When I was a kid, I loved entering contests and trying to win prizes. I remember watching the sweepstakes clearing house commercials and hoping that Ed McMahon would come to our house to present us with the $1,000,000 check. One time, at Great Adventures, I entered a drawing which included prizes such as a car and vacation. I filled out my father’s information because I was too young to collect the prize. Well, I received a letter in the mail saying that I had “won.” There was a catch though…there always is, isn’t there? It said that you had to go to some timeshare presentation before collecting the prize. My dad said that it was a scam, that they will try to sell you something with high pressure sales tactics, and that he wasn’t going. I pleaded with him to go and collect
No I wasn’t able to get that vacation prize because my dad didn’t go to the presentation, but yes free travel does exist! Before I got into the travel rewards game, I thought that it was too good to be true, or that it was reserved for businesspeople who racked up a lot of points by traveling a lot. Well, I never travel for work and I didn’t want to damage my credit so I passed on it. However, I started reading different sites and blogs about the amazing places you can go using these rewards, and I got very excited. My fears of a huge ding to my credit was lessened when I read How Opening and Closing Credit Card Accounts Affects Your Credit Score by Jonathan from My Money Blog. I’ve only opened a few credit cards to get the bonuses, but it’s been pretty successful. I’ve been able to stay at luxurious hotels for free and transferred some rewards to let my parents fly to Toronto for free. They were planning on taking the bus or train from NYC! Now you know where I get my frugality!
Risks: There will be some impact to your credit score, but it is not as big as you may fear. When applying for credit cards to get the bonuses, make sure you know the rules. The cards usually have a spending requirement which you must meet within a certain period of time to get the rewards. And of course, DO NOT SPEND MORE THAN YOU NORMALLY WOULD and make sure to pay your balance in full each month.
For more information, Holly from Club Thrifty often writes about travel rewards. Also, Brad from Richmond Savers offers free travel rewards coaching if you want an expert to help you. Yes, I know what you’re thinking…”Free coaching…that sounds too good to be true!” Don’t worry, Brad is legit and, no you will not have to pay for the coaching.
Staples Freebies and Money-makers
Staples is one of my favorite stores…after Target. I never spend money on copy paper anymore, Staples is always running deals where the paper is free after rebate. Their Staples Easy Rebate program makes it very easy. This is not the rebates of days gone by where you have to cut out a proof of purchase and mail it in with your receipt. It is all done online. I’ve gotten batteries which were free after rewards and other office supplies for free. Even better, there are times that when you combine the deal with a coupon, you can actually make money when you get the rebate check.
Risks: Make sure to submit the rebate immediately so you don’t forget. Don’t spend more than you would have. And, make sure you know the rules.
Rebecca from Stapler Confessions posts weekly picks at Staples and shares her tips on how to get freebies and make money there.
Cash back and Swag Bucks
Many probably don’t take advantage of these, but they are quite easy. Maybe people don’t get excited about it because it’s just a small amount of money, but it adds up. Getting a rebate from things I buy normally is a win in my book. I surf the web anyway, so why not get some freebies out of it. I always use a shopping portal such as Ebates to earn cash back when I shop online. There is really no reason I can think of NOT to use a shopping portal if you’re shopping online. There is no cost to you for using it. With Swagbucks.com, you get paid in swagbucks for searching online and filling out surveys. Don’t worry, you can trade your swagbucks in for gift cards at Amazon, among other stores. For a more in-depth explanation on Swagbucks, check out “Got Gift Cards?” by Dee who blogs at Color Me Frugal.
Is there anything else that is too good to be true, but is indeed true?