Free After Rebate

Free Stuff Friday, December 28, 2012

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, December 28, 2012. Here are today’s freebies:

I Rocks Technology AC / USB Power Adapter for iPod/iPhone, $5.51 sale price – 9.99 mail in rebate = ($4.48), This offer pays you $4.48 to get the product. Shipping is free. There is no sales tax unless the shipping address is to their state of operation.

Free After Rebate from Newegg.com:
-Panda Security Global Protection 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-iolo System Mechanic Premium – Unlimited PCs (install it on all your home PCs), Free after $43 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-iolo System Mechanic – Unlimited PCs (install it on all your home PCs), Free after $37 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.
-Symantec Norton Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $55 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-McAfee Total Protection 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $65 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-SmithMicro Voila, Free after $25 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-Total Defense PC Tune-Up, Free after $35 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-AVG PC TuneUp – 3 PCs, Free after $25 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 User, Free after $50 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics:
-Cooler Master Thermal Fusion 400, Free after $5 mail in rebate
-Mertiline Square Mesh Waste Basket, Free after $3 mail in rebate
-Trend Micro Titanium Antivirus 2013- 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Acronis Disk Director 11 Home, Free after $25 mail in rebate
-Berlitz Chinese/Japanese Premier (and 5 other languages), Free after $10 mail in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-GREETING CARD FACTORY DELUXE 8.0, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $15 mail in rebate
-Manga Studio Debut 4, Free after $35 mail in rebate
-PDF Converter 8.0, Free after $40 mail in rebate
-Panda Global Protection 2013-3 PCs, Free after $45 mail in rebate
-Webroot Internet Security Plus 2013-3PC, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Total Defense Antivirus- 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-PC Mover Ultimate, Free after $35 mail in rebate
-Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 5.0, Free after $10 mail in rebate and $25 mail in rebate
-Mavis Beacon Typing- 25th Anniversary Platinum Edition, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Print Artist Platinum 24, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate
-Digital TV for PC 2, Free after $25 mail in rebate
-Merriam Webster’s Spanish-English Dictionary OR Merriam Webster’s Three Dictionary Combo, Free after $14 mail in rebate
-DiskImage, Free after $30 mail in rebate.
-“Over 60 software titles” free after rebate. “Competitive upgrade” rebates require proof of purchase of previous version. Without the POP these titles aren’t free. Sales tax applies when buying in-store.
-see their ad, page 7, 8, Software Deals page, and Office Supply page

Free After Rebate from Tiger Direct:
-OfficeWork Creative Essentials Software – Includes MuveeNow, Anime Studio 6 And TrueKatShow, Free after $20 mail in rebate.
-Total Defense Unlimited Internet Security – Monthly Subscription, Free after $20 mail in rebate.
-Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 Devices, Annual Subscription, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Total Defense Internet Security Suite Software – 3 Devices, free after $70 mail in rebate
-Shipping fees may apply when purchasing online from Tiger Direct. Sales tax applies when buying in person at Tiger Direct-owned stores.

Cooler Master NotePal U1 Notebook Cooling Stand, Free after $15 mail in rebate. Currently sold out as of this post. The rebate is good until Jan 1, so they may get re-stocked. (Use the “alert me” option on the page to receive an email for when they get it in stock).

Free Creme of Nature sample, fill out the form to have it mailed.

Free Sample of Centrum Flavor Burst Chews, fill out the form to have it mailed.

Free Redbox one-night rental at Publix Supermarkets. Text the word “market” to 727272 to receive the promo code by text. Expires 12/30.

First pair of glasses free at GlassesShop.com. Use the code FIRSTFREE at checkout.

Free 2013 Calendar from CubCrafters.com. Fill out the form to have it mailed.

Free 5.5 oz can of Friskies cat food from Petco. Print the coupon to redeem in-store

Free Sample of Avenda Exfoliating Shampoo and Conditioner. Print the coupon to redeem in-store.

Get 25 4×6 prints free from RiteAid. Order the prints online, use the code EPRNT at checkout, and select in-store pickup.

