The other day I was discussing coupons with a friend. I am organizing a coupon class to be held at my church and asked someone at my son's school if she will be able to attend. She is a mom of 3, like me, busybusybusy and no time to clip coupons. She admitted that she does not use coupons but might like to learn how. They just take up so much time! I confessed that I clip more coupons than I ever use and my organization leaves something to be desired. But it got me thinking about all the other "frugal" things that I do beyond clipping coupons and organizing my grocery list according to sale ads and coupon deals. So I made a list...
This list includes some deals and freebies that I have scored in the last 3 weeks, there may be more that I cannot think of:
- Free samples in the mail, including dog treats, Miracle Grow potting soil, Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookie, Meow Mix (coupon for a free cup) and Kraft Fresh Take (cheese and seasonings, this was another coupon for a free full sized product--it was yummy). And probably more not listed; I get frequent detergent and shampoo and other beauty product samples. I get them from liking items on Facebook, from startsampling.com, Walmart.com and from a daily list that I receive through my email from shop4freebies.com. (See earlier post for those.)
- I needed some items from CVS last week and had earned $6 in ExtraCare bucks, so that made a nice dent in my total. All you do is have them scan your card with every purchase, including prescriptions.
- We received our free Amazon.com $25 gift card from our health insurance company. We use Blue Cross Blue Shield and found out accidentally (noticed a "rewards" button when I was checking something out on their website) that they reward you points for every checkup, dental visit, CPR training, etc. They also give you points for working out, dieting and other healthy activities. This was actually the second card we have received since we figured this out. If you have this insurance, the website is www.bluekc.com.
- I received my $10 Reward certificate from the World Market Explorer program after I finally reached $100 in gourmet food spending. I was able to get 2 bags full of goodies since I also shopped the 50% off section. This is another totally free rewards program. I also earn free coffee this way with double points on Wednesdays!
- As panelist member of Pinecone Research, I received a package of cat treats to try (on my cat) and then got paid $3 to do the follow up (very brief) survey. I have been doing this for several years, a few online surveys a month for $3 each and have tried several products out over the years. I have them direct deposit it to my paypal account so I don't have to waste a trip to the bank depositing the little checks. Not a lot of money but very easy.
- I received my box of goodies for my upcoming Silk House Party. I have done several of these parties, they send you a new product to try out and share with your friends. This package included coupons for free product, a bunch of $1 off coupons to share, paper party goods, cool bendy straws and a neat glass and acrylic tumbler. Go to houseparty.com to learn more (or see previous post).
- As a regular Price Chopper shopper, I have my kids signed up for the Kid's Club, so they get a coupon for a free item every month. This month it was 16oz bottles of Sunny D orange juice, in the past it has been full sized boxes of Dannon yogurt tubes, 2 Liters of Crush, fruit snacks, individual cookies or snack sized crackers. Yes, that one is a coupon but for a totally free item--painless!
- I received a bonus at one of my part time jobs, I won the monthly "contest" basically for just doing my job. I got to pick out $100 in free jewelry (I work for a jewelry company).
- And the MOST fun and best paying freebie was received last week when I got to do a taste test for a local market research company. I am on the call list for Q & A Research and have done several focus groups, taste tests and surveys for them over the years, as has my husband and a couple of my kids. (If you are in KC, their offices are off Metcalf but sometimes they have you go to a company, like the Hallmark headquarters in Crown Center.) I qualified for a taste test for a national chain of casual full service restaurants (starts with an "A") and so I got to go to their offices where they had a mini restaurant inside. We were served 2 full sized entrees with steak and shrimp and asked to fill out a questionnaire. These were new entrees not yet on the menu, so we had to also evaluate portion size and cost/value in addition to how they tasted. And yes, I ate most of both of them, no doggy bags allowed. After all that I was paid $50 in cash, not bad for an hour's work.
So, kind of a mixed bag of freebies, some of them took a few minutes here and there to sign up for but nothing too time consuming. If you are on Facebook already or have a daily digest that you can read each day while you check email, you too may be able to score samples and coupons without much effort. I do many other things but all of these bonuses just happened to arrive in the last couple weeks--great ways to stretch my budget a little and some nice surprises in my mailbox. I consider my Frugality to be a part time job, so it is nice to get paid!