Coupons

Cyber Monday Freebies 2016

Bass Pro Shops (pg 26 and 27 of their Black Friday ad)

  • Free photo with santa through December 24
  • Free Games and Activities for Kids Wednesday to Sunday
  • Free crafts 7 days a week through December 24

 

Fry’s Electronics Weekly and Promo Code Emails 11/27 to 12/3

  • $20,000 Giveaway, www.frys.com/contest
  • McAfee AntiVirus 2017, Free after MIR and promo code
  • McAfee Total Protection 2017, Free after MIR and promo code
  • AVG Internet Security 2017, Free after MIR and promo code
  • ProHT 6ft Cable w/Ethernet, Free after MIR and promo code
  • Acronis Disk Director 12, Free after MIR and promo code
  • Norton Security Deluxe + Utilities Bundle, Free after MIR and promo code

 

Not free, but deals under $1 from Fry’s:

  • iPad Case for iPad 2, 3, 4, 60 cents with promo code
  • Charge/Sync Micro USB Cable, 69 cents
  • PayDoh Single Can, 50 cents with promo code
  • Full size candy bars, 33 cents each with promo code, Snickers, Reese’s, Almond Joy, limit 3 each

 

Newegg.com

 

Micro Center (pg 49 of their catalog)

  • System Suite 12 Professional, Free after $20 and $30 MIR
  • Perfect Image Professional, Free after $40 MIR

 

Free T-Shirt from Thit, fill out the form to get a free T-Shirt

Coupon Mom, join the website and email list to get freebies with coupons (beware, Coupon Mom often considers rewards programs as “free” when they’re not actually free, although they’re often good deals)

Free Noosa Yogurt (“for your friend”)

Free Sample of Liv Relief, fill out the form to get the sample, good stocking stuffer for athletic types.

Free $5 Target Gift card for getting your flu shot at CVS Pharmacy, click to read details

 

Digital Freebies (Music, Ebooks, Software, anything you can download)

MacX Video Converter Pro, Free Holiday Download

Rapid Prototyping for Entrepreneurs| Build a Demo in 2 hours, Free Udemy Online Course

Relapse Records Fall 2016 Sampler, Free music on Google Play

Black Friday Freebies 2016

For multiple years in a row now, this blog has published this list on Black Friday Freebies. Black Friday is one of two days of the year where you can literally go from place to place to get freebies with no purchase required (The other is your birthday). For super savers, coupon clippers, cheapskates, and die hard holiday shoppers, you should be aware that this blog only lists freebies that are actually free. There may be many other good deals on Black Friday that are not listed here, depending on your personal situation.

The Following Types of Promotions are Actually Free:

  • Door prizes
  • Sweepstakes
  • Free Food and activities
  • Coupon for $10 off $10 or more (or $5 or any other increment)
  • Free after rebate (sales tax and postage may apply)

Free after rebate deals still make the list since the savings are around 99% even with sales tax and postage. Use a cash back credit card (without carrying any debt from month to month) to offset some of that cost.

 

The Following Types of Promotions are NOT Actually Free and are not on this list:

  • Free with purchase
  • Free gift card with purchase
  • Free with activation
  • Free after points (this is like a BOGO, which is not actually free)

While these are not actually free by themselves, they can potentially be combined with other offers to get even more freebies. For example, get an item that is free after points, then use the points to buy an item that is free after mail in rebate (MIR), and both items are actually free. Even without combining offers, “free after points” offers can still be very good for stocking stuffers.

 

Academy Sports+Outdoors

 

Bass Pro Shops (pg 26 and 27 of their ad)

  • Free photo with santa through December 24
  • Free Games and Activities for Kids Wednesday to Sunday
  • Free crafts 7 days a week through December 24
  • Drawings for prizes every hour on 26th and 27th starting at 10:30 am
  • Saturday 26th, Free Bass Pro Shops Gun Sock to first 100 customers
  • Sunday 27th, Free Truetimber Camo Beanie to first 100 customers

 

Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles, Stage

  • First 75 people in line get a gift card, 72 will receive a $10 gift card, 1 will receive $50, 1 will receive $75, one will receive $100
  • One winner will receive a 4-ft teddy bear

 

Bealls Florida

  • First 200 people in line get a chance to win a kayak, 1 winner per store, Thursday 6 pm
  • Register to win a boat, www.facebook.com/beallsflorida
  • Win $1,000 shopping spree, enter to win in store on Friday between 5 am to 8 am

 

Belk

  • Thursday 4 pm, First 200 customers in line receive gift card, $5 to $1,000, one $1,000 per store
  • Friday 6 am, First 200 customers in line receive gift card, $5 to $1,000, one $1,000 per store
  • Free Beauty and fragrance samples

 

Bon Ton  (and probably these: Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s, Younkers) (Thursday 5 pm)

  • Clip coupon in their ad for $10 off an item of $10 or more
  • Free gift card for first 200 customers in line, card value between $5 and $500

 

Cabela’s (Friday 5 am)

  • Prizes for first 600 in line, Browning Rifle $600 value, Cuddeback Camera $100 value, Vortex Rifle Site $300 value, Bradley Smoker $350 value, Cabela’s cash card, Pfleuger fishing reel $60 value, Cabela’s bow $120 value, Badlands backpack $100 value, Worksharp sharpener $30 value, autographed Ken Onion knife $30 value, Ken Onion tool package $270 value

 

CVS

  • Colgate Toothpaste, $3 – $2.50 CVS kiosk coupon – $0.50 printable coupon from CVS.com = Free

 

Express

  • Win a trip to NYC, see page 2 of their ad

 

Farm & Home Supply (Friday 7 am)

  • 2 Pk Nkok Realtree Ford F-150 and F-250 RC truck, Free after F&H erebate online, see page 8 of their ad)

 

Fred Meyer (Friday 5 am)

  • Free coffee, juice, donuts

 

Fry’s Electronics 11/20 to 11/23

  • Inland 12 ft HDMI cable, free after $4 MIR and email promo code
  • Enermax Twister Storm 120mm case fan, free after $10 MIR
  • Avanquest Driver Genius Pro 12, free after $15 MIR
  • Fry’s $20,000 Holiday Shopping Spree Giveaway (ends 11/20), www.frys.com/contest

 

Fry’s Electronics Black Friday Promo Code Preview

  • ProHT Bluetooth Stereo Headsets, Free after $10 MIR and $9.99 promo code
  • Inland lightning to USB sync and charge cable, Free after $7 MIR and $7.99 promo code
  • Norton Security Deluxe Plus Utilities, Free after $50 MIR and $10 promo code

 

Fry’s Electronics Promo Code Email Thursday 5 PM, 6 am online

  • Asus Cereberus Gaming Headset, Free after $35 MIR and email promo code
  • 6′ HDMI Cable with Ethernet & Gold Connectors, Free after $4 MIR and email promo code
  • McAfee Total Protection 2017, Free after $55 MIR and email promo code
  • Kaspersky Total Security 2017, Free after $65 MIR and email promo code
  • Acronis Disk Director 12, Free after $30 MIR and email promo code

 

Fry’s Electronics Promo Code Email Thursday 5 pm, 9 am online

  • Inland 15.6″ Laptop sleeve, Free w/MIR and promo code
  • Inland 8ft HDMI cable, Free w/MIR and promo code, limit 3
  • Bytecc 6′ USB 2.0 mirco USB, Free w/MIR and promo code, limit 3
  • ProHT Bluetooth Earbuds, Free w/MIR and promo code, limit 2
  • Smartbean Bluetooth Receiver, Free w/MIR and promo code
  • ProHT Lightning to USB sync and charge 3 ft, Free/MIR and promo code, limit 2
  • Inland USB 3.1 to type C cable, Free w/ MIR and promo code, limit 2
  • Tenergy 4-pack AA batteries, 6 cents ea, limit 10, in-store only

 

Fry’s Electronics Promo Code Email Friday 8 am, 6 am online

  • Asus bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter, Free w/MIR and promo code, limit 2
  • inland Lightning to USB Sync and charge, free w/MIR and promo code, limit 2
  • Patriot Fuel Active, free w/MIR and promo code
  • Tenergy 4-pack AA batteries, 6 cents each, limit 10, in-store only

 

Fry’s Electronics Promo code Email Friday 8 am, 9 am online

  • EVGA GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 32-Bit DDR3, Free w/MIR and promo code
  • ProHT Metalic Earbuds with Built-in Mircophone, Free w/MIR and promo code
  • inland PC Chat Headset, Free w/MIR and promo code
  • inland 6′ HDMI cable with Ethernet, free w/MIR and promo code
  • ProHT Bluetooth Stereo Earbuds, free w/MIR and promo code, limit 2
  • Adreama USB Car Charging Adapter, 49 cents

 

Fry’s Electronics Weekly Deals 11/24 to 11/26

  • ProHT 3.5mm Analog Desktop mic, free after MIR
  • Spanish Premier, multiple language, free after $10 and $20 MIR

 

Gander Mountain

  • First 100 customers receive free giveaway or chance to win $500 gift card

 

Half Price Books, Friday 9 am

  • First 100 customers get tote bag with $5 gift card, one tote bag will have $100 gift card

 

Home Depot (Saturday 9 am to noon)

  • Free picture frame workshop for kids (not verified by Black Friday ad)

 

JC Penney, Thursday 3 pm

  • Receive a coupon for $10 off purchase of $10 or more, $100 off purchase of $100 or more, or $500 off purchase of $500 or more

 

Macy’s (Thursday 5 pm)

  • Bella Slow Cooker OR Bella waffle maker, free after $10 MIR

 

Mill’s Fleet Farm (Friday, 6 am)

  • Free Mill’s Fleet Farm Plush Koala Bear to first 500 customers.

 

New York & Company (Wednesday morning)

 

Newegg

 

Old Navy Thursday 4 pm

  • 10 days of scratch and win million dollar giveaway, $100,000 given away each day, 2 codes allowed per person per day, get codes at checkout, no purchase necessary.

 

Rural King

  • Energizer Batteries 16 pack, AA or AAA, free after $10 MIR, limit 4 (Friday, 6 am, purchase online?)
  • Enter to Win Monster Moto Mini Bike or $400 Rual King gift card (pg 9 of ad)

 

Sears

 

Staples, Friday 6 am

  • Kapersky Internet Security, 1 user, 1 cent after $45 easy rebate
  • Staples multipurpose paper ream, 1 cent after $7.98 easy rebate, limit 4

 

Shopko, Thursday 4 pm

  • Free $10 gift card to first 100 customers plus coupon book

 

Victoria’s Secret (Thursday, 5 pm)

  • Free tote for angel card holders
  • “Mystery surprise for members on Saturday” (unknown if it’s actually free)

 

World Market (Friday 7 am)

  • Free tote and $10 certificate for first 100 customers

 

RIP: Sports Authority went out of business this year, they’ll be missed, especially on Black Friday

Your local paper may have additional freebies. The local paper in Henderson, NV had gift cards and free food from local stores.

