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I may not be lucky at life but I’m lucky at winning things

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.

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All the Small Things

It’s been a crazy past few weeks in my life lately. Lots of ups and downs. Unexpected surprises. Anticipated downsides. Basically I feel like I’ve been living on a roller coaster lately. And I’m a lovely combination of being mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically exhausted.

However even with all the crazy that is going on in my life, I still managed to find several silver linings.

Disclaimer: Since I don’t have kids and I’m not married, the only thing I can really brag about is myself at the moment. And I as I normally hate talking about good things that happen to me because I’m worried about what others think, this is rather rare. So if anyone feels the need to tell me I’m talking too much about myself, keep it to yourself. (kthanksbye)

I woke up on Tuesday morning to the best news ever….I won tickets to see Josh Groban! There had been a contest from the venue’s location  to name your favorite JG song and I entered with saying about how I hadn’t really listened to his music until this past year and yay for “False Alarms.” Didn’t think at all that I’d win. And then boom I did. The really awesome part was that I was totally expecting lawn seats because why would they give away seats that people would pay more money for? Then I got the tickets in the mail.

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These are actual seats! In the balcony! This is pretty frakking awesome!

And yes, I did buy tickets to see him for the night before as well. I don’t need to defend myself at all. But right now, knowing that I’m going to have back to back nights of Josh Groban in my life is exactly what I need. Also he’ll be the host of (yet) another reality music competition show on TV this summer. So even if I don’t care about the music, I can have Josh Groban on my TV every week during the summer!

The winning streak continued later that day because then I won a Twitter contest from Noodles and Company.

Then on Wednesday, I got a text from Chick Fil-A saying I could get free chicken nuggets that day. Yay! Free lunch!

While I was there, I received an email from my favorite movie theater telling me that as a rewards member I got the chance to be the first to RSVP for an advance screening of The Fault in Our Stars. Oh and that it was free as well. Free movie??? BOOM, I RSVPed immediately. And the RSVPs filled up fast so I was extremely lucky to get one when I did. I feel like I should feel bad because I haven’t read the book yet but you know what, I’m not going to. I’m really excited.

I may write another post about how I seem to have good luck when winning contests. It appears that I do.

On Thursday, I was FINALLY able to get my bridesmaid’s dress in as this has been a huge source of worry for the past few weeks. And the alterations are going to be a lot cheaper than I expected, so yay! Plus that day I found out I will be receiving for review from Amazon, a very nice set of pots and pans which makes me really excited because I love to cook and these will be awesome for that.

Then this weekend was the bachelorette party for the wedding I’ll be in. And it was rather awesome. Spending time with some of my best girl friends was exactly what I needed. I can also now take a breather from wedding duties as I had planned the shower and the bachelorette weekend and now I’m all good until the actual wedding next month.

There’s still a lot of stuff going on in my life that I both need to figure out and also just turn over to God. But it’s really great to know that there are still good things in life that I can find joy in.