deals

5 Smart Ways to Score Freebies

Written on July 8, 2014 at 11:01 am , by

By Anna Davies

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but by being creative, you can turn up plenty of ways to get a meal (and gym membership, theater tickets or groceries) without opening your wallet. “Not only have people become more savvy about finding bargains, but businesses have realized the value of their relationships with their customers, who can act like an informal marketing department,” explains Clare Levison, author of Frugal Isn’t Cheap: Spend Less, Save More, and Live Better. Try these real reader strategies to score—and save—big.

“Like” a Great Service

Following a business you love on Facebook or Twitter can be an excellent way to get insider info on special sales. But for even more deals, ask the company how you can help. Gina Lincicum, 41, a mom of three in Washington, DC, became a mystery shopper for a local restaurant chain. “I earn a free meal, plus $10 or so for filling out a questionnaire about my experience that usually takes 10 minutes to complete. I keep track of my mileage to and from the restaurant for my taxes, so I get a little money back that way too.”

Swap Skills

Think beyond trading carpooling for babysitting duties:  Bartering can also be  used to score major discounts on dental appointments, music lessons and other small-business services. Hope Hunt, 39, from Williamsburg, Virginia, saves $674 a month on tae kwon do and gymnastics lessons for her four children. “I work in technology, so I offer website design, blog setup and networking support in exchange for lessons,” Hunt explains. Not sure what you can offer? Look around and see what’s not available.

Volunteer

Tickets to museums, aquariums and theater performances can be scored for nada by giving your time, explains Laura Wallis, a mother of two and creator of the money-saving site Momsgonnafindout.com. “Check local attractions,” she suggests. “Usually nonprofits will be happy for an extra pair of hands.” Often you’ll have to attend a training session and make a specific time commitment, so this is a great strategy if you’re truly passionate about an organization. Bonus: If your teen has a volunteer-hour quota at school, joining you helps her while giving you two a chance to hang out.

Join a Focus Group

Offering your opinions on brands can be valuable if you’re savvy about sifting through opportunities, explains Wallis. “Some pay people in product, but others offer $20 to $150 an hour for your time.” Sign up at paidfocusgroup.net. Once you’re approved, you may be inundated with responses, so create a secondary email address and alternate phone number (such as a free Google Voice number that directs to voice mail). “Some focus groups are conducted via email or telephone, so you may not need to live in the area to participate,” says Wallis.

Complain the Right Way

It’s tempting to fire off an angry email—or unleash a few all-caps Tweets—when you’re confronted with subpar service. But taking a few deep breaths before eloquently explaining why you were disappointed helps you and the company in the long run, says Adi Bittan, CEO of OwnerListens, which offers an app that lets customers send private, anonymous feedback to business owners. “When consumers are legitimately dissatisfied, they will frequently get money back, gift certificates, samples or replacement products.” However, Bittan cautions that vague complaints aren’t likely to go far—even if you have a large following on social media. “Companies want to make things right, but they’re also wise about people using their social networking platform only for freebies,” Bittan says. “They can easily tell, based on a person’s social media history, when someone is making up a problem in order to save money.”

 

Sleep Your Way to Savings

Written on May 16, 2014 at 11:22 am , by

 

 

You’re not the only one struggling to catch enough zzz’s—two-thirds of all women have trouble sleeping at night. Ease your way to plenty of shut-eye with these five free remedies.

• Fall asleep to ambient soundtracks, record your movements and sounds throughout the night, and be woken up with a gentle alarm when you download the FREE SleepBot App.

• “Like” the Anti Snoring Center’s Facebook page to receive a FREE sleeping mask.

• Purchase Dream Essence’s Sleep Mask and receive a FREE Sleep Booster Herb Sachet to help you breathe in the calming effects of lavender and chamomile.

• Your brain waves will be soothingly lulled into a deep sleep with these FREE MP3 tracks.

• Learn whether it’s time to upgrade your mattress for a better snooze with a FREE Tempur-Pedic Information Kit.

Find more tips for getting enough rest here.

Tax Day Savings

Written on April 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm , by

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best deals on the Web! We love a bargain as much as the next person, so check back every Friday for our favorite family-friendly discounts.

 

 

 

Finally, an upside to Tax Day—reward yourself for filing with any of these 10 awesome food steals. Thanks, Uncle Sam!

Boston Market: $10.40 for Two Half-Chicken Individual Meals with Two Sides and Cornbread

Arby’s: FREE Value Sized Curly Fries or Small Potato Cakes

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt: $4.15 for Unlimited Froyo and Toppings in One Cup

Schlotzsky’s Bakery Cafe: FREE The Original Small Sandwich with Purchase of 32 oz Fountain Drink and Chips

Sonny’s BBQ: Half-Price Rib Platter (Irresistible Ribs Special)

Great American Cookies: FREE Original Chocolate Chip Cookie

Sonic Drive-Ins: Half-Price Drinks and Slushes

California Tortilla: FREE Chips and Queso with Any Entrée Purchase
*When you say “Taxes Shmaxes”

Bruegger’s Bagels: $10.40 for a Big Bagel Bundle (Baker’s Dozen and 2 Tubs of Cream Cheese)
*Available April 12-15

Hard Rock Cafe: FREE Dinner Entrée from Select Items
*One small caveat…You’ll have to get on the live music stage and “Sing for Your Supper!”

Lights, Camera, Discounts!

Written on March 21, 2014 at 10:00 am , by

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best deals on the Web! We love a bargain as much as the next person, so check back every Friday for our favorite family-friendly discounts.

Catching a movie doesn’t have to break the bank, thanks to these great offers. Talk about cinematic genius! (Who doesn’t love a free Disney film?)

• Watch the latest releases and timeless classics from the comfort of your home with a One-Month FREE Trial of Redbox Instant by Verizon. You’ll earn four free DVD credits plus access to the Sony Movie Channel.

• Download the Disney Movies Anywhere App—the go-to way to stream your collection of Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies and buy new ones—and you’ll receive a FREE Digital Copy of The Incredibles.

• Sign up for Two FREE Months of Hulu Plus courtesy of Best Buy Mobile Specialty Stores. (Just be sure to cancel after your deal is over, so you’re not charged a monthly fee.)

• Load up on snacks at Regal Theatres. When you buy a large drink and/or large popcorn, you’ll receive One FREE Refill.

• Flying just got a little more appealing. Beginning April 1 on select planes, United Airlines will allow passengers with an Apple device running iOS 6 and higher to choose from FREE Movies and TV Shows preloaded onto their official app.

 

For more tips that’ll save you money at the movies, watch our video below.