A lot of retailers sent freebies by direct mail, which is a trend that seems to have increased this year. Here are samples of retailers that have sent freebies:

  • Harbor Freight Tools: emailed 4 coupons for free items with no purchase required
  • JC Penney: Coupon for $10 off purchase of $10 or more
  • Beauty Brands: Coupons for $10 off any purchase
  • Kohls: Coupon for $5 off any purchase of $5 or more

How I Got Over $2,000 Worth of Christmas Gifts for Free, 2014

free christmas gifts 2014(some items listed below are not pictured)

This is the fourth year in a row that I’ve written an article explaining how I got free Christmas gifts. I may leave out some details since they are the same as previous years. Read the previous years here: 2011, 2012, 2013. When I explain the expenses below, I don’t account for the expense of driving to buy or pick up the gift. This is something I would have to do anyway for the holiday season. I do account for the expenses of claiming a rebate, such as shipping when purchasing the item online, sales tax when purchasing the item in the store, and the postage required for claiming the rebates. Envelopes were 2 cents each and the stamps were 49 cents each. The paper I used to print rebate forms was free and I don’t account for printer ink costs. The overall calculation for the value of these gifts is based on retail value.

Cafe Press Commissions is my buffer for all  freebies that weren’t actually free:

I get passive income from Cafe Press, a printing company online. This passive income was actually free since I had no startup costs. Read more details on this from previous years. This year, Cafe Press commissions total $73.33. This will be my buffer that makes all other freebies below actually free. See all my designs which you can print on demand on almost any product you can think of.

Buffer = $73.33

Bank Bonuses and Charitable Contribution:

I referred my son to open a Kid Savings account with Capital One 360. This got me a $40 referral bonus and my son got a $25 sign up bonus. My son will keep the $25 as a gift. I’ll add the $40 to my buffer.

When you refer adults to sign up for a Checking and/or Savings account with Capital One 360, the bonuses are much higher, especially during their Black Friday sales. I’ve always been happy with Capital One 360. Sign up for your own high-interest savings account and interest-earning checking account.

Value of Gifts: $25, Buffer = $113.33

Technically my buffer up to this point is income, so I have to pay taxes which I estimate to be 20% or $22.66. All remaining gifts were paid for after income taxes, they were a business expense, or they were redeemed with a coupon that stated it had no monetary value.

Value of Gifts: $25, Buffer = $90.67

My first gift of the year is a charitable contribution of $13.83.

Value of Gifts: $38.33, Buffer = $76.84

I started a business this year:

business freebies

If you’ve ever started or owned a business, you understand that the business should be treated as a separate entity and there are many benefits of being a business owner. If you have a legitimate business expense, then that expense can be applied before taxes (not after). It can also reduce the amount of personal expenses. Here are some legitimate business expenses that the business paid for (not me):

-Samsung Chromebook, normally $229, on sale for $199 plus I got a $50 Walmart gift card
-Formal Pants x 3 (as part of a uniform), normally $20 each, on sale for $14 each

I could technically include many of the tech and office items below and then count the rebates as contributing to my buffer, but that’s a little overkill for this article. The main point here is that if the business pays for it, there are tax benefits and as far as your personal money goes, it’s actually free. I bought a dual screen DVD player with the $50 Walmart gift card that came with the Chromebook.

Since I’m a business owner that also means I can join certain clubs and associations, including a barter network. Since I was new, the barter network decided to give me $500 in barter dollars (the value is dollar for dollar). I used these for 2 hours of massages, a woman’s haircut, a night in a hotel and $250 worth of meal vouchers that can be used at many restaurants all over town. Using these barter dollars did require a $58 transaction fee in actual money. However this is not a personal expense, it’s a business expense. Visiting each of these businesses and claiming each voucher will be a marketing effort for my business, especially since I provide business to business services. (See www.MirexMarketing.com).

Value of Gifts: $877.33, Buffer = $76.84

Freebies before and after Black Friday:

peri black friday freebies

I won a $50 Staples gift card at a real estate event. I’m not counting this yet since I could maximize the value of it with rebates as explained below under “Black Friday”.

I won a $10 Target gift card from a “scratch and win” card that one of my clients received in the mail and gave to me randomly. I used this to buy a Doodle toy on Black Friday for $10. It came out to 10.81 after tax. Normally the item is $20 when not on sale for Black Friday.

JCPenney mailed a coupon to JCP club members that was $10 off a purchase of $10 or more. I purchased a shirt that was $12.15 including tax, which came out to $2.15 after the coupon. The shirt was on sale and is normally $20.

I got a door prize at a real estate event, which was a 2-CD set of a recording of a John Burley seminar. If you don’t know who John Burley is, he is one of 8 or 9 of the men that the “rich dad” represented in the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. An info product like this from an expert real estate investor could easily sell for $75. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for me. (Thanks Santa)

I collect Disney Movie Rewards. Throughout the year they give rewards away for free on social media sites, for your birthday and membership anniversary. Those rewards combined with rewards that we get for Disney movies we’ve already purchased gave me enough rewards to order Disney Pixar Short Films on DVD. Shipping was included and no sales tax was charged. When I receive the item, it will likely have a rewards code inside which will contribute to a free item next year, along with other Disney movies that we might get for Christmas. This DVD retails for about $20. (Not pictured in other photos above, it didn’t arrive by the time we took the photos and started wrapping gifts).

I got coupons for three excellent stocking stuffers for our particular family on shopping deals websites like Slickdeals.net and Dealigg.com. The coupons were good for a free lens cloth (for cleaning glasses) from Walmart, free contacts solution from Walmart, and free body wash from CVS pharmacy. I didn’t check the prices, but I’ll estimate these to be worth about $7.50 at least. Something I’ve mentioned in articles for previous years is that you could get quite a few stocking stuffers by looking on coupons sites like CouponMom.com and requesting coupons and free samples directly from the manufacturers.

About a week or two after Black Friday, Groupon had a digital coupon for $10 off any purchase of $10 or more. I found the coupon code on SlickDeals.net. Shipping was not included and it would have cost about $4. I actually ordered an item that was more than $10 because it was something I wanted more. If I wanted to order something for $10 and just pay shipping, I could have. And for this scenario, that’s what I’m counting (that’s what one of the clothes items in the pictures represents).

I purchased a like-new digital photo frame for $3 at garage sale. A digital picture frame like this would normally cost anywhere between $15 to $35. I’ll count the more conservative estimate ($15) for this article.

Sears/Kmart sent me $10-worth of “shop your way” rewards points. I used the rewards points to buy an SD card. I had enough points that I previously aggregated for any tax and it was shipped to a local store for free pickup. This is an excellent combination for the digital picture frame.

Harbor Freight Tools sent me 7 different coupons in the mail before and after Black Friday that were good for a free item each, no purchase required (actually free)! These items included a tape measure, two work lights (flashlights), a multimeter, scissors, a rope and a screwdriver set. I didn’t record the exact retail value of each, but I estimate that they’re each worth $5, except the multimeter which is about $10 (total value $40). No sales tax was charged. After browsing the store I could also tell that they had distributed other coupons through other marketing channels which I didn’t not receive. Harbor Freight was nice this year.

Delsym had a free after rebate offer to encourage people to try their cold medicine. The rebate was good for a product up to $14, but I only purchased one that was $11.92 + $0.97 sales tax. Cold medicine will be a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone that might have a cold on Christmas. Hopefully no one will, but there is nothing better to receive than cold medicine when you actually have a cold. Expenses = 0.97 sales tax +  2 cents envelope + 49 cents for a stamp = $1.48.

Value of Gifts: $1106.75, Buffer = 65.40

Black Friday Freebies:

black friday freebies 2014

The “free after rebate” deals that I got on Black Friday are mentioned separately below. For more information on Black Friday Freebies read the Black Friday Freebies posts: 2012, 2013, 2014.

JCPenny was giving away door prize coupons good for $10 off any purchase of $10 or more. Between me and the other people shopping with me, we got 5 of these coupons. We were able to use each of them as long as they were each used in a separate transaction. Here’s what we got:

-memory foam pillow, normally $15, on sale for $10, free after coupon
-Cuisinart 12 pc knife set, normally $40, on sale for $17, $7 after coupon
-kids jeans, normally $15, on sale for $11.06 including tax, $1.06 after coupon
-set of socks and 2 pairs of gloves, normally $30 ($10 each), on sale for $11.50, 1.50 after coupon
-baby PJs and pair of gloves, normally $35 total ($15 and $10), on sale for $11.25, $1.25 after coupon
Total expenses: $10.81
Total retail value: at least $135

Macy’s had a scan and win promotion on Black Friday. I had to download their app and scan QR codes in the store. Only one QR code could be scanned every hour. After scanning a QR code a game was played with 5 attempts to win. I played the game a handful of times and won a gift code for $10. There were many nice kitchen appliances that were on sale at Macy’s for $10 (valued at $40 to $50). My wife and I considered many of them but we already had many of our gifts planned out. So, ultimately we went with an outfit for our son. It was normally at least $20, on sale for Black Friday for $10.80 including sales tax, $0.80 after the coupon code.

Costco gave away cookbooks on Black Friday again this year. Similar cookbooks would cost about $10 or more.

Stein Mart had a “scratch and win” coupon in their Black Friday ad. I had to buy two newspapers to get this ($6) and my wife and I each used a coupon which we correctly guessed was going to be $10. We could have won up to $100, but according to the rules a store associate had to scratch the coupon the reveal the reward and this year the associate wouldn’t do it before the purchase. In previous years the associate scratched it upon request when I came into the store so I knew how much I had to spend. In two transactions my wife and I purchased a blanket, two craft kits for kids, and kitchen clips to bring the one of the transactions over $10. The total value was $40, the items were on sale for $24 total, and they were $4 after the coupons. Expenses = $6 for two newspapers + $4 = $10

The day before Thanksgiving, New York & Co gave out “peel and win” gift cards. My wife and I each got one worth $5. In two transactions we purchased a hat and gloves that retail for $24 each ($48 total). They were on sale for Black Friday for $8 each ($16 total). After the coupons, they were $3 each ($6 total).

Note: Even after coupons these items were still more expensive than the same thing at JCPenney. Part of what we paid for was the brand name and this looks like a nicer gift for the person that we’ll give it to. However, a savvy shopper, extreme saver and freebie seeker will understand that this deal probably wasn’t worth it. As mentioned below, New York & Co had different pricing later in the season.

Value of Gifts: $1359.75, Buffer = $37.79

Free After Rebate from Staples:

staples FAR

-Staples paper reams x 4 = $31.16 – $31.12 easy rebate = 4 cents + tax

Total retail value = $31.16
Staples easy rebates do not require envelopes or stamps. It’s all done online. Total expenses = 2.52 sales tax + 4 cents = $2.56

Remember I mentioned above that I won a $50 gift card to staples. I used this gift card to buy these items that were “free” after rebate, so this rebate actually adds to the buffer. And there is still $18.84 on the card.