Free Sensual Massage Oil from Laruh.com. Fill out the form to have it mailed.

Get free gift cards with Bing Rewards. Build up rewards points by using Bing’s free internet search service, then redeem the points for rewards such as gift cards. Internet Explorer is probably required since Microsoft runs Bing (not tested by Actually Free).

UPDATE (MORE FREEBIES):

Free After Rebate from MacMall:
-QFX Stereo Earbuds with Inline Microphone – White (H-103 (WHITE)), Free after $13.99 mail in rebate.
-QFX Stereo Earbuds with Inline Microphone – Black (H-103 (BLACK)), Free after $13.99 mail in rebate (this cannot be combined with the white QFX earbuds, you can choose one or the other per mailing address)
-Shipping is free on orders over $24.99 or free if you’re a member of Shoprunner. Unlike the USB wall charger mentioned above, these don’t have the special free shipping offer. No sales tax unless the shipping address is in the same state of operation as the retailer (IL and CA)

Free After Rebate from Staples (Dec 30 – Jan 5):
-HammerMill® 8.5″ x 11″ Copy Plus® copy paper, 500 sheets, $1 after mail in rebate ($6.99 – $5.99 MIR), limit 4 rebates per household, coupon for $5 off purchase of $25 or more– ($6.99 x 4) – 5 + sales tax – (5.99 x 4) = 27.96 – 5 + sales tax – 23.96 = -1 + sales tax. Excluding sales tax this offer pays you a dollar. In Arizona it would come out to about $1.50 total with sales tax for 2000 sheets of paper. The sales tax varies state by state.
-Staples® photo plus 4″ x 6″ paper, gloss, Free after $9.99 mail in rebate, limit two rebates per household. If you get two then your total comes to $19.98. That means you could also potentially get another $5-worth of items and use the $5 off any purchase of $25 coupon to get those items for very cheap, but not free, due to sales tax and the requirement of the coupon to minimally purchase $25 not including sales tax. Here is the purchase I made: (2 x 9.99 photo paper) + (2 x $1 note cards) + 1.99 clorox disinfecting wipes + $1 pack of 25 envelopes + 0.50 Staples 1-subject notebook = 25.47 subtotal – $5 off coupon = 20.47 new subtotal + $1.80 sales tax = $22.27 – 19.98 in rebates = 2.29.
-Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store at any retailer

How I got over $1,400.00 worth of Christmas Gifts for Free!

In this article I will outline the details of how I got over $1,400 worth of Christmas gifts for free. Many, but not all, of these gifts are pictured above (not all items are pictured below either). You may have read a similar post from last year when I got over $300 worth of Christmas gifts for free. This year I was a little more organized and experienced, and I started the task a little bit earlier. Last year I started on Black Friday. This year, I started gathering freebies for Christmas in September.

My first resource of freebies is a passive source of income from Cafe Press. Actually Free (this blog and website) emphasizes freebies that are actually free, meaning there is no monetary requirement to obtain the freebie. This is important because there are many marketing strategies which use the word “free” but actually get consumers to spend more. I’m very conscious of this and I downright refuse to let any promotion trick me into spending more than I would have spent otherwise. While some freebies don’t require any monetary output, they all require time (again, I started gathering these freebies in September). A passive source of income is considered to be actually free when there are no start-up costs for establishing the passive income. In some cases I might even consider passive income to be free once the start up costs are met because the rest is gravy, and by definition a passive form of income provides a stream of money that doesn’t require time once it is established. Cafe Press is an online T-Shirt and printing store that pays a commission to designers. It is easy to become a designer. All you have to do is sign up for a free account, open your own Cafe Press store and start submitting designs. Once the design is submitted it not only appears in your store but in the Cafe Press market place. So the design is available to all visitors of Cafe Press. I use free image resources for my designs, such as OpenClipart.org. All images at OpenClipart.org are in the public domain unless specifically stated. This means that they are free of copyright. When submitting designs to Cafe Press, it is important not to used copyrighted or trademarked material. Not only is it illegal, but Cafe Press is very good about removing it. Trust me, even when you didn’t realize you were violating a copyright or trademark, they’ll remove it. I also use a free image editor (Sumo Paint) to create my designs in addition to the tools they already have on Cafe Press. Since there were no start up costs, the images are free, and the image editing software is free, Cafe Press provides a passive source of income that is actually free. Once my designs are submitted, I get a commission every time an item with my design makes a sale. I don’t do any marketing or order fulfillment. I just submit the designs, wait for them to sell, and receive my commissions. There are many other ways to establish a passive income online that don’t require image design. Anything that can be distributed electronically has a potential for income. This includes text, photography, computer graphics, software, music, etc.

