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How to save money and get free stuff

Updated on October 23, 2013

Put some money back in your pockets

Every time I go shopping and I always notice the same thing....rising prices. Beef stew that was $1.50 last week is $2.25 this week. The same jeans I paid $20 for last year are $30 this year. Prices are rising while our paychecks stay the same. In the past, I never worried too much about trying to save money. If I found a good deal every once in a while, cool. But I figured rewards programs and coupons were a waste of time.

Boy, was I wrong.

I've spent maybe 2 hours total signing up for various rewards programs and about 10 minutes a week clipping coupons. The result? I save about $200 a month!

So, do your wallet a favor. Keep reading and sign up for anything that interests you. Believe me, it's worth it.

Do you belong to a rewards program?

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Save Money at Pharmacies

Save money and get free stuff

More and more pharmacies are offering rewards programs to attract more customers.

CVS offers the Extracare Program . You can sign up online or in the store. Either way, it takes less than 5 minutes. You'll receive both a wallet card and keychain card in the mail. Every time you shop CVS, you earn Extra Bucks. You earn 2% for every purchase & $1 for every two prescriptions. Members can also get Extra Bucks just for buying everyday items. When used in conjunction with coupons, you not only save money, you can even get some stuff FREE! And Extra Bucks are as good as cash at any CVS pharmacy.

RiteAid has a rewards program that allows you to accrue points every time you shop. When you reach a certain amount of points, you'll get a savings pass for 10% off your next purchase. The Wellness Benefits program also gives you member exclusive pricing, 10% off Rite Aid brand products and 24/7 access to a pharmacist. Along with their Wellness Benefits program, they also offer some nice rebates. Just save your receipts for the rebate period. Then either send them in or fill out their online rebate form and all your rebates will arrive on one check. They usually have about $800 in rebates available, so you're bound to save money on something.

Walgreens offers many ways to save money. First they have a rewards card called Balance Rewards. Sign up and then use your card to get sales prices. You also earn points for every purchase and you can trade those points in for cash off your next purchase. Plus Walgreens has a rebate program called the Easysaver. Just save your receipts for the rebate period. Then either send them in or fill out the online rebate form and you'll receive a check. They also offer free stuff .

Just an Example

Rite Aid (9/28-10/04)

Covergirl clean foundation

price: $5.49

Extra Bucks: $5.49

newspaper coupon: BOGO

Outcome: TWO Covergirl products for FREE!

Save money at Grocery Stores

Save money and get free stuff

Sadly, paper coupons are becoming a thing of the past. In fact, it's almost impossible to save money at the grocery store unless you join their loyalty programs. Here's the links to a few major retailers so you can make sure you're saving the max.

Kroger offers a Plus Card

Safeway offers a Safeway Club Card

Ingles offers an Ingles Advantage Card

Food Lion offers a MVP card.

Winn Dixie offers a Customer Rewards card

Save money Online

Save money and get free stuff

Don't forget about all the companies online. Some have clubs. Others just have coupons to print out. These are a few of the best online rewards clubs.

P&G sends an e-newsletter full of savings on products you use everyday. Between the P&G coupons from the sunday paper and the coupons from their e-newsletter, I've saved a ton of money. Plus they offer free stuff too!

Right@Home is another great company. They'll send you a coupon book(postal mail) right away and then newsletters(e-mail) with coupons every week. If you don't have a printer, contact them and they'll send paper coupons.

Betty Crocker has coupons, recipes, cheap meal plans and more. Go ahead. Take a peek at some of the coupons .

Hardees will send you some valuable coupons. I love my frisco burger, but I love it even more when it's $1 off.

Craftsman now has their own club. Just register and you'll get advanced notice of sales and special 'club' prices. Show your card at Sears and Kmart and save even more on qualified purchases.

You can pick up just about anything in your house and it'll have a website printed on the label. Go to that website and see what they offer. Most will have coupons for you to print out. And if you don't have a printer, click on 'contact us' and ask them to send you coupons in the mail. I've only had one company refuse.

Get free stuff with UPC Promotions

Save money and get free stuff

This is one of my favorite ways to save. I just save my Sprite caps, cereal upc's, and what-nots, and I end up with free stuff.

Kelloggs always has a newish program called Kelloggs Family Rewards. Just enter the rewards codes from various Kelloggs foods and you'll earn points you can exchange for rewards. Make sure to check the bonus points list because there's always a few foods whose codes are doubled.

MyCokeRewards will give you anything from free soda to flying miles. Even gift cards and free tickets to amusement parks. They have a great selection of rewards and all you have to do is enter the codes from your coke products. I buy a case of Dasani water every week so I'm really rackin up the points. So far I've gotten over $150 in gift cards, an mp3 player, a barbecue grill and cooler set, a cigarette case, a poster, mp3 speakers, a watch, free McDonalds food and a shirt. If you'd like to learn more about what they have to offer and get tips on how to collect extra points, please visit my article about MyCokeRewards.

