Monday, May 11, 2009

Nice things

Well today's mail was remarkably productive. I normally get a bit of junk mail or some flyers, with the occasional rebate and/or free magazine. But today my box was full. Three free magazines, a free plastic shower caddy to fit over my Scrubbing Bubbles automatic shower cleaner, a letter from my credit card company (which scared me before I opened it) saying that they'd decided to increase my line of credit, some coupons from Krogers (including two for free items), a free replacement remote from Dish Network for the remote the Quinn destroyed, a full sized tube of Neutrogena Baby Sunblock from BzzAgent, and a necklace I'd ordered from Silver Jewelry Club.

So after opening everything up and reveling in the getting-mail-y-ness of it all, I decided I should post here. Everyone loves free/dirt cheap stuff in the mail, right? So I should be letting you know how to get them. And since today's mail represents just about all the different types of freebies I get, this would be a good day to post about it.

So... #1: Free magazines. I get more magazines each month than I actually have time to read. And I don't pay for any of them. Magazines make most of their money from their advertisers. And advertisers choose magazines with a large number of subscribers. So a lot of magazines give away subscriptions so that they can get more advertisers. That means that there are a lot of free magazine subscriptions out there. My favorite way to get them is through Rewards Gold. Right now you can get a subscription to Forbes, but I've gotten everything from Mad Magazine to Martha Stewart Living through them.

#2: Freebies direct from the company that makes them. I got my shower caddy directly from Scrubbing Bubbles. Many companies will give you a free product if you write them and tell them that you liked (or hated) something they make. They know that if you try something, you might decide it's amazing and always buy it in the future. The shower caddy was made to fit directly on their automatic shower cleaner. Giving them away boosts their sales.

#3: Credit card incentives. Most people think that credit cards are a very bad thing. And believe me, they can be a VERY bad thing. If you charge an item that cost $10, but pay your bill a day late and don't pay it off in full, you'll end up spending hundreds on that $10 item. But there are ways to use credit cards that are very profitable. First off, there's the points you can earn by using them. Then there's the incentive for signing up. I've opened bank accounts and credit cards for those incentives. My last two bank accounts gave me $100 each for opening an account and regularly using their bank card. My last credit card gives me a discount at Toys R Us and rewards me in Toys R Us gift cards. I hardly ever go there, but a few times a year I take the kids as a treat and let them each spend one of my $10 rewards cards. Just MAKE SURE you pay your balance in full on time. The easy way to do this is to log onto their website the day after you shop and pay it from your bank account before you forget about it. This builds your credit score too. But if you can't keep track of what you owe and pay it off on time, you're better off avoiding credit cards.

#4: Store coupons. Stores give coupons for the same reason manufacturers do. They want your loyalty. So signing up for a store card can net you a few good deals and even the occasional freebie.

#5: Warranties and guarantees. These aren't exactly freebies. I pay for an extended warranty for my DVR from Dish Network. I pay a few dollars extra each month. But I make sure that when there's a problem, I use that warranty. And you'd be surprised at what qualifies. When Quinn took apart our remote and stole the back of it, they bought me a new one. And since he takes it apart, chews on it, or loses it every few months, I get a new universal remote every few months. Don't assume that things aren't covered. Even when it's clearly your own fault you'll sometimes get a free replacement. And if your coverage says that the item will be replaced with a new one, don't accept a refurbished one. You're PAYING for this. Get what you paid for.

#6: BzzAgent. They're a "Word of Mouth" advertising company. Manufacturers pay them to distribute full sized samples of their products and encourage their members to discuss those products with other people. The way they encourage you is to reward you for reporting back to them when you "bzz" a product. The rewards currently take the form of points redeemable through MyPoints for gift cards. I really don't like MyPoints so I'm in it mostly for the initial free product. They used to have their own rewards which I liked better. We'll see if they change to a better partner in the future. BzzAgent operates in Canada and the US primarily, but they also have a few things going on in Europe.

#7: Silver Jewelry Club. I love this site. They sell sterling silver jewelry with semi-precious gemstones and don't charge for the jewelry and only charge $6.99 (per item) for shipping and handling. They sell rings, earrings, and pendants, but if you order a pendant you can add a 16-, 18-, or 20-inch sterling silver necklace to the order for $4.00. The best way to order is to get out a ruler while you're looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions and make sure that you know how big the actual item will be. They use enlarged pictures so if you're not careful, you could be disappointed. I also recommend that you order items where the jewel is not entirely surrounded by silver edging so that light hits the jewel and shows it's colors. I especially like their blue topaz stuff. I love the color blue. They offer a selection of 4 different items at a time, and they rotate them regularly. You can scroll over each item for a detailed description, or look on the upper right hand side of the page to a link to see upcoming items. If you don't see anything you like, just wait.

So that was the mail. Hopefully, your mailboxes will be filling up soon, too.

1 comment:

She said...

Keep it coming. :) Love this stuff!