Value of Gifts: $1409.75, Buffer = $66.35

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics:

frys electronics FAR

-Rhino 40 Pc socket set: 8.99 – 3.99 instant savings – $5 MIR = Free + tax
-Wagan LED work light: 9.99 – 2.50 instant savings – $7 MIR – $0.50 + tax
-Wagon cupholder 2 DC and USB adapter: 16.99 – 6.99 instant savings – $10 MIR = Free + tax
-Rhino 31 pc screwdriver set: 9.99 – 4.99 instant savings – $5 MIR = Free + tax
-Antec Cleaning Kit: $4 – $4 MIR = Free + tax
-Signalex USB LED Light: $4 – $ MIR = Free + tax
-Thermaltake Allways Simple Cooler: $13 – $13 MIR = Free + tax
-Antec Accent Lighting: $5 – $5 MIR = Free + tax
-Antec XL Mircrofiber Cloth: $2 – $2 MIR = Free + tax
-Duracell 4000mAh Power Bank: $10 – $10 MIR = Free + tax
-Rhino USB Mini Vacuum: $3 – $4 MIR = -$1 + tax (that means it paid $1)
-Inland 15.6” Carrying Case: $7 – $7 MIR = Free + tax
-GG Cruiser XB200 Gaming Headset: $35 – $35 MIR = Free + tax
-Nuance Dragon Premium 12: $49.99 – $50 MIR + $5 Fry’s Gift card with promo code = Free + $5 gift card + tax
-Berlitz Italian Premier: $29.99 – $20 MIR – $10 MIR + $5 Fry’s Gift card with promo code = Free + $5 gift card + tax
-AVG Protection, Unlimited, 1 year: $44.99 – $45 MIR = Free + tax
-Artist Bundle: $78.99 – $79 MIR + $10 Fry’s Gift card with promo code = Free + $10 gift card + tax
-Manicure set: $8 – promo code = $1
-Pack of 4 AA batteries x 10 ($10), $1 ea – 0.93 ea on sale with promo code = $0.07 x 10 = $0.70

With promo codes sent through the Frys email club, I got a total of $20 in Fry’s Electronics gift cards with three of the purchases mentioned above. I used those for the following:

-Stick immersion blender ($15)
-Despicable Me 2 Blu Ray DVD combo (normally $20, on sale)
Total about $24 – $20 gift card = $4 including tax

Total retail value: $385.92
Total expenses = $25.47 sales tax + 18 envelopes and stamps (9.18) = $34.65

Total Value of Gifts: $1795.67, Buffer = $31.70

Free After Rebate from Tiger Direct:

tiger direct FAR

-Inveo 3-port HDMI Switch and 2 cables: $24.99 – $25 MIR = Free + shipping
-Kensington Virtuoso Metro Stylus and Pen: 5.99 – 5.99 MIR = Free + shipping
-Starlite DVD player: $14.99 – $15 MIR = Free + shipping
-Proscan 7” tablet and McAfee 2015 multi access 1 user 5 devices: $69.99 – $70 MIR = Free + Shipping
-Logitech Stereo Speakers: $14.99 – 14.99 = Free + shipping
-Family Software Suite Deluxe: $14.99 – $15 MIR = Free + shipping
-Raygo Wireless Optical Mouse: 9.99 – 9.99 MIR = Free + shipping
-Ultra Universal GPS dash mount: 9.99 – 9.99 MIR = Free + shipping
-Complete Software Suite: $14.99 – $15 MIR = Free + shipping

Note: The McAfee rebate required activation of annual renewal, which required credit card information. I’ll cancel the automatic renewal when I receive the rebate.

Total retail value: $180.91 (or over $1,700 depending on how you look at it, more details below)
Total expenses = $0 sales tax + 21.88 shipping for multiple orders + 9 envelopes and stamps ($4.59) = $26.47

Total Value of Gifts: $1976.58, Buffer = $5.23

Super Saturday Freebies:

[picture not available]

There are multiple “Super Saturday” sales throughout the year. One common “Super Saturday” is the Saturday before Christmas. Since I was subscribed to their email lists, I found out about promotions at two retailers that were similar to promotions you’d see on Black Friday.

New York & Company gave out a “peel and win” gift card to the first 100 customers in the store. This was exactly like their promotion the day before Thanksgiving. I won $5. I bought earrings that are normally $10, on sale for $6, $1.06 after the coupon and including tax. The pricing throughout the store was very different on Super Saturday than it was the day before Thanksgiving. All prices were lower, not just the jewelry.

Dick’s Sporting Goods gave a $10 coupon to the first 100 or 200 customers in the store (I forgot the exact number). I purchased sweat bands for jogging and a hand warmer for camping which came out to 9.98. Some coupons like this require that you exceed the amount of the coupon, but this particular one didn’t. There was no sales tax since a percentage of 0 is 0.

Total value of gifts: 1996.56 + $4.17 left over from the buffer = $2000.73
Last year’s total was $1445

Valid arguments as to whether I actually beat last year’s total:

I was sloppy in the accounting this year. I didn’t have exact amounts for everything listed above, but my estimates were pretty close. One could say that I was cheating by having my business pay for stuff and say it was free, since technically I make less profit if my business spends more. However, that’s a legal and legitimate way of lowering income taxes. If you don’t count the business purchases ($789), then the total is this year is $1211.73, which didn’t beat last year’s total, but still came close. If I wanted to, I could have purchased more items from Tigerdirect and Newegg to bring the total up. There were also two software discs that I purchased for $15 each (both free after rebate + shipping) which were worth over “$1,700” combined. That’s because together they contain over 30 software programs that could cost that much if purchased separately. So arguably, I beat last year’s total just by purchasing these two software discs from Tigerdirect (although I didn’t count it this way in the math above).

1700 software

The important points are these:

Did I get free Christmas gifts that were actually free? Yes, absolutely. Every time an item is listed above where the buffer didn’t change (i.e. no expenses), those transactions were actually free, even if you don’t count the business purchases.

Are there strategies included here that can help you do your Christmas shopping without breaking the bank? Absolutely. It just takes some planning and “type A” organization.

Freebies I missed:

Normally I explain the freebies I missed in detail. I’m not sure how helpful that is to readers, so this year I’ll just list what I could’ve received if I had the time. What might be more helpful to readers is the Black Friday Freebies posts of previous years (2012, 2013, 2014), which can be used for reference next Black Friday.

On Black Friday I missed Sports Authority’s Thursday and Friday “peel and win” gift cards, PetSmart’s free pet stocking, Old Navy’s win a million dollars sweepstakes (I didn’t win), and Bass Pro Shops’ door prize and raffle on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Also I didn’t buy anything from Newegg this year. Usually if Newegg has something that I want for free after rebate, then I’ll buy it from Newegg instead of Fry’s Electronics or other competitors since shipping is usually free from Newegg and you don’t pay sales tax unless you live in one of their three states of operation (this means it’s actually free).

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Black Friday Freebies 2014

It’s been a while since I posted on this site since I’ve been working on a new business this year: www.MirexMarketing.com. If you’re a business owner, check it out. Our business is to help you grow yours.

Once the Mirex Marketing staff is built up to a sufficient level, then we’ll be maintaining ActuallyFree.com on a regular basis (Yep, I acquired the .com this year, no more telling people it’s a .info domain and hoping they remember it). Until then, we won’t forget a couple of our most important blog posts for the year: Black Friday Freebies, Cyber Monday Freebies, Holiday Posts and the post on How I Got Free Christmas Gifts.

Here is this year’s list of Black Friday Freebies:

AAFES (Exchange)

Your Holiday Bill Is On Us sweepstakes. For military personnel and employees of the Army and Air Force. For official rules go to www.MyECP.com/CustomerAds/Page/Exchange.com. Sweepstakes are included because there has to be a free method of entry if it’s called a sweepstakes and if you win, it’s actually free.

Academy Sports and Outdoors

Scratch and win 2 tickets to the Super Bowl. No purchase necessary. See ad for official rules.

Anna’s Linens

First 100 customers in line or who come through the door will receive a $10 savings certificate.
Stores open Friday at 6 am.

Bass Pro Shops

Free Games & Activities: Laser Arcade, Soft Gun Arcade, Model Trains, Slot Car Racing, Craft & Activity Tables, Remote Control Trucks, Receive an email from Santa, from now until Dec 24.
Free photo with Santa, now through Dec 24.
Free Woodland Character Backpack Clip, Collect all 6 clips, Nov 24-28 to first 125 kids to visit Santa’s Wonderland.
Win a new 2015 Toyota Tundra Bass Pro Shops Off-Road Edition, Nov 26-30, visit basspro.com/pbstundra for official rules.
Nov 29 & 30 Super Saturday & Super Sunday Giveaways, Free Drawings every hour and door prizes, drawings begin 10:30 am both days, see their ad for prizes.
Free Bass Pro Shops Knife to first 100 customers (Nov 29 & 30, maybe just Nov 29).
Free Rapala Shad Rap Lure to first 100 customers (Nov 29 & 30, maybe just Nov 30).

Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles, Stage (Different names, same family of stores)

First 50 customers in line Thursday & Friday get a surprise scratch-off card, 48 customers get a $10 coupon, 1 customer gets a $50 gift card, 1 customer gets $100 gift card.
Arrive before doors open on Thursday to enjoy games, free giveaways and activities.
Stores open Thanksgiving 4pm – 1 am and Black Friday 6 am to 3 pm.

Bealls Florida

First 200 customers receive an entry form to win a Guy Harvey Paddle Board ($1,500 cash value, one winner per store) and a $5 coupon to use toward a purchase.
Stores open 6 pm Thursday.

Belk

250 gift cards given out per store valued between $5 to $1,000 on Thurs Nov, 27 at 6 pm.

Bon Ton (and probably these: Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s, Younkers)

$10 off an item of $10 or more coupon in the ad. Valid Thursday and Friday.
Stores open 6 pm Thursday.

Cabela’s

First 600 people in line get one of the following prizes: Browning AB3 Composite Stalker Rifle ($529 value), Champion Power Washer ($1,290 value), Zeiss Terra 3X Riflescope ($399 value), Masterbuilt 30″ Window Smoker ($349 value), Cabela’s Gift Card up to $100 value, Bushnell The Truth Rangefinder with Clearshot ($279 value), Men’s or Women’s The North Face Thermoball Jacket ($199 value), Under Armour Brow Tine 400-Grams Hunting Boots ($194 value), Nikon PROSTAFF 5 Binoculars ($179 value), Men’s or Women’s Keen Utility Detroit Work Boots ($149 value), ThermaCELL Heated Insoles ($129 value), Leatherman Fishing Tool ($39 value), Plano Hip Roof Tackle Box ($39 value), Cabela’s Women’s Varsity Hoodie or Full-Zip Hoodie ($29 value), Duck Dynasty Short Sleeve T-shirt ($19 value), Rapala Pliers and Superline Scissors Combo ($14 value), Polartec Beanie ($9 value).
Stores open Friday, 5 am.
Hunt for Bucks Sweepstakes, Nov 13th – Dec 13th, enter daily for a chance to win $1,000 – $5,000 gift cards, winners selected daily, enter on Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday to be entered to win $10,000 gift card, Enter Here.

Costco

Free cookbook, Fabulous Food The Costco Way, while supplies last.
Stores open at 10 am Friday.

Craft Warehouse

Get $10 back when you spend $10 or more with an enrolled AmEx card on Nov 29 (if this is store credit only, then this deal is not actually free, it’s a BOGO free hybrid).