Pampers offers books, toys, free diapers and more through their Gifts to Grow program. Just save your upc labels from anything pampers. Find out how it works and join today.

Huggies now offers their Enjoy The Ride Reward Program as a way to save money. Just enter the codes from your diaper packs and as your points add up, you can use them for instant win sweepstakes or just use them outright to pay for a prize in the reward catalog. Every code's a winner!

Purina offers a way to save money with their Purina Pro Club. Save the points from your dog food bags and send them in for great rewards like rebate checks, purina logo merchandise, restaurant gift cards, and checks written out to your veterinarian. You can even get cool stuff like a GPS system.

Stouffers offers a variety of rewards with their Dinner Club. Enter codes from participating Stouffers products and then exchange the points you receive for free Stouffers meals, free photo's. free DVD's and more. Plus, during the summer you can use your points to bid for $100 gift cards.

Recyclebank is a website that rewards you for living green. In exchange for doing fun activities like pledging to live greener, reporting when you recycle and learning how to live green, they offer points that you can trade in for coupons, gift cards and free stuff.

If you participate in some of these reward programs, I'm sure there's been a time or two when you just needed a couple more points to be eligible for a reward, but you didn't have any codes to enter. The next time that happens, head on over to Listia. You'll find auctions for a large variety of reward codes and you can even bid on them using the free credits you get for signing up.

Click Here To

Join Listia Today!

Never clip coupons again

Save money and get free stuff

I'm probably the only one in the world who actually loves clipping coupons. Every sunday, I make my husband get up early and go to town to buy a couple papers. He hates me for it and I love him for it. Of course, he would really hate me if he knew there were people out there willing to do all the work for me!

Shortcuts was designed by a genius. Remember all those rewards programs you signed up for? Register them at this site. Then go through their list of coupons, pick out the ones you want, and they'll transfer them to your rewards card. When you swipe your card at the store, the coupons will be applied. How simple is that? Oh, and by the way, it's free.

The Coupon Clippers will do all the work for you. Just register and pick out your coupons. They'll clip them and send them to you. They do charge a very small fee but it's worth it.

My Bargain Buddy
My Bargain Buddy

Save money while shopping online

Save money and get free stuff

Saving money online is easy when you sign up with MyBargainBuddy . I get a email everyday telling me where I can get the best bargains. I can't even tell you how much money I've saved with MyBargainBuddy. My latest savings was 2 suede blankets for 3$ each (with free s/h). In addition to the best bargains, MyBargainBuddy also has coupon codes and freebies.

Ebates Will give you cash back if you shop through their links. They have over 900 stores to choose from and a ton of coupon codes. Plus, they start you out with $5 cash or a $10 gift card just for signing up!

Throw a party for free!

Save money and get free stuff

Seriously! You can throw party after party for free with House Party! Just sign up and choose which parties you would like to host. Fill out an application for each one and if you're picked, they'll send you everything you need. So far I've hosted 2 parties and they were both a blast. The first one, a Digiorno Champions party, supplied me with 6 free Digiorno Pizza and Breadsticks combo packs and 24 coupons for $5 off a Digiorno pizza. Plus they sent me a Digiorno apron, a pizza cutter and fun games to play. The party ended up being a complete success and all I spent was $5 on drinks. The second party I hosted was a Bic Soleil Spread the Sunshine party. That party pack included 24 free Bic Soleil razors, 24 sunglasses cases, 24 coupons and an mp3 player speakers set. I made it a potluck party, so the only money I spent was on a few hula hoops.

Another way to host a free party is to join the Pssst...Network. Psst is a General Mills website. They offer coupons for free food in exchange for your feedback. In addition to this, they also offer you the chance to host parties. The last party I hosted was a Chex Mix party and it was so much fun!

How would you like to host a party for free, get free stuff, and get paid to do it? That's exactly what you'll get to do once you join Coffee-Mate's Brew Crew. After you join, just tell them what you're going to do to make your Coffee-Mate Sampling Party an event no one will forget. If they approve, they'll send you all the supplies you'll need. Plus, after the party they'll give you 2000 points. What are points? You can exchange your points for gift cards to different stores like Walmart, Kmart and Amazon. And even if you don't throw a party you can still earn points to trade in. Complete some of the activities (like posting on Facebook or answering some questions about yourself) and you'll earn points. Heck, I was able to earn 3800 points within 1 hour of joining and that was enough to trade in for a $25 gift card.

Get free stuff in your hometown!

Save money and get free stuff

Freecycle is a whole new way to get free stuff (and get rid of stuff you don't want). Just sign up and you'll be connected to your local chapter of Freecycle. If you're worried that your town doesn't have Freecycle, don't be. I live in Podunkville (population 5,000) and even we have it.

