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Tag Archive: Money-Saving Ideas

How I Got a Mailbox Full of Freebies This Week!

Get fun FREEBIES in your mailbox all year long with these simple steps!

Want to get freebies in your mailbox? I’ll show you how in this post!

At the beginning of the year, I decided to start signing up for freebies again. I don’t know why I had ever stopped, honestly. I think life just got busy and it felt like “one more thing”.

But then I noticed that I no longer had any free travel-sized lotion or body wash or razors or feminine products or travel-sized toothpaste or shampoo/conditioner samples… and I was actually having to pay for stuff that I had always gotten as freebies in the mail.

So at the beginning of the year, I started signing up for freebies hardcore again. And I’m having so much fun getting all these freebies in my mailbox again!

For those of you who think I’m a little crazy or weird to be this excited about freebies, I have to tell you, I used to think signing up for freebies was weird, too. I knew this one girl who was all into freebies and she spent what seemed like enormous amounts of time finding and signing up for freebies online. She’d post pictures on her blog of what she got in the mail and it pretty much looked like junk to me.

It seemed like signing up for freebies meant spending lots of time searching online and filling out forms all just to get tiny little samples of stuff I didn’t need and wouldn’t use in the first place. Needless to say, I was unimpressed.

However, this friend kept raving about her free samples and I finally decided, “Okay, what’s it going to hurt me just to try it for a few months?”

So I did… and, I got hooked. I learned that signing up for freebies doesn’t have to be a waste of time. In fact, it is fun — and it can save you a nice little amount on your grocery bill.

Plus, who doesn’t like to get free stuff in the mail! It’s a whole lot better than bills! 😉

Here’s how to get started filling up your mailbox with freebies: 

1. Set Up A Separate Email Account

Do NOT sign up for freebies with your main email account. Instead, set up a separate account through GMail or Juno or some other free service and only give out that email address when signing up.

You will get emails from companies that you sign up for offers and deals with. The main reason they are usually offering a freebie or coupon is so they’ll get your email address.

To prevent your main inbox from becoming overrun with offers and company emails, set up a separate email account to use for freebies and coupons. This is simple to do and will save you from dealing with a lot of spam or unwanted email in your main account.

2. Check MoneySavingMom.com Often

We do our best to keep you updated on the best freebies that are available — from samples to free coupons to full-sized products. Often, the really hot freebies only last for a few hours, so if you’re able to, I’d recommend checking in here at least one to three times per day in order to not to miss out.

Go here to see all of the freebies we’ve posted recently. (Some of those are digital downloads or other types of freebies, but everything on that section of our site is free — and many of the items we post there are free physical products/product samples. You can bookmark that page and just check that page a few times per day if you’re looking for new freebies! There are usually at least 1-2 new product sample freebies every day!)

I’d highly recommend signing up for our free daily email newsletter as it has all of the deals, freebies, coupons, and money-saving content we post every day — and we’ll deliver it straight to your inbox every afternoon. Sign up for free email newsletter here (and you’ll get my brand-new ebook, 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget as soon as you sign up!)

You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when something new has been posted.

3. Sign Up for Freebies That Interest You

When you see a freebie I’ve posted that you’re interested in, I’d recommend signing up immediately so you don’t miss out in case supplies are exhausted. However, I recommend that you don’t sign up for every freebie posted — only those you know you’ll use. If you won’t use it, there’s no point in having it clutter up your home, right?

4. Be Patient

It usually takes around 4-6 weeks for freebies to start arriving. It’s easy to be discouraged if you sign up for freebies faithfully for a few weeks and see nothing in return. Don’t be disheartened.

Just keep plugging away at signing up for those you’re interested and by week four or six, you should start to see a real return on your effort.

After faithfully signing up for freebies since the beginning of this year, my mailbox was brimming with freebies this past week. Watch this video to see everything I got for free this past week.

A Word of Caution

Don’t Sign Up for Shady Freebies

If it sounds too good to be true, it often is. I try my best to vet deals before posting them, but occasionally something will slip past me.

Always check a site out if something looks off. Is it hosted on the main company’s site? Does the Facebook Page have a lot of entries and likes (there are a lot of scam Facebook Pages)? Is the offer mentioned on the company’s website or Facebook Page?

Some tell-tale signs of possible scams are:

  • Blatant typos on a page
  • A high-value freebie that’s hosted on a non-company site
  • A bunch of hoops you have to jump through to get the freebie
  • A site offering a free product that doesn’t tell you where you can actually buy the product (no shopping cart on the site and no links to where you can purchase it)
  • A freebie advertised for a product that doesn’t seem to be available anywhere.

