special Offers or Coupons folder, then create a rule that directs all store emails to that folder. That way, these emails never make it to your inbox, you can scan the folder when you plan to shop, and delete everything easily. Check out these instructions for creating email rules for Gmail, Outlook (Hotmail), or Yahoo to get started.
2. Take Advantage of a Free Trial or Introductory Offer
Signing up for an introductory offer is a great way to not only try out a service, but also to get something free while you're at it! Usually, you'll need to automatically enroll in a program to get the freebie.
Here are a few of my fave trial offers right now:
- Amazon Prime - Get a free 30 day trial, then watch thousands of movies and TV episodes, borrow Kindle books, get unlimited FREE two-day shipping, listen to streaming music, and tons more!
- Audible - Love reading? Get two free audiobooks that you can listen to anytime, anywhere.
- Hulu / Netflix - If you're not already signed up, what are you waiting for? We gave up cable years ago and haven't looked back. You can get a free month to try out both.
- The Honest Co. - Have you been curious to try The Honest Co.'s all natural products? Sign up for a free bundle (just pay shipping). Choose from a Diapers & Wipes Bundle or an Essentials Bundle (shampoo, body wash, face/body lotion, cleaner, healing balm, and hand soap).
Tip: if you don't want to continue service, make sure to set a reminder to cancel before the trial period ends. Otherwise, you'll be automatically billed for the next month, next delivery, etc.
3. Sign Up for a Free Mini Class
I don't know about you, but I always love learning something new, whether that's a new cooking technique or a great photography tip.
There are plenty of learning opportunities available online. Here are two of my fave places to take a class. Both offer free classes, as well as paid classes.
- Craftsy - I've taken a number of Craftsy classes (both free and paid), and I've loved them! The quality of instruction is top notch, and you can watch (and rewatch) the videos anytime and anywhere. Classes are available on everything from photography to cooking. Check out my Easy Cake Pops and Bahn Mi Bowl posts to read more about the classes I've enjoyed. Make sure to sign up for Craftsy emails while you're at it, too, because they have class sales frequently.
- Skillshare - There is so much to learn on Skillshare. Like Craftsy, there are free and paid classes, and classes are available on a huge range of topics. I've even taught a Skillshare class, Quick Peanut Sauce, which you can take for free here! If you'd like to try out the premium version of Skillshare, you can get 3 months for $0.99, too!
4. Download Money Saving Apps
Using apps while shopping is an awesome and easy way to save lots of money and get freebies, too! Money saving apps range from grocery rebates to rewards programs to store specific apps.
There are tons of apps out there, but these are my faves:
- Starbucks App - The Starbucks app is awesome! Link it to your Starbucks card or other payment method, like Visa Checkout, then use it to pay for every purchase. You'll get points and earn rewards that can be used for free drinks or food. Plus, they often have Star Dashes and other ways to collects stars (and earn rewards) faster. You can also use the app to order ahead ... why wait in line when your drink can be waiting for you when you arrive?
- Grocery Saving Apps - Use these apps to earn rebates on groceries and other purchases. Basically, you check out the deals available in the app, make a purchase, take a photo of receipt using the app, then get rebates (cash back) on the items you purchased. My fave is Ibotta (earn up to $10 when you sign up).
- Cartwheel App - The last app I love is Cartwheel from Target which has extra discounts you can use throughout the store. It's kind of like a coupon, but in app form. Before you go shopping, open up the app and select all the deals you'd like to use (save on everything from food to clothing), then simply scan the app at checkout to save. The best part is that you can use it in conjunction with your Target Red Card to save even more!
5. Use Your Influence
My last trick to help you get free stuff is to sign up for influencer, sample, and screening programs. The catch is that you may need to have a substantial social media following or live in certain areas (usually big cities).
Here are two I belong to:
- Influenster - This is a really unique program. Basically, you can logon to Influenster to review or learn about different products. If you have large social media followings though, you may also qualify for free VoxBoxes, which are boxes filled with free product samples. I've received everything from a full-sized Giorgio Armani perfume to L'Oreal shampoo to Burberry and Chanel cosmetics, which is awesome if you're a product junkie (with a small budget) like me! If you don't have a big enough social following, there are tons of other programs that will send you free samples, like PINCHme.
- Advance Movie Screening Programs - If you enjoy going to the movies, sign up for advance movie screenings. Then, when a screening is available, you'll get an email and can sign up for passes. I like gofobo, although you can also sign up directly with studios like Warner Bros. (google "free movie screenings" for lots of links). You're not guaranteed to get in, even if you have passes, and sometime they're looking for a specific demographic, but I've never had a problem getting in. It's really fun, and you get to see movies before they're released. You usually have to fill out a survey after the movie, and screenings are probably more prevalent in large cities, but it's worth signing up if you're a movie lover!
Well, that's it! I hope my tricks and tips helped you learn how to get free stuff and save lots of money, too!
What is your favorite money-saving tip?