Fry’s Electronics (Thursday)

Sign up for their email list to get a personal promo code, which is required to get any of their free after rebate deals.
GeForce GT 620 1 GB 64-bit DDR3, Free after promo code and $30 mail-in rebate.
Slimcompact CD/DVD 10-Pack Storage, Free after promo code and $3 mail-in rebate.
ProHT 8′ HDMI Cable M/M, Free after promo code and $2 mail-in rebate.
Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 12 with head set, Free after promo code and $50 mail-in rebate.
Berlitz Language software (7 languages advertised as individual items), Free after $20 and $10 mail-in rebate plus get $5 Fry’s gift card with promo code (There are many items advertised for $5 or less)
Sales tax may apply when purchasing in-store, shipping fees may apply when purchasing online
Sale begins online at 5 am, stores open at 5 pm

Fry’s Electronics (Friday)

Sign up for their email to get a personal promo code.
HDMI to VGA Adapter, Free after promo code and $15 mail-in rebate.
Inland PC Chat Headset, Free after promo code and $4 mail-in rebate.
ProHT Metalic iBuds, Free after promo code and $3 mail-in rebate.
Tenergy 4-pack AA Heavy-Duty Batteries, 7 cents after promo code, limit 5 per customer
31-Piece Screwdriver Set, Free after promo code and $5 mail-in rebate.
40-Piece SAE & Metric Socket Set, Free after promo code and $5 mail-in rebate.
Wagan Tech Twin USB/DC Cup Holder Adapter, Free after promo code and $10 mail-in rebate.
ESET Smart Security 2015, Free after promo code and $50 mail-in rebate.
AVG Protection 2015, Free after $45 mail in rebate, plus get $5 gift card with promo code.
Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium 12 with head set, Free after promo code and $50 mail-in rebate.
Berlitz Language software (7 languages advertised as individual items), Free after $20 and $10 mail-in rebate plus get $5 Fry’s gift card with promo code (There are many items advertised for $5 or less)
Smith Micro The Artist Bundle, free after $79 mail in rebate, plus get $10 Frys gift card with promo code (There are many items advertised for $10 or less)
Sales tax may apply when purchasing in-store, shipping fees may apply when purchasing online.
Sale begins online at 3 am, stores open at 5 am.

Fry’s Electronics (more freebies in additional ads, a promo code is not required for the freebies below)

ProHT Leather iPad Case with Multi-Stand, Free after $8 mail in rebate.
Duracell Portable Charger, Free after $10 mail in rebate.
2.5 Inch to 3.5 Inch Internal Hard Disk Drive Mounting Kit, Free after $4 mail in rebate.
ProHT 15.6″ Laptop Carrying Case, Free after $7 mail in rebate.
Tt Laptop Cooler, Free after $13 mail in rebate.
Mini 4 Port USB 2.0 Hub, Free after $4 mail in rebate.
ProHT USB 2.0 Card Reader, Free after $3 mail in rebate.
Yard Stake for Surveillance Notice (for Swan surveillance products), Free after $7 mail in rebate.
Kaspersky Pure 3.0 Total Security, Free after $60 mail in rebate.
AVG Protection 2015, Free after $45 mail in rebate.
Laplink PC Mover Ultimate, Free after $30 mail in rebate.
McAfee Total Protection 2015, Free after $40 mail in rebate.
Snap Secure Family 200GB, Free after $50 mail in rebate.
Nuance PDF Converter 8.0 OR Nuance PDF Create 8.0, Free after $40 mail in rebate.
PaloAltoSoftware Sales Marketing Pro, Free after $60 mail in rebate.
PaloAltoSoftware Live Plan, Free after $50 mail in rebate.
The Artist Bundle, Free after $79 mail in rebate.
Registry Utilities, Free after $20 mail in rebate.
Driver Erase, Free after $20 mail in rebate.
Driver Genius Pro 12, Free after $15 mail in rebate.
Photo Explosion Deluxe 5.0, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate.
Berlitz Language Learning Software (6 lanaguages/titles in the ad), Free after $20 and $10 mail in rebates.
Scrapbook Factory Deluxe, Free after $10 and $20 mail in rebate.
Antec TriCool 120mm Fan, Free after $7 mail in rebate.
Antec Accent Lighting, Free after $5 mail in rebate.
Antec Formula 6 Thermal Compound, Free after $5 mail in rebate.
Lepr Vortex 120mm LEPA Case Fan, Free after $5 mail in rebate.
Thermaltake Luna 14 Case Fan, Free after $11 mail in rebate.
Antec Screen Cleaning Kit, Free after $4 mail in rebate.
Antec XL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, Free after $2 mail in rebate.
ProHT Universal 10″ Tablet Sleeve, Free after $4 mail in rebate.
GamesterGear Gaming Headset, Free after $35 mail in rebate.
Fry’s Electronics also had many other free after rebate deals that were not advertised; sometimes you’d find them next to a deal that was advertised.

Gander Mountain

First 100 people in line will receive a free giveaway: Gopro Hero 3+ sports camera ($300 value, 1 per store), Mitchel 300 Limited Edition Spinning Reel ($300 value, 1 per store), Delorme inReach SE Two Way Satellite Communication ($300 value, 1 per store), Costa Sunglasses ($160 value, 1 per store), Gander Mtn 125 Lumen Flashlight ($35 value, 20 per store), $20 in Gander Cash (76 per store).
Giveaways are based on first come, first served! This is not a random drawing.
Stores open Friday at 5 am.

Guitar Center

Free group guitar lessons from Dec 27 through Dec 29.

Half Price Books

First 100 people in line get a tote and $5 gift card, one tote bag will contain a $100 gift card.
Opens Friday, November 28, 2014 at 7 am.

JC Penney’s

Coupon giveaway at the door while supplies last, $10 off $10 or more, valid Thursday and Friday only.
1 in every 100 coupon giveaways is a $100 off $100 or more, valid until Dec 24 (they’re probably giving away 100 coupons at each location).
Stores open 5 pm on Thanksgiving.

Micro Center

Partition Commander Professional 10 (software), Free after $40 mfr mail-in rebate.
Print Artist Platinum 25 (software), Free after two $20 mfr. mail-in rebates.

Macy’s

“Macy’s Million Dollar Giveaway”. Download the Macy’s app and scan codes in the store for a chance to win a gift code worth $10, $25, $50 or $250 instantly. There will be lots of winners from when they open 6 pm Thurs to Fri at 1 pm and on Saturday. Visit www.macys.com/million for rules.

Mills Fleet Farm

Free Mills Fleet Farm plush pillow fox stuffed animal given to the first 500 customers at each store.
Stores open Friday, 6 am.

New York & Company

On Wed, Nov 26, the first 100 customers to every store will receive a savings card up to $100.
On Thursday, the first 200 people in line or to enter the store will receive an entry card for a chance to win $100,000. Every store will have a $500 winner. (Each card probably has some store value which is a guess based on previous promotions). For official rules go to http://nycosweeps.com. (The ad doesn’t indicate what time stores open, official rules page says 6 pm Thursday).

Newegg (72 Hour Black Friday Preview)

AVG Protection 2015, Unlimited Devices, 2 years (internet security), Free after $45 mail-in rebate.
Kaspersky Anti-virus 2015, 3 PCs, Free after $40 mail-in rebate.
AVG Antivirus 2015, 1 PC, 2 years, Free after $25 mail-in rebate (read the fine print, may not be eligible if you claim the rebate for AVG Protection, which is the better deal)
Online purchases only, shipping may or may not be free, there is no sales tax unless you reside in on of their three states of operation.

Newegg (LIVE BLACK FRIDAY page)

Smith Micro Anime Studio Debut, Free after $15 mail-in rebate, shipping is $1.99
Smith Micro Manga Studio, Free after $15 mail-in rebate
Panda Global Protection, 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail-in rebate.

Newegg (Valid until price changes)

Kaspersky Internet Security, 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail-in rebate.
Panda Globa Protection 2015, 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail-in rebate.
Kaspersky Antivirus 2015, 3 PCs, Free after $40 mail-in rebate.
Nuance PDF Creator 8.0, Free after $40 mail-in rebate.
Nuance PDF Create 8.0, Free after $40 mail-in rebate.
Total Defense Premium Internet Security, 5 user, Free after $40 mail-in rebate.

Old Navy

First 100 people in line get a chance to win a million dollars according to the ad. See the official rules here.
Stores open Thursday at 4 pm.

Petco

Free ornament picture frame (maybe while supplies last)

PetSmart

First 100 customers in store get a free stocking which includes dog treats and scratch card with chances to win prizes, grand prize winner gets a trip for four and their pet to Beverly Hills and 1 winner per store gets a $100 gift card.
Stores open 7 am on Friday.

RC Willey

Free hot dogs and drinks, November 28 and 29, Noon to 4 pm, while supplies last.

Rural King

Energizer Batteries 16 pack, Free after $10 rebate, limit 4 (sales tax may apply when purchasing in-store).

Sierra Trading Post

First 100 customers get a gift card valued at $25 – $500.
Stores open Friday at 6 am.

Sports Authority

First 50 people in line on Thursday 11/27/14 are eligible for a free sports authority camping chair.
First 80 people at each store on 11/27/14 and 11/28/14 will receive a bonus card worth $10-$500.
The League Membership Program sweepstakes, 5 members will win $5,000 in league rewards, visit sportsauthority.com/sweepstakes for official rules.
Most stores open Thursday 11/27, 6 pm to 12 am, and Fri 11/28, 8 am to 10 pm.

Staples

Multi-purpose printing paper 1 cent after rebate.
Kaspersky Internet Security for one user 1 cent after rebate.
(Sales tax may apply when purchasing in-store, shipping may apply when purchasing online).

Stein Mart

Scratch and win coupon in their ad worth $10, $20, $50 or $100 off your purchase. Not sure if there is a minimum purchase requirement, but in previous years it was $10. A store associate has to scratch the coupon to reveal what the prize is so they’re expecting you to go and shop and then get it scratched at the checkout, but every previous year I had an associate do it when I walked in the store so I was able to buy something for the exact amount that my coupon was worth.

Target

“Pop goes the cracker. Be one of the first guests at each store on Black Friday to get your very own holiday cracker. Each one has a special surprise in side”. This is not like a cracker that you eat; it’s like a party confetti popper.

TigerDirect

PNY 128 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive + McAfee Security Software Bundle, Free after $50 rebate.
Logitech LS11 Stereo Speakers, Free after $10 price reduction and $14.99 rebate.
Asus Bluetooth 4.0 Network Adapter, Free after $15 rebate.
Sales tax may apply when purchased in-store, shipping fees may apply when buying online, offers may different online since the ad was for store purchases.

Tilly’s

First 100 customers on Thursday and Friday will receive a gift card worth $10 – $500.
See Tillys.com for details and store hours.

World Market

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, First 100 people to the store get a free Downton Abby tea cup. There is a different cup each day.
World Market Downton Abby sweepstakes, see official rules at www.worldmarketsweepstakes.com.

There are probably many other sweepstakes occurring from Black Friday to Christmas. The ones mentioned above were the ones mentioned in Black Friday ads. Most ads were viewed at BlackFriday.com.

Check your newspaper for circulars from local retailers. Some may have similar offers as those above. Large furniture stores and other stores for large ticket items might have free food.

