Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How To Save Money: Cash Back, Freebies, Gift Cards & More!

I spent the last few years in graduate school, so I know what it's like to be on a tight budget. I like to think that I'm a frugal, yet savvy, shopper. I try to find the best deal by getting cash back on purchases and using promo codes. 

Since a busy shopping season is ahead of us, I wanted to share my methods of saving money - including cash back, free products and gift cards. I hope that this post helps to save you money!

Cash Back: I use ebates and fatwallet to get cash back on online purchases. Before I shop online, I check both sites because some retailers are only listed on one site and also because some retailers give different amounts of cash back on each site.
  • Ebates: I've been a member for 8 years and have received $350 in cash back for online shopping. Cash back payment can be delivered via Paypal or a snail-mail check. Also, you can choose to donate your cash back payment to a charity or a friend.
  • Fatwallet: I've been a member for 8 years and have received $120 in cash back for online shopping. Cash back payment can be delivered via Paypal or a snail-mail check.

Free Products: Several companies give free products in exchange for reviews or word-of-mouth marketing (ex. sharing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
  • BzzAgent: I've received a few products from BzzAgent, which I've reviewed on the blog. You don't need an invitation to join.
  • House Party: I recently received a SodaStream package. You don't need an invitation to join.
  • Influenster: I've received a few Influenster Voxboxes, which I posted on the blog. Please e-mail me at cautiouslyoptimisticreviews@gmail.com for an invitation.
  • PinchMe: I've received perfume, skincare, chips and dog treat samples.
  • Swaggable: I've received soap and dog food samples. You don't need an invitation to join.
Sodastream package from House Party

Gift Cards: I use MyPoints and Swagbucks to get free gift cards for online activity (ex. online searches, playing games and filling out surveys).
  • MyPoints: I've been a member for 5 years and have redeemed points for 20,000 United MileagePlus Miles (almost enough for a round-trip domestic flight!). Please e-mail me at cautiouslyoptimisticreviews@gmail.com for an invitation.
  • Swagbucks: I've been a member for about 7 months and have made $250 in gift cards. You can redeem swagbucks for gift cards to popular retailers, including Amazon, Sephora, and Target. You can also choose to redeem swagbucks for Paypal payment.

Sample Sales: I am lucky to live in NYC - one reason is due to brick-and-mortar sample sales. I recently discovered sample sales and I think that I may be addicted! Sample sales are a great way to inexpensively purchase high-quality products. Several major cities have brick-and-mortar sample sales. So, if you live in (or are going to visit) a city, you may want to look for a sample sale. Finally, there are online sample sale sites:

Misc: This is a hodgepodge of miscellaneous methods to get free products and to save money.
  • Birthday Freebies: I wrote a separate post on freebies that you can get during your birth-day/week/month. Read the Birthday freebies post here.
  • Giveaways: This obviously takes quite a bit of luck, but you can't win if you don't enter! If you follow me on twitter, you'll know that entering giveaways is one of my guilty pleasures. I like to share the giveaways that I find, so I also write occasional giveaway posts. 
  • Subscription Boxes: I write about several subscription boxes, including BirchboxGlossybox and Popsugar Must Have Box. There is an element of surprise that you have to be comfortable with if you are going to venture into the realm of subscription boxes. However, box contents are generally 'worth' 2-3 times the cost of the subscription.

If you have any other money-saving tips to share, I'd love to hear your secrets! What is your favorite method to save money?


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