There is something about the word free that sends a little tingle down my spine. Even if I don’t need the item, I may end up with it because, why not? It’s free! Hence this week’s Frugal Family is centered on my unadulterated love for those finer free things that may be closer than you think.
On www.sampleville.com free samples are abundant. The best thing? The products samples are all healthy ones. Free coupons and percentage-off deals are offered for items such as cereal, toothpaste, dietary aids and on anything healthy living. My free deal was actually for a family member with diabetes. I filled out the questionnaire and now am anxiously awaiting my free (and stylish) cool blue glucose testing monitor.
For those that like to spend their time browsing online, www.mypoints.com is the place to go. The idea behind MyPoints is that once you login and sign up, you get points for reading ads about products. You can then redeem these points for gift certificates to name brand stores, i.e.: $10, $25, $50 for stores such as Home Depot and Macy’s. On a quick note, new members earn 25 points for taking advantage of the new member offer and I am skipping on my way down point alley.
Our next freebie can be found literally right in front of your face, or at a coffee shop, or in the barber shop… you get the idea. I am talking about those infamous mailers that come wrapped around your mail or found in the Sunday newspaper. Some may find them annoying and a big waste of paper, but those pesky little sheets hold valuable free food coupons for places such as Jack in the Box, Arby’s and Dairy Queen. ValPak usually has great coupons for local restaurants and services.
One of my new favorite websites is www.frugalvillage.com where frugality roams freely. There is a massive amount of cool and thrifty ideas for anyone of any age. As an animal lover, I couldn’t help but check out their animal section that read, “How to entertain your cat on the cheap.”
For the pet lovers out there, animal toys can be very expensive, like my cat’s favorite, the Banana -- a big yellow cloth banana stuffed with organic catnip. This little bugger runs up to $7 and can be instantly destroyed in less than a week. At www.frugalvillage.com, I can find ideas for stuffing a little sock full of catnip, make a plaything out of yarn and watch the fun develop. I know it sounds simple and strange, but guess what? Yes, my friends, it is free.
Sometimes you don’t even have to ask or chase the deal. In this economy, there are some strangely wonderful things that happen. This is a chance for my big shout out to Don Bell of Bell & Futch, PLLC, www.bell-futchcpas.com, who freely gave me a $50 discount on my taxes due to economic hardship. This was purely an act of kindness from one self-employed person to another and not only was I grateful, I loved the conversation and the experience which of course was at no cost.
Last but definitely not least is something that does not cost a dime. It is the power of conversation and the ability to merely ask a question. Just because you don’t have a coupon, do not assume the place you are visiting or shopping is not running a special or may have coupons available on site. All you have to do is ask if they are running any specials; you may be surprised at the extra 10 percent off or something free next time. All you have to do is ask—what do you have to lose?