More Freebies local to Las Vegas, NV (with possible locations in other states):

  • Walker Furnituture: Free doughnuts & coffee (Friday 7:30), free votive candle holder (Friday 7:30), free hot dogs and soda (Sat & Sun 11am-3pm), live entertainment (Fri, Sat, Sun 12-4 pm).
  • Sheplers Western Stores: Free $10 gift card to first 50 customers on Friday.
  • C-A-L Ranch Stores: Free gift card worth $5, $25 or $100 to first 100 customers per store, opens Friday 6 am
  • Rack Room Shoes: Enter to win a $25,000 holiday for up to 10, see official rules here.

 

The word FREE is one of the most effective words used in marketing, even though most promotions that use the word are not actually free. The ones above are actually free. The following are NOT actually free:

  • Anything that says “buy one get one free”.
  • Anything that says “free with purchase of . . .”
  • Most rewards programs (without tweaking or combining with coupons)
  • Walgreens Register Rewards (however, if you’re making purchases at Walgreens already, you could purchase these first and then purchase what you were going to purchase, then you get these items free with your purchase)
  • Rite Aid Rewards
  • CVS Extrabucks rewards
  • Kohl’s Cash
  • Sears Rewards
  • Office Max Rewards (Max Perk Rewards)
  • Possibly Craft Warehouse get $10 back when you spend $10 or more on Nov 29.
  • Free [store name] gift card when you buy [a featured product] (although, these could make very good deals and help with your Christmas budget)
  • Free Phone with activation and/or 2 year contract.
  • Free after upgrade rebate (this requires that you have the previous version of the software)
  • IKEA’s “eat free” deal

 

Also, don’t get fooled by the word “save”. You’re only saving if you put money in a savings account in the bank. A sale doesn’t mean you save, because you’re spending money. You’re not saving; you’re only spending less, and that’s if you were already intending to purchase the item before it went on sale.

This post will be updated if more freebies are discovered. Some deals may even be added after they expire so that this list can be a reference for next year.

How I got over $1400-worth of Christmas gifts for free, 2013

The following will explain in detail how I got over $1400-worth of Christmas gifts for free. For me, they were totally, completely and actually free. Some of the deals below would not have been free without all of the strategies that I applied. Yet, some were actually free as stand-alone offers and one even paid me $20! That was better than any offer I found last year or the year before. This is the third year in a row that I’ve performed this experiment.

free christmas gifts 2013

My first freebie strategy was to create a source of passive income. I consider sources of income with no start-up costs to be actually free. I also consider sources of passive income with minimal start-up costs to be actually free once the start-up costs are met and the source keeps providing income passively. My source of passive income is Cafe Press, which is a printing company that pays a commission to designers who submit designs. Once the design sells, Cafe Press prints it on the product and mails it to the customer. They handle everything from website maintenance to order fulfillment. Visit my Cafe Press store to see my designs. This is particularly free to me since I used free online tools and public domain clip art to create my designs. There are more details on this from my post last year. The only difference is I didn’t submit any designs this year, so it was 100% passive income. This year it totaled $193.95. I subtract 20% estimated taxes ($38.79) and keep it in a savings account until it is due. By keeping it in my own account instead of paying the taxes instantly, I earn interest instead of giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. After taxes, my Cafe Press income was $155.16. For tax purposes, all other freebies listed below were obtained after taxes or were declared on the coupon to be of no monetary value. I used my Cafe Press income as a buffer to cover all other expenses I incurred below, and since the Cafe Press income is free money, that means all my expenses below were actually free.

In September we had a garage sale where we were able to recover $58 from what we sold. This is not a source of income since we already owned the items. Yet, it was a way to get rid of stuff we didn’t want and maximize the original value that we paid. When I add the $58 from the garage sale, this makes my buffer $213.16.

I also thought about adding my credit card rewards to my buffer this year, which could have covered much more of the Christmas expenses. But I decided to let it keep increasing before I request the cash back refund. By next year, it may be up to $500. I might use it for Christmas next year, or sometime over the next few months I’ll create a Roth-IRA for me and my wife and a 529 for my kids. I’m still deciding. Cash back rewards credit cards are a great way to spend less if they’re used properly. By “properly” I mean the following: only use it to spend money that you have, pay it off in full every month, and collect the rewards without accruing any interest. If you let interest accrue then you’ll be paying more than the cash back rewards. Also, if you consciously think about the rewards when you’re shopping, then you’ll spend even more. It’s best to kind of forget about it until checking the monthly credit card statement where you can see the rewards grow over time.

With regards to credit in general: do not open more than 3 credit card accounts or obtain more than 5 lines of credit (a line of credit is any debt, including mortgage, school loans, etc). Always pay off credit cards in full from month to month or don’t use them, and never close your oldest card or the card with historically the most purchases and paid-in-full statements. This has been my personal credit card policy and it has resulted in a high credit score despite a large amount of debt from student loans. This is a task that requires a “type A” or rigidly organized personality and effort, and if that’s too difficult, then just stay away from credit cards completely.

There are plenty of rewards programs that do not require opening a credit account. These can also be beneficial if used correctly and some are even mentioned below. Throughout the year the rewards programs may offer free points, or the points can accrue on your every-day purchases. In these cases, you’re spending less and sometimes getting items that are actually free. However, it takes a conscious effort not to let the rewards program trick you into spending more money. If you’re considering a purchase that you would not make without the rewards program, then don’t make it based on the rewards program. Otherwise, the reward program has tricked you into spending more instead of helping you to spend less.

My first gift of Christmas is a charitable donation of $48.40. That leaves my buffer at $164.76. Also, I haven’t figured driving expenses in previous years and I could argue not to include them again since I either obtained a freebie while driving home from work or it was part of my normal Christmas shopping which I would have done anyway. Yet, this year I’ll assume it took a full take tank of gas ($35) which leaves my buffer at $129.76. I also mention other expenses below, such as the cost of an envelope and stamp for every mail-in rebate (10 cents per envelope and 46 cents per stamp). For the purpose of this article I’ll leave out the cost of printing a rebate form, which would have only been the price of ink per print job since I’m using paper that I got for free. Regarding time—I would have had to spend time shopping for Christmas anyway, so I didn’t figure time as a cost. (Total value of Christmas gifts = $48.40, buffer = $129.76)

Bank Bonuses:

Capital One 360 Black Friday

Capital One 360 Black Friday Offers Screenshot

Bank Bonuses are a fantastic way to get freebies that are actually free. I’ve loved bank bonuses ever since I first got $50 for free from ING Direct a few years ago just for opening an interest-earning checking account. ING Direct was purchased by Capital One and is now Capital One 360. During the Black Friday weekend they were offering $125 free for opening a checking account and $75 free for opening a savings account. This is the best offer they’ve ever had and they were offering $50 for referring friends. I wasn’t able to take advantage of that particular offer since I was already their client and none of my friends or blog readers took advantage of it. However, I did get a different offer. By signing my kids up for a Kid’s Savings account I got a $20 referral for each kid and each kid got $25 for opening an account for a total of $90 in free money. As part of Christmas I gave my two kids my entire referral bonuses and will continue to help them save and learn about saving as they get older.

Capital One 360 is still offering sign-up bonuses if you’re interested, just not as high as they were on Black Friday.

(Total value of Christmas gifts = $138.40, buffer = $129.76)

Samsung Tablet

I also signed up for a free checking account with 1st Bank. They have branches in Colorado, Arizona and California. By signing up and paying three bills with bill pay I was entitled to a free gift, which was a Samsung Galaxy 3 tablet worth $200. I’m not sure yet who is getting this for Christmas, but my wife could probably use it the most for multiple reasons.

The 1st Bank offer is still available if you’re interested. It even applies to their online banking echecking account which can be opened from anywhere and used online. However, if you like to be able to go to a brick-and-mortar bank, it will be most convenient if you live by a branch in Colorado, Arizona or California. (If you decide to open an account with 1st bank to receive a free Samsung tablet, please print this form and present it when you apply)

(Total value of Christmas gifts = $338.40, buffer = $129.76, this total already beats the first year I did this experiment and I’m just getting started)

Sweepstakes:

pixar cars and hot wheels

Entering sweepstakes is an activity I started doing this year which occasionally produces small prizes. Earlier this year O’Reilly Auto Parts had a sweepstakes where I won $5 almost daily for a period of time. I’m not including everything that I won here, but for Christmas I got my son some die-cast cars modeled after Pixar Cars characters and a couple of Hot Wheels cars. The Pixar cars were $6 each, so I paid $1 each time I bought one. Regularly I wouldn’t buy these for $6 since Wal Mart sells them for $3-4 each. I bought a total of six Pixar cars and two Hot Wheels cars and spent $6 (already rounded up after including sales tax). The total value of Christmas gifts for this article will be based on retail price (MSRP) or the price I would have had to pay without the coupon or rebate. In this case each Pixar car is calculated at a value of $6 even though I know I could’ve purchased them somewhere else for less. Total value of these gifts = (6 x $6) + (2 x $5) = $46.

(Total value of Christmas gifts = $338.40 + $46 = $384.40, buffer = $129.76 – $6 = $123.76)

During the Christmas season I completed surveys and entered sweepstakes for all offers on the store receipts. I also entered any sweepstakes that were advertised on Black Friday, including the $1 million given away by Old Navy. So far I haven’t won anything. Those who start entering sweepstakes should know that when you win anything substantial you have to pay income taxes on it.

Rewards Clubs, Email Clubs, and Mail Clubs:

Multiple times between October and Early December, Sears/Kmart/Shop Your Way rewards randomly gave me free rewards points; each was a limited time offer. This meant that the points didn’t accumulate; I had to use them before they expired. Here is what I got:

sears kmart shop your way rewards

  • Received random $5 in points, purchased a movie for $4.99 and paid 99 cents for shipping
  • Received random $6 in points, purchased a tool magnetizer/demagnetizer ($3.39) and a glass cutter ($2.97) for $6.38 total including sales tax, 38 cents for me with free local pick up.
  • Received random $8 in points, purchased rechargeable batteries for $8.21, which was 21 cents for me with free local pick up. When I went to pick up this item they didn’t have it and they have a guarantee where they “retrieve the item in 5 minutes or less or we give you $5 in store credit”. Since they didn’t have the item I wanted they gave me an upgraded package of rechargeable batteries worth $12 and the $5 coupon. With the $5 coupon I bought a Disney Planes action figure for $6 – $5 coupon = $1 (not pictured).
  • Received random $7 in points, purchased wire cutters for $7 with free local pick up (actually free).
  • Received random $5 in points, purchased women’s sunglasses for $6.07 – $5 = $1.07 with free local pick up.
  • Every time Sears gave me points I could have purchased something that was actually free, but I knew I had the buffer which gave me a little more flexibility, and these were the items that I wanted. Sears also gives $1 in rewards points for leaving product reviews. I left reviews for all six products that I purchased which gave me another $6 and I had some change left over in points from before. I purchased a small clamping hand tool for $1.69 that was actually free. I also bought a $5 gift for my wife that isn’t pictured since I want it to be a surprise. (This is one the few things she didn’t help me buy her for Christmas. This experiment sure helps with our Christmas budget, but it doesn’t leave much excitement for me and her since we know what many of our gifts will be. Yet, it’s still fun to be surprised every once in a while, so I’m keeping this gift hidden in case she reads this blog).
  • Received another random $10 in rewards after Black Friday, and I had even made purchases at Kmart on Black Friday. So I re-purchased an item for free and took back the duplicate that I actually paid for. With the $10 I purchased a Craftsman 13″ tool bag ($3.99), M&M stocking cane ($1), and two boxes of Honey Nut Chex ($5.33), and I paid a total of 33 cents with free local pick up.