So far this year I’ve received $251.71 in commissions from Cafe Press. It’s not enough to support a family. But it’s enough to supplement the Christmas budget every year, especially when it can be stretched into $1,400+. More commissions are due, especially since sales increase during the holidays, but Cafe Press holds on to it for a while in cases of returns and exchanges. For this article, I’ll only consider the commissions I’ve already received. Out of the $251.71, I’m saving 20% for income taxes, which I will pay when taxes are due in April. I’m keeping this money until taxes are due because I can earn interest off of it instead of giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. When I say “I’m saving”, I mean it in the literal sense, not the commercial or marketing sense. I’m keeping it in an account until I need it. That is what “saving” is. When retailers tell you that you’re “saving” by shopping with them and getting good deals, you’re not actually saving, you’re spending. You might be able to say that you’re “spending less” in some instances, which is the phrase that I’ll be using for the rest of this article. But one of the steps of becoming an extreme saver is to recognize when retailers are trying to trick you and avoid it. After taxes, I’m left with $201.38 in Cafe Press commissions.

$251.73 – $50.35 estimated taxes = 201.38

My first gift for the season is to donate 10% of my income to Charity. I calculate this from gross income.

$201.38 – $25.17 charitable contribution = $176.20

This $176.20 in passive income commissions creates a nice buffer for all the other freebie strategies listed below. If I didn’t have this buffer, then some of the items listed below would not have actually been free. However, many of them were actually free without the buffer and a couple of them even paid me. Many of the items below were marketed as “free after rebate”. This means that after buying the item, a rebate can be requested by mail that equals the sales price. However, the rebate doesn’t usually cover sales tax. And it certainly doesn’t cover the postage required for requesting the rebate. For all items listed below, I tried to detail what the other costs of obtaining that freebie would have been. In the case of rebates, stamps are $0.45 for each rebate, and envelopes are $0.03 each. Some items that were free after rebate were actually free after two rebates, so they required two stamps and two envelopes.

If I wanted to add to my buffer, I might have included the cash back that I receive from using my credit card. With the particular credit card that I have, once I accumulate a minimum of $100 in cash back rewards I can request a check. This year I could have requested a check over $300. I have some points of advice when it comes to rewards programs which I state over and over again. One, avoid getting too many credit cards because too many lines of credit can negatively affect your credit score. I also considered getting a frequent flyer credit card so that I could claim some points I had accumulated from flights for prizes. These prizes, such as an Amazon gift card or restaurant gift cards, would have made excellent Christmas gifts. However, I hesitated to do that because the cost of it affecting my credit score can outweigh the prizes. Generally keep the number of lines of credit that you have to 5. This includes credit cards, loans, mortgages, car payments, or anything that you owe. So if you have a house payment and a car payment, don’t get more than 3 credit cards. There are many rewards programs that don’t require credit cards; be weary of the ones that do. The second point of advice that I have for rewards programs and credit cards is to never carry a balance. If you carry a balance on a credit card, the amount that you owe in interest will outweigh any cash back, prizes or freebies. When I use my credit card it is only for planned purchases which I can back up with cash. I pay the balance off every month so I don’t accrue interest and still collect the cash back reward. The third point of advice that I have for rewards programs is to forget that you’re participating in a rewards program while you’re shopping. The rewards program itself should never influence you into making a purchase that you wouldn’t make without the rewards program. Then once you’ve accumulated enough points to claim cash back or prizes, it’s a nice bonus.

