If you’ve hung around me long enough, then you know that I’m rather good at getting things very discounted or free. I’ve been asked a lot of how I’m able to do this, so here’s my meager attempt to try to explain.
Maybe some people have no hang ups at just paying full price for things but my background has been such where I always learned about bargaining and discounts. While I’m not a couponer and spend hours trying to get everything for pennies, I do spend some time researching on places and things I know I’m going to do. If I can get what I was going to for a steeply discounted price or free, why not?
If I find out in advance where I’m going out to eat, I go on their website and sign up for their email club. This usually means getting some sort of free thing with my meal. This takes less than a few minutes to sign up to get something for free. Because if you’re going to pay for it anyways, why not get something extra for it?
If there’s a place I frequent a lot, I sign up for their rewards program. For example, I go to movie theaters a lot. Depending on the theater I go, every time or dollar amount I spend goes towards free stuff: popcorn, drinks, movie tickets. Plus there are also special perks like prizes or special screenings. Or stores I visit frequently: spending money that I would have already spent goes towards coupons or other free gifts. A lot of these places also have members only contests where I enter and have frequently won things like shoes and other prizes.
When booking travel, you can save a lot of money by joining hotel and travel rewards programs. If your company allows you to do so, if they’re paying for your trip and let you use your rewards account, you can easily earn free trips and hotel nights. I was able to book a hotel room for a bachelorette party for free this way. Also do your research when it comes to travel. Instead of paying airfare or train fare or even gas and tolls when driving, consider the bus. If you do your research in advance, you get bus fares for as low as $1 and you get free WiFi! I’ve gone to NYC for $3 round trip by doing it this way.
As a book blogger, I used to get A LOT of books sent to me for review. Blogging about them led to me being sent other items for review. Even though I don’t do that on a frequent basis, I still have enough credibility where my reviews still matter and are influential. I didn’t start off book blogging to get free things. I just wanted to tell others about the books I read. I didn’t realize that getting things for free to review was even a thing at first. If you want to go this route, my suggestion is to just start reviewing things you already buy, own, or use. You can either start a blog or use consumer sites like Amazon. It might take a while before you get noticed but if you stick to it, it can be worth it.
I also seem to win things a lot. Now some of that is just pure dumb luck. Other times, I’m just careful about what I enter. I don’t enter huge sweepstakes things where everyone and their mother has entered as well. A lot of my wins tend to be from smaller contests where if the winner is randomly drawn, the pool is smaller. If the winner is chosen due to merit, then depending on the prize, I’ve probably put in time and effort for my entry. I’ve found that a lot of times the best way to win contests is through social media specifically Twitter, Facebook and blogs. If you like a brand or company, check out their social media pages. Depending on the audience, it may be easier for you to win that way. Also I don’t go for the huge prizes. Small things like books, movies, and gift cards are good enough wins for me.
Basically, it all comes down to spending time. Put in some effort and you will eventually reap rewards. I understand that not everyone wants to devote time to doing this and that’s ok. And like I said, there can be some luck that is a factor. You could spend hours doing all this and never get anything. I have awful luck when it comes to calling in radio stations trying to win things while I have friends who seem to always win tickets. I’ve been told that I need to play the lottery with all the luck I’ve been having lately winning things. I can’t bring myself to do this though. I’ve never paid to win something and I don’t see myself wanting to start that now.
I’ll just enjoy the small blessings that God has sent my way.