Total for Sears/Kmart rewards = $58.69 (rounded for simplicity, sales tax is not calculated accurately for this entire article, but you’ll get the general idea), total spent from buffer = $4

(Total value of gifts = $384.40 + $58.69 = $443.09, buffer = $123.76 – $4 = $119.76)

disney movie rewards

muppet show

I’ve been a member of Disney Movie Rewards for about a year and a half. We’re pretty neat in my family so when we buy a movie we keep the case and all the case inserts that come with it. I had accumulated a few free points but not enough to purchase anything. So I took out all the inserts from all the Disney movies we had, some which we even purchased years ago, then entered and claimed all the rewards points. There was only one really old code that didn’t work. I even thought about doing the same thing with my in-law’s and my parent’s movies, but haven’t yet. Once I had entered all the codes, I had enough to order seasons two and three of the Muppet Show on DVD with free shipping. I’m estimating these to be valued at $30 total (it could easily be more at some stores in the mall).

(Total value of gifts = $443.09 + $30 = $473.09, buffer = $119.76)

JCPenny rewards

On two occasions JCPenney sent us a coupon in the mail which was good for $10 off any purchase of $10 or more. These are my favorite type of coupons to find during the holidays because if you purchase an item that is $10, the sales tax is calculated after the coupon price, which means the entire purchase is actually free! On the first occasion my wife bought an $18 necklace on sale for $10.87 – $10 coupon = 87 cents. On the second occasion I bought $25 gloves on sale for $12 – $10 coupon = $2. On both occasions we could have purchased items for $10 and received the items for free, but this is what we wanted or needed and we have the buffer.

(Total value of gifts = $473.09 + $43 = $516.09, buffer = $119.76 – $2.87 = $116.89)

Free After Rebates:

The big three retailers that provide deals with rebates are Newegg.com, Fry’s Electronics, and Tiger Direct. Sometimes there are others, like Micro Center or office stores, like Staples. Out of the three, the best one to buy from is Newegg, since their items often come with free shipping and there is no sales tax unless the item is shipped to one of their three states of operation. This may change in the future due to legislation, but this is how it is currently. When you can get an item for free after rebate with free shipping and no sales tax, it’s actually free! Fry’s Electronics comes in second due to the frequency of their free after rebate offers. Yet, they may charge for shipping, or sales tax will apply if the item is purchased in-store. The same is usually true for Tiger Direct, but not for me this year . . .

Tiger Direct Free after rebate:

tiger direct FAR

I purchased a software combo from Tiger Direct which included Dragon Naturally Speaking with headphones and mic and Total Defense Premium Security. It required activation of Total Defense Premium, which required entering credit card information, which means I will have to be conscious enough to cancel the subscription before they charge my credit card. I’ll probably do it immediately after I receive the rebate. The cost of the combo on sale was $60 + $5 shipping = $65. There was a $60 mail-in rebate (MIR) for the Total Defense software and a $25 mail-in rebate for Dragon Naturally speaking. Do the math: $65 – $60 MIR – $25 MIR = -$20. That’s a negative cost of $20, meaning I’m paid $20 to make this purchase! Last year I made a couple of purchases which paid $1-$5, but not $20. This purchase was made before Black Friday. Tiger Direct had other offers on Black Friday which I didn’t get in time before they sold out.

Claiming one of the rebates has been somewhat of a challenge. The rebate requires an invoice from Tiger Direct which they don’t send unless you request it. They only send a confirmation email of the purchase which doesn’t count as the invoice. So after I sent a copy of the confirmation email with the other documentation, Total Defense sent me an email saying my $60 rebate was denied since I didn’t include an invoice. They’re giving me more time. However, none of this was made clear initially, so there will probably be a few people who end up paying out of pocket for this one. Also, once you try to claim a rebate you’ve damaged the packaging since a rebate usually requires the proof of purchase. This means it can’t be returned to the retailer. Some rebates also come in the form of a pre-paid visa card which cannot be redeemed for cash. I often use these for every-day expenses like gas and groceries so that I’m consciously not allowing the rebate to trick me into spending more money. These cards have to be used within six months or there is a monthly maintenance fee which is deducted from the card’s total value. There was a student in the news who purchased every free after rebate deal he could find. He sold the items online for profit and used the pre-paid cards to pay for tuition. (Three envelopes and three stamps were used to claim the $60 rebate so far; hopefully it won’t take more).

(Total value of gifts = $516.09 + $85 = $601.09, buffer = $116.89 + $20 = $136.89)

Newegg.com Free after rebate:

newegg FAR

I purchased AVG Internet Security for one PC, regularly $49.99 – $19.99 instant discount – $30 mail-in rebate = $0 Free. There was free shipping and no sales tax, so this was actually free. Gotta love Newegg.com! This purchase was made before Black Friday; there were even better deals on Black Friday, like the same software for three PCs. I was kicking myself for not waiting. I didn’t attempt to buy the software again because I was concerned they wouldn’t send me two rebates from the same manufacturer.

(Total value of gifts = $601.09 + $50 = $651.09, buffer = $136.89)

Fry’s Electronics Free after rebate:

Fry's FAR

The first two Fry’s Electronics items were purchased before Black Friday, the others were purchased on Black Friday.

  • Sales & Marketing Pro software $59.99 – $60 MIR + $3.93 sales tax = $3.93
  • Winway Resume Deluxe $34.99 – $10 MIR – $25 MIR + $3.93 sales tax = $3.93
  • Rayovac 8-pack AAA batteries, $3 – $3 MIR = $0 + sales tax
  • Rayovac 8-pack AA batteries, $3 – $3 MIR = $0 + sales tax
  • TekNmotion 24 DVD/CD wallet, $3 – $3 MIR = $0 + sales tax (probably valued at $5-$8 for a similar item not on Black Friday)
  • Bytecc HDMI-VGA adapter, $15 – $15 MIR = $0 + sales tax (rebate was sent to Canada, postage was $1.10)
  • Wireless pen cam, $20 – $20 MIR = $0 + sales tax
  • Wagon 80 W power adapter, $11 – $11 MIR = $0 + sales tax (probably valued at $20 for a similar item not on Black Friday)
  • Tablet racing wheel, $40 – $40 MIR = $0 + sales tax
  • RC Helicopter, reg $30, on sale for $19.99 – $15 MIR = $4.99 + sales tax

Total value of items from Fry’s = $231 (some of this total is based on Black Friday sales prices; I know the pen cam sells for more), Total sales tax for Fry’s = $18.75. Total expenses for claiming all mail-in rebates above from Fry’s, Newegg and Tiger Direct = (16 envelopes x $0.1) + (15 stamps x $0.46) + $1.10 postage to Canada = $9.60, There was one item that was $5 after rebate, not free after rebate.

(Total value of gifts = $651.09 + $231 = $882.09, buffer = $136.89 – $18.75 – $9.60 – $5 = $103.54)

Staples Free after rebate on Black Friday:

Staples FAR

  • Staples paper ream, $6.99 x 2 = $13.98
  • Staples photo paper $14.79 x 2 = $29.58
  • Pentel Pens $4.29

Office supplies may not be very exciting gifts, but they are very practical. Total sales tax for Staples was $3.97; Staples rebates were entirely claimed online and did not require mailing or postage.

(Total value of gifts = $882.09 + $47.85 = $929.94, buffer = $103.54 – $3.97 = $99.57)

Black Friday Freebies:

Black Friday is one of the best days of the year for getting freebies that are actually free. The only other day that compares is your very own birthday. These are two days of the year where you can literally go from place to place and they hand you something for free with no monetary requirement. In order to fully take advantage of Black Friday freebies it is best to buy a newspaper on Thanksgiving, even though any savvy shopper will have already been looking at Black Friday ads online for weeks in advance. By “Black Friday” I mean basically the entire week of Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday due to recent trends over the last few years.

Black Friday Freebies

I bought two newspapers this year to get more coupons, which cost $4.22.

New York and Company gave out gift cards the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I got a $5 card and bought nail polish for my wife’s stocking at $6.07 including tax ($6.07 – $5 = $1.07)

Sports Authority gave out gift cards to the first 80 people in line. The first one I received was $10. I bought an RC toy car for $10, it was on sale and regularly $30. Since they had only given out about half of their gift cards by the time I was checking out, I asked if I could go out and come back in again, and they said yes! The second card I got was worth $10. I got a hand pump for intertubes and air mattresses for $10. I was really surprised at the low turnout of customers. When I talked to some of the people in line they didn’t even know Sports Authority was handing out gift cards. They were just waiting to do their Black Friday shopping.

Sports Authority actually gave out gift cards twice, once on Thursday evening and once on Friday morning. On Friday morning I had time to go to two different branches and got a gift card at each. One was worth $10 and the other was worth $25. I was able to combine them to get a pair of running shoes for my wife. The shoes were $62 – $35 = $27. I could have purchased an item worth $10 and an item worth $25 or an item worth $35 and they would have been actually free. However, this is what my wife wanted for Christmas. If I had saved all the cards I received then I could’ve spent $7 on the shoes, but I didn’t know that they could be combined until I tried towards the end.

Big Lots gave out gift cards to the first 100 customers. I got one worth $5. I bought a 20-pack of generic AA batteries for $5 and they were on sale, buy one get one free. Total value is $10 for 40 AA batteries.

Tilly’s gave out gift cards to the first 100 people in line. I got one worth $10. I bought earrings and bracelets for my wife for $10, actually free!

Stein Mart gave away gift cards in their Black Friday ad, the majority were worth $10. I bought two newspapers so my wife and I could both have a gift card. She purchased two 3-packs of belts. They were regularly $10 but there was also a coupon in the Black Friday ad for 50% off apparel and accessories on Black Friday, so she was able to get two packs instead of one. Total value is $20. I bought a coin separator machine for $10 which is a perfect gift for my parents.

JCPenney gave away snow globes on Black Friday, which I estimate to be worth about $5, although I could see them selling for up to $50 at a specialty store in the mall. Supposedly the reason why JCPenney gave out snow globes this year was because people complained that they didn’t do it last year. Last year JC Penney gave out Christmas buttons with codes on the back, some of which could be redeemed online for cash and prizes. I got $65-worth of Christmas gifts from that promotion last year which is substantially better than a $5 snow globe. If you asked me, I’d say people should complain that they didn’t do the buttons promotion this year.

CVS gave away a 4-pack of AA batteries on Thanksgiving Day. CVS card members had to scan their card at the in-store coupon Kiosk to get the coupon that was good for the entire price of the batteries which cost about $5.30. They also had a candy bar with 100% back in rewards. Normally I don’t consider 100% back in rewards to be actually free since it’s similar to “buy one, get one free” offers and those are not actually free. Yet, I was buying other items in the store anyway and the rewards could be used instantly. So I essentially got a 75 cent candy bar for free without spending anything extra.

For more reference on Black Friday freebies next year, go to my Black Friday Freebies post.