One other difference between this article and last year’s article is that I’m calculating the total worth of these gifts based as closely as I can to the retail value. I didn’t have a reliable way of calculating the fair market value, especially since they may have a value, but I got them all for free. (You really only need to know the difference between a suggested retail value and a fair market value if you win a prize that is worth enough to be taxable. All of the items below were either paid with after-tax money or the fine print of the prize stated that the monetary value of it was less than 1/100th of a cent).

After Cafe Press Commissions, the first resource of freebies was Sears Apparel Outlet. Sears Apparel Outlet ran their Free Apparel Tuesday promotion for most of the year. As far as I know they started during the holiday season last year and ran it almost every Tuesday through the end of September of 2012. If I had noticed that they continued the promotion after Christmas, I probably would have gone more often and received more freebies. Free Apparel Tuesday at Sears Apparel Outlet offered one free piece of apparel per customer. There was no purchase requirement, and there was no sales tax since a percentage of zero is zero. The promotion was only offered at Apparel Outlets and not Sears Appliance Outlets or other Sears-owned stores. The locations for Sears Apparel Outlets are sparse, so this promotion was generally only good for those who live within reasonable driving distance. Here are the freebies that I received:

Dress shirt, regularly $10 outlet price and $35 retail price.
Dress shirt, regularly $10 outlet price and $35 retail price.
Dress pants, regularly $13 outlet price and $40 retail price.
Jeans (non-Levi’s according to the promotion rules), regularly $13 outlet price and $40 retail price.
Total Value $150 from Sears Apparel Outlet. Cafe Press Buffer $176.20

Those of us who have benefited from Free Apparel Tuesdays at Sears Apparel Outlet watched and watched for the promotion to return after it ended in September. Throughout the holidays I thought they’d bring it back. I thought they’d bring it back the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and every Tuesday in December, but they didn’t. By about December 21st I was beginning to think they wouldn’t bring it back at all, but I noticed an announcement on their facebook page stating that there would be a Free Apparel Day on Christmas Eve. I’ll do my best to attend if my schedule permits. This pattern makes me wonder if they won’t have the “free apparel” promotion as often in 2013. They might only bring it back for special occasions. One of those occasions will certainly be whenever they have a grand opening of a new branch, and it will only be available at that branch.

After Sears Apparel Outlet, we get into the rebates. The kicker with rebates is that you have to pay the money up front and then you get refunded about 6-8 weeks later. Items that are free after rebate (FAR) or free after mail in rebate (MIR) are also risky gifts since the recipient of the gift can’t return or exchange the item. Rebates require that the bar code be removed from packaging. Once that action is performed the store won’t accept it back. Generally, the major retailers that offer rebates are Newegg, Fry’s Electronics, and Tiger Direct, with occasional rebates from office stores like Staples and Office Depot. However, many other retailers had items for free after rebate during the holidays. Out of all these retailers, the best one to buy from is Newegg. That’s because Newegg almost always offers free shipping on these items, and when you buy from a retailer online they don’t charge sales tax unless the shipping address is in the same state(s) as their operation. In the case of Newegg, those states are California, New Jersey and Tennessee. Since they offer items for free after rebate, and since there is no shipping and no sales tax, these items are actually free. Newegg is also fantastic with their order fulfillment and their rebate fulfillment. The only drawback with Newegg rebates is that some of the rebates come in the form of a prepaid Visa card. These cards can have some limitations. A few places won’t accept them and if they’re not used within the first 6 months then a fee is charged (deducted from the amount on the card). In the past, I’ve never had trouble using them for unavoidable expenses such as gas and groceries. This way I’m able to use them; it doesn’t trick me into spending money I would not have spent otherwise; and I don’t forget to use them since I have to buy gas and groceries almost every week. The minute it arrives in the mail it goes in my wallet where my other payment cards are located and I use it as the first form of payment until its gone.