With Freecycle, if you have something you don't want anymore, just post it. Then locals will post back telling you they want it. If you want or need something, you can request it and if someone has it, you'll get it. A couple months ago I needed a high chair and with Freecycle, I got one within 2 days. A couple months before that I was cleaning out my basement and found 13 wicker baskets that I wouldn't use but I couldn't bear to throw away. I posted them on Freecycle and gave them to a nice lady who filled them with goodies and donated them to a nursing home. It's a win-win.

The best thing about Freecycle is that everything truly is free. The reason every city has their own chapter is so you don't have to pay postage. You can just pick something up or drop something off in person.

Photos and text; © 2011-2013 Catherine Taylor. All Rights Reserved

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Do you have a special way to save money? Let us know!


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What's your secret to saving money?

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    • Bill Armstrong profile image

      Bill Armstrong 4 years ago from Valencia, California

      Love a savings ;) I even make enquiries at the 99c store to ascertain if their prices are correct hehehe

    • profile image

      mstcourtjester 4 years ago

      Before, I buy something I ask myself is this something that can wait 30 day? If it is, I wait 30 days and then go buy it, if I still need it. Good lens you wrote here.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great tips for saving money. I love Shortcuts.com. Adding to my Mastering Couponing lens.

    • profile image

      Shadrosky 5 years ago

      Small change adds up!

    • LeCordonDude profile image

      LeCordonDude 5 years ago

      this is a great lens on how to save money and get free stuff! I did everything to it I could do to it, except pin it. what's pinning it, and how do I do this?

    • profile image

      cashstrapped 6 years ago

      It's great to see someone else who is just as passionate about saving money as I am! My blog is dedicated to saving money, as well as a few other bits and pieces which I wrote. I always love reading about how other people save their money, it's always interesting. Thanks for the great article!

    • CarolynPile profile image

      CarolynPile 6 years ago

      I usually look online for coupons for things on my shopping list before I go to the store. Thanks for the additional information. I'll have to try some of your tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      squid angel blessing :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      yes you put your weekly amounts to spend in envelopes and when you run out that's it.. all u can do is dip into another envelope, not the bank account!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have been fascinated with Extreme Couponing on television recently, and am in the process of figuring out how best to get it to work for me. Money is tight, and every little bit counts!

    • TN Grand Dad profile image

      TN Grand Dad 6 years ago

      Lots of interesting info! Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great stuff - must try it :)

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 6 years ago

      Thanks for responding to my thread in the forum. This lens is now featured on 99-weeks.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Some great tips here! This lens has been blessed.

    • MikeEssex profile image

      MikeEssex 6 years ago

      Some nice tips, I wish every company had a loyalty card scheme.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 6 years ago

      I love getting free stuff, using coupons, etc. This is a great lens. Lots of great rewards programs out there!

    • Nightowl John profile image

      Nightowl John 6 years ago

      Super information here! Thanks.

    • polymathlv lm profile image

      polymathlv lm 7 years ago

      This is a very tastefully done freebie lens! Nice job!

    • profile image

      kt_glasses 7 years ago

      Thanks for your tips here!

    • burgessvillian profile image

      burgessvillian 7 years ago

      You have some very cool ways to save. Thumbs up!

    • spunkyduckling profile image

      spunkyduckling 7 years ago

      Sounds to me like do your fingers a favor not just your wallet! My mom had a reward for shopping at a grocery and forgot about it! Good thing she found it by accident before it expired. It is nice to get rewards and coupons and the like. Great lens.

    • profile image

      ttveets 7 years ago

      I'll keep these in mind, thankfully I don't have to clip coupons anymore!

    • myneverboredhands profile image

      myneverboredhands 7 years ago

      Great job on gathering so much info in one lens about saving money. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 7 years ago

      We all need this advice at the moment, good job :)

    • profile image

      InsuranceQuotes4You 7 years ago

      Wow this idea is great on How to save money

    • profile image

      strightco 8 years ago

      I like the shortcut thing. I haven't seen that one before, and I'm signing up today. Thanks for the ideas. I've got a webpage with links to all kinds of free stuff you can get like free restaurant food with coupons, free books, free ebooks, free Christian stuff, and much more. It's at: http://strightco.tripod.com/thewrightstepp/

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I really like the coupon by card thing. That will really help people save some moula:]

      Thanks,

      Georges

      PS

      My lens is sorta the same, but a little different. Check it out, if you get some time:]

      http://www.squidoo.com/Saving-Time-and-Money-While...

    • profile image

      Zion 8 years ago

      Wow! Your lens is fantastic! I really like it so I gave you 5*. Keep up the god work!..

      Please try to stop by my Top 3 Home Based Businesses lens. I would really much appreciate if you could rate mine too!

      Thank you so much!

      Zion

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      I live in Canada so some of the places/items you talk about do not apply. I am enjoying my CIBC Visa Dividends card which is a no-fee card that gives cash back. My calculations proved (two years ago) that this card was better than cards that gave points because the cash was mine to do with as I please. I assume there must be similar cards elsewhere.

      Great topic!