Total value of Black Friday freebies = $169.05, Total expenses for Black Friday above = $28.07 + $4.22 newspapers

(Total value of gifts = $929.94 + $169.05 = $1098.99, buffer = $99.57 – $28.07 – $4.22 = $67.28)

Free Samples, Gifts, Miscellaneous:

Misc Gifts

My wife and I found out that we’re having a baby! If you’ve ever had a baby then you’d know that nothing about it is ever free by a long shot. However, there are lots of sources to help reduce the baby expenses. When we went to the OB/GYN for the first ultrasound we received a sample bag that was full of magazines and coupons. One of the coupons was good for $10 at ToysRUs/BabiesRUs just for opening a baby registry. When I went to open the registry the associate told me she’d give me another $10 gift card for registering 140 items. I could have registered 140 boxes of diapers, wipes and formula and it would have counted, but I had a little fun with it. With these two $10 gift cards I bought a Razor scooter for my son on sale for Black Friday for $20, regularly $30. I had to pay about $1.30 in sales tax.

Also, BabiesRUs gives a percentage of purchases made from the registry back to the parents. We registered all our Black Friday purchases, so we’ll get 10% back, even though we were the ones that made the purchases. This is not actually free, but it was a great way to maximize the reduction in price of the items we purchased. This is our third baby, my wife probably won’t have a baby shower or even expect anyone else to use the registry. However, I could potentially win everything in the registry since I entered a sweepstakes.

We received many free samples from the OB/GYN and from BabiesRUs which will be great stocking stuffers. I’m estimating the value of these samples to be about $2, but they’re saving me a lot more than that since I could be spending more money to take up that space in a stocking. They’ll add to the baby theme of some of Santa’s gifts which will also be intended to surprise the in-laws on Christmas morning.

Last year I suggested using Halloween candy to fill Christmas stockings. This year I took my own advice and we spread the candy-eating out so much over the months that my son has no way of noticing how much is gone. The candy we selected for the stocking takes up about 1/5 of the stocking. The candy is probably worth about $4 or less, but it saved at least $10 in stocking stuffers.

Leftovers and hand-me-downs are free and when they look new they can be Christmas gifts. We had friends whose baby outgrew a toy walker, so they gave it to us. This walker is like new and the same one was advertised on Black Friday for $15. It will be an excellent gift for my daughter.

My sister purchased a clearance lot of dolls, and since she had an extra one from the lot, she gave it to us. This doll is estimated to be worth about $20 and it is brand new.

We receive WIC benefits, so we’re able to use some food items for my daughter’s Santa stash, particularly cereal from Santa, which would cost about $5 for the box.

O’Reilly Auto parts gave away coupons for $5 off a purchase of $5 or more for “liking” their facebook page. I purchased a seat belt clip for my son for $5.68 – $5 coupon = 68 cents

Total value of misc. gifts = $81, total expenses above = $1.98.

(Total value of gifts = $1098.99 + $81 = $1179.99, buffer = $67.28 – $1.98 = $65.30)

More Free with the buffer:

deals

Bank bonuses, sweepstakes, free after rebate deals, Black Friday freebies and the misc. freebies above are the extent of what I got for free (or nearly free) this year, which anybody can do without a buffer like the one I had from Café Press. Yet, I still have $65.30 from my Cafe Press, passive income, free money buffer, so here are some other smokin’ good deals that I found which were covered:

My wife and I purchased a Fischer Price Little People animal zoo for my daughter at Kohls. Regularly it’s $80. It was on sale on Black Friday for $35. We used a $10 off coupon that came with the newspaper and an additional 15% off coupon to get the item for about $23 including sales tax.

(Total value of gifts = $1179.99 + $80 = $1259.99, buffer = $65.30 – $23 = $42.30)

My wife and I purchased an Imaginex Pirate Ship for my son at Kohls. Regularly it’s $60. It was on sale on Black Friday for $25. With another $10 off newspaper coupon we got about $5 off this item when figuring the other stuff that I purchased, and we used an additional 15% off coupon to get the item for about $19 which includes sales tax. This is the only way to shop at Kohls since their marketing specifically caters to coupon-users, and when non-coupon-users shop at Kohls they over-pay. However, the entire process also makes returns a mathematical nightmare for the customer. When using a $10 off coupon for the entire purchase, their system splits the discount between all items, which is why we only got about $5 off this item when we were using a $10 off coupon. They also record all Kohls cash purchases which are deducted when making returns.

(Total value of gifts = $1259.99 + $60 = $1319.99, buffer = $42.30 – $19 = $23.30)

I purchased a like-new diaper bag at Goodwill for $12; it had the original tags and everything. At BabiesRUs the exact same bag in the exact same condition was $45.

(Total value of gifts = $1319.99 + $45 = $1364.99, buffer = $23.30 – $12 = $11.3)

I purchased a heart monitor watch on sale for $15 at Fry’s electronics on Black Friday. Usually a heart monitor of this type is $80 or more.

(Total value of gifts = $1364.99 + $80 = $1445 (rounded up 1 cent), buffer = $11.30 – $15 = -$3.70)

So there you have it. I got $1445-worth of Christmas gifts for $3.70 out of my own pocket. Not bad, huh? The $3.70 is actually covered by more Café Press buffer because the total used for this article was only the passive income from January to November, and sales even increase in December.

$1445 beats my record from last year and I wasn’t event trying as hard. I didn’t spend a lot of time scouring the internet for hidden freebies. I also didn’t include any dollar store items this year. However, one item that I noticed at the dollar store is a pedometer for $1. This particular pedometer is probably only worth $1. Yet, if you purchased a pedometer somewhere else it would cost about $8-15. Also not included in the calculations above was a $20 book that I bought at a thrift store for $3. Thrift stores are excellent places to buy discounted books.

UPDATE: Since this article was written I’ve received even more freebies. On the Saturday before Christmas, New York & Company gave out gift cards to the first 100 people in line. Between me and my accompanying family we got two cards worth $5 each and one worth $25. I ended up buying $40-worth of gifts – $35 gift cards = $5 + sales tax. The $5 and tax will be covered by December Cafe Press income. Also, H&M stores will be handing out gift cards to the first 100 people in line the day after Christmas.

 

Here are some other freebies that I missed which were not already mentioned above:

On two occasions I missed $7 in rewards from Sears/Kmart/Shop Your Way. The rewards had expired by the time I noticed them in my email.

Half Price Books had a free book day on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Any kid who went to their story time left with a free book.

As part of his gift to me this year, my brother-in-law went to Cabella’s at 3 am on Black Friday morning. He was attempting to get one of their door prizes valued up to $900, but we were expecting a $10 gift card. Cabella’s opens at 5 am and they were giving away 500 prizes. When my brother-in-law arrived two hours early, he estimated that there were about 1500 people in line, so he didn’t stay. He shops at Cabellas often and he also mentioned that he was surprised that many people were in line since Cabella’s Black Friday ad didn’t have anything super-discounted. The only thing special about the ad was the door prizes. So either a lot of people were in line just because they’re fans of Cabella’s or the people hoping for door prizes can’t count.

Had my brother-in-law stayed out shopping on Black Friday morning, he also would have gone to Half Price books for me to get their $5 coupon door prize and free tote. He may also have gone to Big Lots for me for an additional expected $5 gift card.

Costco gave away cook books again this year in which I would have been interested, but I didn’t get there in time. I had a busy Black Friday.

Coupon Mom sends out an email newsletter that updates members on items that they can get for free after coupons. Some of the coupons can only be obtained in the Sunday paper. Next year I might consider buying the Sunday paper from the dollar store starting in September to receive these items throughout the Holidays. Or I might try dumpster diving for these coupons. Generally these items would include food and personal hygiene products that can be included in stockings. You may have noticed that a lot of the items mentioned in this article can be put in a stocking. I planned it that way because I wasn’t happy with how much we had to spend on stocking stuffers last year. All those little items can add up.

For the last two years there was some kind of rebate for the most recent Pixar movie. If there was a rebate this year either for Disney’s Planes or Pixar’s Monsters University, I wasn’t able to find it.

I didn’t find any free movies with Hollywood Movie Money this year, which is really disappointing since I love going to the movies. Although I have already been to a couple of free screenings this month with passes from Gofobo.com and other sources.

I also didn’t discover any “12-days of Christmas” promotions that offered freebies, and this year I even created an email account just to get all the newsletters from every retailer for which I could sign up to make sure I didn’t miss any. Some retailers had 12-days promotions, but none that gave away freebies like one retailer did last year.

Sears Apparel Outlet had four free apparel days for kid’s apparel in October. I missed those and they haven’t had a free apparel day since then.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. All of these freebies are expired this year. However, the post itself can act as a good reference for what to expect next year. Absolutely anyone with a normal IQ, internet access and a means of transportation can do this. All it takes is some persistence and organization. Merry Christmas!

Cyber Monday Freebies 2013

As promised, here is the list for Cyber Monday Freebies, 2013. This list is not as extensive as the Black Friday Freebies 2013 list. Many of the freebies offered on Black Friday are intended to get customers into brick and mortar stores so that they’ll spend more. That tactic doesn’t work was well when getting people to make purchases online. Also, many freebies that are offered on Cyber Monday are not actually free since they often require shipping fees.

Capital One 360 Bank Freebies:

  • Open an interest-earning free checking account for $125 free
  • Open a savings account for $75 free
  • Get $150 for opening a Share Builder account and making 3 trades (may require fees, $6.95 per trade, see their page for details)
  • Fund a new IRA with share builder and get up to $1,000
  • Get $1,000 off closing costs for home loans and a $250 Amazon gift card
  • Also enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win $25,000

These offers were available starting Black Friday and they expire on Cyber Monday (Dec 2). Some of these accounts may require minimum deposits, but it’s still your money, so these deals are actually free. I usually advise against opening multiple credit card since too many credit cards can negatively affect your credit score. However, this is a checking and savings account, not a credit card account. Open as many different bank accounts as you want from as many different banks to get all kinds of bank freebies.

Newegg.com Free After Rebate:

No sales tax unless you live in one of their states of operation. Shipping is usually free unless otherwise stated above. A lot of the offers above were mentioned on the Black Friday post, those offers end on Dec 3. Check each offer for ending times.

Fry’s Electronics Free After Rebate:

Fry’s also has at least 8 software titles that are free after upgrade rebates, this means you must have the previous version of the software or its not actually free. See also Fry’s Featured Software page. Sales tax applies when purchasing in store, shipping fees apply when ordered online. Fry’s Electronics also has four different sweepstakes for chances to win merchandise. See the bottom of their ad pages.

Tiger Direct Free After Rebate:

Shipping fees apply unless specified. Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store.

ThredUp, the used clothes online store, is offering $15 off any order with no minimum requirement and $3 shipping (not actually free due to the shipping, but pretty close. There are many items for $15 or less). Use coupon code CYBER13. There are many other codes that can be used with ThredUp; unfortunately the checkout only allows the use of one code.

Free Redbox movie rental today only, use coupon code YY55NMPQ.

Since Cyber Monday is predominantly an online venture, I’ll also include some web freebies (digital, non-tangible):

Amazon.com

These are available throughout the year. Check frequently for updates and new titles. If you look, you may also be able to find other free downloads through iTunes and Google Play.

For non-free deals on Cyber Monday check out the list at DealNews.com.