These aren’t always scams, but these are things I look for when deciding whether something is legit or not.

If you’re not 100% sure that an offer is legit, don’t sign up for it. And if you see a freebie posted here that seems like something is off with it, please, please leave a comment to let us know!

Don’t Give Out Your Phone Number

Unless you’re comfortable with it, don’t give out your phone number. Spam emails are not fun, but sales calls and texts are even much more disruptive in my opinion. Just skip offers that require a phone number and save yourself the headache!

What’s the best freebie you’ve ever gotten? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

15 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline (Part 2)

I started the 15 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline last week. Here are eight more ways to save money on gasoline submitted by Chrystal Turner from Sea of Savings:

8. Take it easy.

Rapid braking, punching the accelerator and other forms of forceful driving can cut fuel efficiency by as much as one-third at highway speeds and five percent in the city. Driving more carefully can save you up to $1 per gallon.

9. Carpool, if possible.

While this won’t work for everyone, if you can split the costs of gasoline with someone else, you’ll definitely save a bundle. Plus, if you share driving responsibilities, it will allow you to read, write or accomplish other work instead of always driving.

10. Lighten up.

Reducing the weight in your car by 100 pounds can increase your fuel efficiency by up to two percent, the EPA says, or up to $0.07 per gallon. Don’t haul anything unnecessary.

11. Don’t idle.

Idling wastes gas. The bigger the engine, the more gas wasted.

Consider going inside to order your lunch rather than waiting in a long drive-through line. Using cruise control and the overdrive gear at highway speeds will also help improve your gas mileage.

12. Get regular tune-ups.

A car that isn’t running well wastes gas. A tune-up and other repairs can improve your gas mileage by about four percent, or $0.15 per gallon, according to the EPA.

Fixing a serious problem can improve mileage by an enormous 40 percent. The repairs might be expensive, but at today’s gas prices, it will be cheaper in the long run to do the repairs.

13. Clean it up.

A clogged air filter can decrease your gas mileage by up to 10 percent, or $0.37 per gallon. And using the proper grade of motor oil can save one to two percent, or $0.04 to $0.07 per gallon.

14. Check your tires.

Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage by up to three percent.

15. Buy where it’s least expensive.

Finally, make sure you’re getting the best gas prices in your area by checking GasBuddy.com.

Chrystal Turner is a mom of one little energetic 4 year old, wife, work at home mom and blogger. Her blog, Sea of Savings, features the latest coupons and freebies, and routinely features work-at-home jobs and tips for working at home.

Reader Tip: How I Lowered Our Electric Bill and Created Teachable Moments

I loved this idea from Jody who blogs at Because I’m Me:

For a long time, I’ve been on my kids to turn the lights off, unplug things we’re not using, close the doors, take shorter showers, etc. They were tired of hearing it and weren’t listening.

One day a light bulb went on in the brain and I presented my children with the following offer: Each month the electric bill was below $190 they’d get the dollar amount the bill was below $190 (i.e.: if the bill were $180 they’d get $10). That money would go towards a party, be it candy, ice cream, cake, pizza, chips, whatever they could buy with that money. I never buy food like that, so it would be a real treat for them.

The first month the bill was still up there around $200, an encouraging improvement but not what they needed.

By the second month, the bill was only $162. Yup, almost $65 less than usual! Not too shabby. And it gave them $28 to blow on junk food. I never expected them to get it as low as that!

In addition to a lower electric bill, my children were able to learn valuable lessons. For example, how to budget that $28 to get the best bang for their buck while pleasing all six kids.

They opted to purchase store brand soda, inexpensive ice cream, lots of buy one, get one free items, use coupons, and to pass on some items that were just too expensive. When all was said and done they managed to have enough junk food for one fine party and many days of treats afterward, and they contributed $10 to a dinner of Chinese take-out!

Last week one of my sons said he wished we’d get an electric bill every day so he could keep track of the amount of the bill throughout the month. I wasn’t going to pass up this opportunity for a “teachable moment”, so out came the electric bill, an explanation of how to read the meter and a brief “field trip” to the side of the house where the meter is. Now he can check every day, do the multiplication and addition and see if we’re staying on track.

We are now four months into this deal and the interest has not waned!

Jody Sanders is a single Mom of 6 kids in south Florida. She home schools four of her kids, runs a home daycare and loves to sew. She can be found at Because I’m Me.

photo credit

Reader Tip: Fruit Juice Alternative

Fruit juice alternative

Tip from Alyssa:

As a health-conscious mom of four small kids, I really wanted to avoid serving my kids fruit juice on a regular basis. Not only was it expensive, I was concerned about the effect on my kids’ teeth (dental work is a real budget-killer!) and overall health from consuming so much fructose (read: sugar) for relatively little nutrition in return.