(Sorry its a little blurry)

Parallels AnchorFree HotSpot Shield, $35.01 – 35 mail in rebate = 0.01 (Rebate received)
AVG Antivirus, 1 user, 1 year, $20 – 20 mail in rebate = 0.00
AVG Internet Security, 3 PCs, 1 year, $45 – 45 mail in rebate = 0.00
Earbuds, 12 – 11.99 MIR = $0.01
Logitech H150 3.5mm Connector Supra-aural Stereo Headset – White, $10 – 10 mail in rebate = 0.00
Kensington Car Charger $11.99 – 10 mail in rebate = 1.99
Rebate postage: 6 rebates x (0.45 + 0.03) = $2.88
Total value from Newegg $134, Cafe Press Buffer $176.20 – $2.01 total prices after rebate – $2.88 postage = $171.31

The Kensington Car Charger is a good point of discussion since it wasn’t free. The rebate didn’t trick me into buying something I wouldn’t have purchased otherwise. I was specifically looking for a USB car charger as part of a package of iPad accessories that I was creating as a gift for my mother. This charger was the cheapest that I could find up to the time that I bought it. However, after I bought it, I found another one online for $1.95 at FastTech.com which didn’t require a rebate. I had no remorse for this since I didn’t find the deal in time to get it shipped before Christmas. However, the same weekend I also found one at Fry’s Electronics for $1.99. It would have been nice to get the same item without having to send in a rebate since I would have saved on postage. I also wouldn’t have had the risk of the rebate not getting fulfilled. (I’m still counting the retail value of the charger in the total value, although I know some brands regularly sell for $5 or less). I’ve made some other orders with FastTech.com and since they’re an off-shore retailer I will comment on this blog once the orders have been received. Shipping can take up to a month so I haven’t received these items yet, even though I’ve included them in the total calculations below.

After Newegg, the next best place to get items for free after rebate is Fry’s Electronics, if only for the sheer frequency of rebate offers. Fry’s Electronics only has 34 locations in 9 states, so these deals are only beneficial to those who live within reasonable driving distance. Since these purchases were made in-store, sales tax was applicable and it was not covered by the rebate.

Start, Run & Grow Your Business, $25 + 2.33 sales tax – 25 mail in rebate = 2.33 (rebate received)
Turbo FloorPlan 3D Home & Landscape Deluxe, $50 – 10 instant savings = 40 + 3.72 sales tax – 40 mail in rebate = 3.72 (rebate received)
WebEasy Professional 8, $40 – 5 instant savings = 35 + 3.26 sales tax – 10 mail in rebate – 25 mail in rebate = 3.26 (both rebates received)
Deluxe Will Creator, $25 + 3.33 sales tax – 15 mail in rebate – 10 mail in rebate = 3.33
Notebook Cooler, $7 + 0.65 sales tax – 7 mail in rebate = 0.65
Antec Microfiber cleaning Cloth, $2 + 0.19 tax – 2 mail in rebate = 0.19
SIIG WakeStylus, $6.49 + 0.60 – 5.50 mail in rebate = 0.99 + 0.6 = 1.59
Webster Medical dictionary software, $13.99 + 1.13 – 13.99 = 1.13
SIIG Cleaning Wipes, $5 + 0.41 – 5 MIR = 0.41 (Black Friday deal)
Uniden bluetooth headset, $10 + 0.81 – 10 MIR = 0.81 (Black Friday deal)
camera cleaning pen, $5 + 0.41 – 5 MIR = 0.41 (Black Friday deal)
All in one screen cleaner, $5 + 0.41 – 5 MIR = 0.41 (Black Friday deal)
Lens cleaning pen, $2 + 0.16 – 2 MIR = 0.16 (Black Friday deal)
Belkin surge protector, $11.50 + 0.93 – 11.50 MIR = 0.93 (Black Friday deal)
Swann Helicopter, $29.99 – 10.99 instant savings = 19 + 1.54 – 15 MIR = 4 + 1.54 (Black Friday deal)
Travel adapter, $5 + 0.47 – 5 MIR = 0.47 (Week after Thanksgiving)
iPad case, $15 + 1.4 – 15 MIR = 1.4 (Week after Thanksgiving)
Rebate postage: 19 rebates x (0.45 + 0.03) = $9.12
Total Value from Fry’s Electronics $257.97, Cafe Press Buffer $171.31 – $26.74 total price after rebate – $9.12 postage = $135.45