You can also try searching deals websites like Slickdeals.net for coupons that offer 100% off, such as “$10 off a purchase of $10 or more” (just change the amount with each search, $5, $20, etc.) and combine it with an online code that offers free shipping (I found one of these super combinations last year). If you purchased toys or apparel on Black Friday, keep your receipts. Shopping experts say that toys go on sale at even bigger discounts than Black Friday at two weeks before Christmas and you may be able to recover the difference. Also, expect to see a Super Saturday two weeks before Christmas where most stores in the mall will have a 70% off everything sale. Also, Free Shipping Day is December 18. Try to find online codes that give you 100% off the price of the item which can be used on free shipping day for deals that are actually free. For December, you can expect to see at least three blog posts: one on free Christmas Holiday activities, one about reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas, and one that details all the free Christmas gifts I got this year, which is probably over $500 worth, but the exact amount will be revealed later on (I’m not done calculating it yet, and I may get more freebies throughout December).

Free Stuff Friday, March 8, 2013

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, March 8, 2013. Here are today’s freebies:

Bring a friend to IKEA on 3/9 for giveaways, free blue bags and breakfast.

Free breakfast sandwich and coffee from Subway at select locations in Virginia and Tennessee. Valid March 11 – 16.

Free individual dessert at Boston Market. Print coupon and present in-store before 3/18. The coupon is not provided by an official Boston Market sources, this has not been tested by Actually Free.

Free Original Glazed Doughnut from Krispy Kreme on March 10 only.

Free quart of Clark-Kensington Paint at Ace Hardware. Print coupon and present in-store. Valid on March 9 only.

Kingwin Case Fan Free After Rebate at Tiger Direct. Shipping is about $4.

Free Sample 2-pack of Aveda Invati Exfoliating Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner. Print coupon and present at participating salons. Expires June 30.

Free Cleaning Wipes and multiple software titles Free After Rebate at Fry’s Electronics. See their ad, pages 7 and 8. Rebate does not cover sales tax.

Free After Rebate software at Newegg. Shipping is free and there is no sales tax except in 4 states.

Free After Rebate software at MicroCenter. See their ad page page 49.

Free movie rental at RedBox. Use the code DVDNIGHT. (Might be expired)

Free Stuff Friday, February 15, 2013

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, February 15, 2013. Here are today’s freebies:

Get a Free Appetizer when you download the TGI Friday’s mobile app. Not tested, uncertain if a purchase is required. A tip is probably still expected.

Free 8 oz. Bottle of Cuties Juice. Print the coupon and present in store.

Free Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara after rebate. Purchase the mascara at any price up to $9.95 at any retailer then print, fill out and mail the rebate form with required additional documents.

Free After Rebate from Newegg:
ARCTIC COOLING A7P-75000023 92mm CPU Cooler, Free after $19.99 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
Nero Burn Express 2, Free after $20 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
Panda Security Antivirus Pro 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $20 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
AVG AntiVirus 2013 – 1 PC, Free after $20 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 8, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 User, Free after $50 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
SmithMicro StuffIt Deluxe, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
Total Defense Anti-Virus – 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
McAfee Internet Security 2013 – 1 PC, Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
Total Defense Unlimited Security Subscription, Free after $10 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-Shipping is free. There is no sales tax unless the item is delivered to one of Newegg’s states of operation.

Free After Rebate from Staples (see their ad, 2/17 – 2/23):
-Staples Photo Supreme 8.5 x 11 paper, double sided matte, 50/pack, Free after $14.99 mail in rebate, limit 2 per household.
-BIC-Matic Grip 0.7mm mechanical pencils, 5/pack, Free after $4.29 mail in rebate, limit 1 per household.
-Free earbuds with coupon and $25 minimum purchase, the items for free after rebate can be applied to the minimum purchase
-100% back in Staples rewards when you buy Lysol Disinfecting Wipes. Rewards programs are often not considered to be “actually free” since they’re more like “buy one get one free” promotions. In other words, you have to spend money to get the deal. However, Staples offers items for free after rebate often enough so that it can make sense to take advantage of their rewards program. First buy the items that offer 100% back in Staples rewards. Then use the rewards cash to buy items that are Free After Rebate to get most of your money back minus sales tax. The rewards get funded to your account within a couple weeks of purchase and you have 3 months to use them or print them for use even further in the future. Technically the rewards expire after 3 months so it is safest to use them within that time frame. However, more than one sales clerk at Staples has told me that they can apply the funds to your purchase even after their expiration date as long as they were printed within their valid time frame.
-Staples also has other deals this week for $1-$5.

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics:
-Cooler Master USB Powered Notebook Cooler, Free after $10 mail in rebate, see page 4 of their ad.
-inland Headsound 500 headphones, Free after $3 mail in rebate, see pg 4.
-Titanium Anti-Virus 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail in rebate, see pg 8.
-Panda Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $35 mail in rebate, see pg 8.
-Webroot Internet Security Plus 2013 – 3 Devices, Free after $50 mail in rebate, see pg 8.
-Fry’s has many other software items that are free after upgrade rebates.
-Sales tax applies when purchasing in store.

Free Stuff Friday, February 8, 2013

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, February 8, 2013. Here are today’s freebies:

Vibe Mini USB Cooling Fan from Tiger Direct, Free after $10 mail in rebate with free shipping, today only (2/8)

Free Valentine’s Day Personal Greeting Card from Treat.com. Enter the promo code MYHABIT at the checkout and select “send it to me first” for free shipping.

Neosporin Essentials Trial Pack Free after $13.99 mail in rebate. Purchase anywhere for $13.99 or less to get it free.

Free TRUEresult Blood Glucose Monitor after $14.99 mail in rebate from Walgreens. Use Walgreens rewards card to get the device for $14.99. The rebate is on the product package. See page 12 of their weekly ad.

(possibly) Free Rogaine 3 ct or 4 ct products after $20 mail in rebate. Print the rebate from Healthy Essentials coupon page. If you can find any 3 ct or 4 ct Rogaine product for $20 or less then it’s free.

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics:
-iPad Portfolio Cases, Free after $10 mail in rebate, pg 4
-Antec Vcool Blower, Free after $5 mail in rebate, pg 7
-iolo Search & Recover 5, Free after $10 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate, pg 8
-Nuance PDF Converter 8.0, Free after $40 mail in rebate, pg 8
-Webeasy 8 Professional, Free after $10 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate
-Many other software titles are free after upgrade rebates or free after rebate with tax software purchase
-Sales tax applies when purchasing in store.

Free After Rebate from Newegg:
SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 8.
AVG AntiVirus 2013 – 3 PC.
SmithMicro StuffIt Deluxe.
SmithMicro Manga Studio Debut 4.0.
AhnLab V3 Click.
McAfee Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs.
SmithMicro Voila.
Total Defense Anti-Virus – 3 PCs.
Total Defense Unlimited Security Subscription.
-Shipping is free. There is no sales tax unless the delivery address is in one of Newegg’s states of operation.

Free Stuff Friday, February 1, 2013

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, February 1, 2013. Here are today’s freebies:

The Superbowl is this Sunday. Freebies have been advertised during the game for the last few years in a row, so stay alert. Also look for local promotions and extreme discounts on products with game-related packaging after the Superbowl is over.

Free Cup of Soup at Mimi’s Cafe Today Only (2/1). Wear red to the restaurant to get a free cup of soup.

Free 4 pack of muffins when you join Mimi’s Cafe email list.

Free Calendar from Office Depot. Print coupon a present in-store. Exp 3/15.

Free 25 Black and White Copies from Office Depot. Print coupon and present in-store. Exp 4/16.

Free Pizza Hut Samples on 2/5 between 4-7 pm. Get a free sample of one of their newest creations for each time a quarterback says “hut” during the Superbowl this Sunday.

Free Stuffed Pizza Rollers when you sign up for Pizza Hut’s email list.

Mark your Calendar. IKEA giveaways on 3/9. Bring friends to IKEA for gift card giveaways, free blue bags, and free breakfast. RSVP at the link to receive the coupon.

Free After Rebate from Walgreens:
Arctic Naturals Total Omega Full Spectrum Support for Joint Skin and Heart Health Supplement S Lemon
Arctic Naturals Ultra Omega-3 Ultra Concentrated EPA/DHA for Advanced Support Supplement Sftgl Lemon
Arctic Naturals Daily Omega-3 Purified Fish Oil Supplement Softgels Lemon
-Limit one rebate per product. The same rebate form can be used for all three.
See other offers for free after rebate from Walgreens.
-Free shipping with online orders when subtotal is greater than $25. Sales tax probably applies since Walgreens operates in every state. You can also purchase in store.

Free 10×13 custom wall portrait. Print coupon and present at any Sears Portrait Studio.

Free 16×20 custom wall portrait. Print coupon and present at any Sears Portrait Studio.

Free Short Stack of IHOP Pancakes on 2/5 (National Pancake Day). “Guests will be asked to consider leaving a donation for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.” Also if you have a waiter s/he may expect a tip.

Free Waffle from Waffle House. Print coupon and present in the restaurant. Exp 2/7.

Free $15 credit at Fab.com. When this was tested, only the $10 credit was eligible, not the $5 credit. Also, there were very few products found at Fab.com that were $15 or less, so don’t let this offer trick you into spending money. Shipping for a $10 watch was $4.95. Uncertain if the credit can be applied towards shipping even if you’re able to get the full $15.

Free Admission to Family Attractions when you sign up for Scott Shared Values Rewards. Once you sign up you must answer a question related to your consumer habits related to Scott brand products. You receive up to 4 vouchers per year, each is good for admission for one person to select attractions. You and a friend can each sign up so that you can each get the vouchers and go together. Must be 18 years or older to sign up for Scott rewards so you’d probably have to pay for younger kids.

Free Admission to Museums for Bank of America Card holders on the first full weekend of every month. If you open an account at Bank of America to claim this offer, be sure you can avoid their fees.

Free slice of NY Cheese Pizza from Sbarros when you sign up for their email list, on your birthday and on the one-year anniversary of signing up.

Free After Rebate from Newegg:
SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 8, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check
Panda Security Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $30 mail in rebate in the form of a check
Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 – 5 Devices, Free after $55 mail in rebate in the form of a check
SmithMicro StuffIt Deluxe, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check
TREND MICRO Titanium Maximum Security 2013 – 3 User, Free after $60 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
Total Defense Anti-Virus – 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
AhnLab V3 Click, Free after $30 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
Total Defense Unlimited Security Subscription, Free after $10 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-Shipping is free on these items. Sales tax does not apply unless the order is shipped to one of Newegg’s 4 states of operation.

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics:
-12-in-1 Memory Card Reader/Writer, Free after $4 mail in rebate, pg 4
-Uniden Bluetooth Headset, Free after $10 mail in rebate, pg 5
-Avanquest Drive Erase Professional, Free after $10 mail in rebate and $15 mail in rebate, pg 8
-Webroot Antivirus 2013, Free after $35 mail in rebate, pg 8
-Many other software titles are free with upgrade rebates or when you buy the new Microsoft Office, pg 8
-Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store.

Free After Rebate from Microcenter:
-System Suite 12 Pro, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $30 mail in rebate
-Total Defense Unlimited Security, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Many other titles are free after upgrade rebates or with purchase of the new Microsoft Office
See their ad, page 49. Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store. Check back on a monthly basis to see freebies from Microcenter.

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