However, there are times I really need them to drink more fluids, like when they have fevers, when it’s hot outside or when I notice my oldest son having a hard time focusing. I have tried watering down fruit juice, which works most of the time, but it was hard to keep on hand for just those times when they don’t want to drink a large amount of plain water.

My Affordable Solution?

Tea!

Supermarkets typically run boxes of herbal fruit tea on sale two for $4 in my area. I use two bags per liter of cold herbal fruit tea, putting each liter at $0.10. Pretty cheap to me! Bonus: The dry tea is easy to keep on hand. If there are weeks we don’t need flavored drinks, it’s just fine waiting in our cupboard!

How We Make Our Tea:

  1. Boil two cups of water in a small pan, tea kettle or microwave.
  2. Place two tea bags of your choice, in a heat-safe (preferably glass) container.
  3. Pour boiling water over the tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags.
  4. Pour steeped tea into a one-liter/quart pitcher and fill with cold water.

To make a gallon to keep on hand in the refrigerator, I find that six bags are plenty to make adequate tea. This even increases your savings!

About Sweetening

My kids will drink most of the fruit teas unsweetened, but if it’s a hard sell, then you might try sweetening it.

  • Stevia is a natural herb which can be used for sweetening. Stevia extract comes in bottles, powder and packets from brands such as Truvia, Stevia in the Raw or Purevia. Be careful! A little stevia goes a long way so just use a drop or pinch and sweeten to taste. If you add too much, it will be sickening sweet and have a funny aftertaste.
  • Sugar (honey, turbinado, sucanat cane, etc.) To dissolve the sugar in your tea, stir in while it is still hot or take a little of your plain hot water and dissolve your sugar in a separate measuring cup. This will make your own sugar syrup that you can blend in with your tea to taste. (Isn’t this defeating the purpose? Well, in a way, no. You will be in control of how much you put in, and if you’re conscientious, then it will most likely be far less than average fruit juices.)

Alyssa is a happy (if not slightly insane at times) navy wife, and homeschooling mom to four kids, ages 6, 5, 2 and 5 months. She dreams of starting a blog one day, then quickly jerks back to reality where the mountain of laundry beckons, someone needs their shoes tied (again), and someone else begs her to turn the house upside down to find his toy hippo he hasn’t seen in three days.

Reader Tip: How We Save $20 in 15 Minutes

The following tip was submitted by Melanie G. from Buffalo, NY:

My husband and I are both employed full-time out of the house. We don’t have any kids yet, but we are planning for that day and already
have savings mechanisms in place so we can make the transition easier from spending for two to spending for more!

One of the easiest and quickest ways we have found to save money is by bringing our own lunches to work. On days that we don’t, we easily spend $10 each on lunches that probably aren’t very nutritious and don’t really even provide leftovers for another meal.

Our solution to this problem is to take 15 minutes (or less) every night after dinner to pack our lunches for the following day. Even on nights that we are just so tired or can’t think of what we would like to eat the next day, we realize that it is totally worth the effort to take the time right then to save us $20 the next day. If we didn’t do this, we could easily spend $400 per month on lunches out during the week, money we would much rather put towards becoming debt free!

One easy meal solution for us is to make twice as much dinner as we need, then take leftovers for lunch the next day. Another oldie-but-goodie standby is to make sandwiches. I always make sure to have bread and deli meats available. -Melanie

What are your favorite quick and easy sack lunch ideas?

photo by Kusine

A simple way we just reduced our expenses by $15 per month

After seven and a half years of marriage, we are officially landline-less! It’s something we’ve been hoping to be able to try for the last few years, but once we finally were able to afford a cell phone plan in our budget, we found it was less expensive to have an internet, cell phone and landline bundle than separate plans.

We’ve repeatedly priced all our options, and it has always continued to be less expensive to have a package deal, than to drop the landline.

Recently, however, our phone company finally started offering lower-priced a la carte options. So just this week, we ditched the landline — and will be saving $15 per month to do so.

Not only is this a simple way to save money, but I’m also thinking it’s going to save time, too, because I’m pretty sure we’re going to have a lot fewer sales calls.

Though, at times, I’d almost be willing to pay $15 per month just to avoid the terribly obnoxious middle-of-dinner debt consolidation sales calls. However, come to think of it, I’m going to kind of miss getting to answer their “How much debt do you have?” question. The response, “We don’t have debt” always completely threw them off-script and it was quite amusing to hear them fumble around trying to figure out what to say next. More often than not, there was silence and then a click on the other end. 🙂

photo by Tim Manteau