The sales tax varies because some purchases were made in a different state during Thanksgiving. Dollar Tree also sells a stylus product for $1 which I didn’t find until after purchasing the stylus listed above. I realize the Swann Remote Controlled Helicopter wasn’t “free after rebate”, but I knew I had the Cafe Press Buffer when I bought it and $4 for a remote control helicopter has got to be some kind of a record. Those things are usually $30 at least. And it’s not software or an electronics accessory like most freebies after rebate; its the actual item.

On another note, getting Will Creator software, probably isn’t a good gift for any one other than yourself if you happen to want it. I thought about giving this to my dad as a gag gift but didn’t know how well the joke would go over. The overwhelming majority of the items listed in this post made good gifts for others. That’s another difference between this article and last year’s article. Last year, I mostly only included gifts for myself and my son. This year it’s a little more spread out for other people. A lot of the smaller items, like the camera lens cleaners listed above or the hooks listed and pictured below, were excellent stocking stuffers.

The following items were free after rebate from Staples. Since they were purchased in-store the sales tax was applicable.

Command Damage-Free Hanging Hooks, $3 + 0.26 – 3 mail in rebate = 0.26 (rebate received)
Command Damage-Free Hanging Hooks, $3 + 0.26 – 3 mail in rebate = 0.26 (rebate received)
Pack of Pens,  $6 + 0.53 – 6 mail in rebate each = 0.53 (rebate recevied)
Pack of Pens,  $6 + 0.53 – 6 mail in rebate each = 0.53 (rebate recevied)
Ream of paper, $6.99 + 0.62 – 3 MIR – 3.99 MIR = 0.62
Ream of paper, Free (Should have been “free after rebate” but their register wasn’t printing receipts so they marked it down to a penney and gave it to me. This allowed me to go to another nearby branch to buy another ream of paper for “free after rebate”.)
Ream of paper, $6.99 + 0.62 – 6.99 MIR = 0.62
Rebate postage: 6 x (0.45 +0.03) = $2.88
Total value from Staples: $38.97, Cafe Press Buffer $135.45 – $2.82 price after rebates – $2.88 postage = $129.75.

When the rules of the rebate specified “only one per address”, I had my wife send a rebate request under her name and address and then I sent one under my name and my parent’s address. Since I had a different mailing address we were still following the rules and we both qualified for the rebate.

The following items were free after rebate from Big Lots.

4 packs Fuji batteries, 2 mail in rebate each, 8.74 – 8 MIR = 0.74
4 packs of Fuji batteries, 2 mail in rebate each, 8.74 – 8 MIR = 0.74
Rebate postage: 4 rebates x (0.45 stamp + 0.03 envelope) = $1.92
Total Value from Big Lots: $16, Cafe Press Buffer $129.75 – $1.48 total price after rebates – $1.92 = $126.35

Big Lots actually had two different battery promotions. My wife and I both participated in both promotions so that we’d have more batteries for electronics on Christmas. These particular rebates were a good demonstration of why it is important to read the fine print. The advertisement where these rebates were found only stated that the rebate was worth $2 for 1 pack of batteries. But the rebate form said that each person could buy 2 packs for up to a $4 rebate. They had multiple options: 4 pk of AA or AAA, or 2 pack of D or C, etc. We got 12 D batteries and 4 C batteries at a price of $0.09 per battery after rebate.

The following was free from Tiger Direct. Since I ordered the item online I had to pay for shipping but not sales tax.

Speakers, $20 – 20 MIR + 5.26 shipping = 5.26
Rebate postage 0.45 stamp + 0.03 envelope = $0.48
Total Value from Tiger Direct: $20. Cafe Press Buffer $126.35 – $5.26 shipping – $0.48 postage = $120.61

The following was free from Sears

Foldable snow brush, $14.99 – 1.50 instant savings + 1.19 tax – 14.99 MIR = (0.31)
Rebate postage: 2 x (0.45 stamp + 0.03 envelope) = $0.96
Total Value from Sears: $14.99, Cafe Press Buffer $120.61 + $0.31 – $0.96 postage = $119.34

This was one of the two deals that I found which paid me to get it. The “(0.31)” means I was paid 31 cents to get this free product (not counting postage). I got the instant savings because I ordered the product online during an additional promotion. I got free shipping because I ordered it online through an in-store kiosk. Sears has kiosks in the store to order products that aren’t in stock. When you use the in-store kiosk then shipping is free with no minimum purchase requirement.  The Rebate required a self-addressed stamped envelope which is why the postage was doubled.

The following was free from MacMall

USB Wall Charger 5.99 on sale – 9.99 MIR = ($4)
Rebate postage 0.45 + 0.03 = $0.48
Total value: $9.99, Cafe Press Buffer $119.34 + $4 – $0.48 = $122.86

This was the second deal I found which paid me to get it. If I had been more on track I would have had my wife buy one too.

The following was free from True Value

Air compressor, 14.99 + 1.32 sales tax – 15 MIR = 1.31
Rebate postage 0.45 + 0.03 = $0.48
Total value: $14.99, Cafe Press Buffer $122.86 – $1.31 price after rebate – $0.48 postage = $121.07

I almost missed this deal because they sold out by the time I discovered it. Usually “free after rebate” promotions are for software, small electronics accessories, and occasionally office supplies. Tools and automotive accessories are more rare. I was lucky enough to get this because I talked to the store owner even after they had sold out to see if there was anything he could do to help. He ordered the product for me and let me buy it that day so that the receipt would be dated within the rebate period. Since the store sale had also ended, it was no longer $14.99 but he still price adjusted it for me. It never hurts to ask and it often even helps. In this case, it also helped that the business model for True Value is different. Since it is an independently-owned franchise, the head boss was available on site and he had the authority to make that decision. I wouldn’t have been able to do that at a place like Staples because corporate probably wouldn’t allow it.

That about does it for the stuff that was free after rebate. There were a couple of times where I could have avoided the rebate as mentioned above, but I found that out too late. The next set of freebies was available from Black Friday promotions. In order to get these promotions, I had to buy a newspaper to gain access to the Black Friday Ads.

Black Friday Freebies:

Stein Mart had a scratch and win gift card directly on their Black Friday ad. I won $10. Most Black Friday promotions were something like “$10 free with every $50 purchase”. But this wasn’t. There was no minimum purchase requirement. I could have purchased anything in the store for exactly $10 and avoided sales tax since 0% of zero is zero. It just so happened that I needed ties and ties were on sale for Black Friday for 5.96 ea, regularly $12 each (value of $24). I looked around at other clothes stores, and even $12 is a good deal since most ties were $20 – $25 each.
$5.96 x 2 = $12.08 – $10 gift card = $2.08.

Sports Authority gave out gift cards to a select number of first people in line. One of those customers won $500. Unfortunately that wasn’t me. I won $10, and after 3 hours waiting to be first in line, I can tell you that the cards are randomized. I got a camping chair that was on sale for Black Friday and a kids’ game that was on clearance. 12.50 Chair – 6 Black friday reduction + $5.97 game – 5 clearance reduction – $10 gift card for waiting in line = $0 the way it was charged. I actually had another $2.53 that I could have used which the clerk didn’t tell me about. I thought I was actually going to pay extra because the kids game on clearance was marked incorrectly.

Toys”R”Us gave a bag of goodies “worth $30” to a select number of the first people in line. The “$30″ value was somewhat of a generous estimate in my oppinion. The bag contained a coloring book, crayons, water bottle, a small Lego pack, and other small toys. These were good stocking stuffers and small gifts for my kids and my sister’s kids.

Costco gave out a Cook Book to all members while supplies lasted on Black Friday. When I went to get this I thought it would just be a little booklet, but it was actually a really nice book that can be a decent additional gift for my wife on Christmas. $10 value at least.

If you want to learn more about these offers and other Black Friday freebies, read the Black Friday Freebies Post.

Total Value from Black Friday Freebies: $70.47. Cafe Press Buffer $121.07 – $3 newspaper – 2.08 difference in price for ties = 115.99

As usual, the holiday promotions didn’t end with Black Friday. Here were some additional freebies that I found throughout December:

Banana Republic had a “12 Days” promotion. On Dec 4, I received two vouchers to see the new movie Les Miserables. In order to get these without making a purchase I had to ask for them, and I had to specifically ask for an extra one for my wife or the clerk only would’ve given me one. A lot of people would feel uncomfortable asking, but if you want freebies, sometimes you have to take courage and swallow your pride. The vouchers were good for up to $10 each for a total value of $20. I could say that these vouchers are only worth the price of a movie ticket in Arizona where I’ll see the movie. However, despite what the fine print says, I’ve heard that the theater will apply the remaining amount to the next ticket. This means that my wife and I could use one voucher and pay the difference to get two matinee tickets. I’ve also heard that the voucher can be used for any movie, so we’re going to try to get the full $10-worth out of each voucher. On December 5th, I received a free sample bag of gourmet popcorn, which will be good stocking stuffer for my son and should be worth at least 50 cents. On December 6th I received two Giradelli bit-size chocolate samples, which should also be good stocking stuffers and should at least be worth 25 cents each for a total of 50 cents. The popcorn would probably cost $1.50 and the chocolate would probably cost $1 if you were to buy them in the mall. But we’ll stick with $1 total. When I was explaining some of these freebies to my family, they asked if it was worth the drive to Banana Republic each day to get freebies that are only worth about 50 cents each. My reply was “yes” because I happened to be passing by. I didn’t spend the gas to drive there just for that purpose when the freebie was so small. There is no way to actually calculate how much gas I spent getting all the these freebies. I considered it to be negligible if the store/freebie was in route to somewhere I was already going. The same philosophy applied to the JC Penney buttons described below.

JC Penney had a buttons promotion that ran from Black Friday to Christmas Eve. On any day you could go into a JC Penney store and ask for buttons with no purchase requirement. The rule was two per customer per day, but there were ways around that which I’ll explain in a minute. Once obtaining the buttons, you could go online to the JC Penney website to enter the codes that were on a sticker on the back of the button. There were various prizes available, but most of the time the prize was a $5 certificate or $10 certificate which could be used in the store. If the item you purchased matched the price of the certificate then there was no sales tax. I came up with a couple ways of getting more than two buttons a day. This only helped not to have to drive to JC Penney every day since only two codes could be entered online each day. (Again, I would only stop by JC Penney when I was already in route to do something else). One way to get more than two buttons from a clerk was to buy something. I was resolved to only get stuff for free so in my case this only happened when I was redeeming certificates. On another occasion I had my cute red-headed 3-year-old son with me. The clerk took one look at him and gave me a handful of buttons. On other occasions I got more than two by waiting in line. I know in the clerk’s mind it didn’t seem fair to only get two if I was waiting in line for them. It also helped that I politely asked for “some buttons please”. I thinking using the word “some”, not “my” or “my two”, and using the word “please” prompted the clerk to give me a handful. Between Black Friday and Christmas Eve I obtained 62 buttons. Out of those buttons I won a total of $65 ($5, $10, $5, $5, $10, $5, $10, $10, $5) in certificates. The fine print says they’re not supposed to be combined. However, on every occasion the sales clerk was willing and able to price adjust the products so that I could get what I wanted without having to pay extra and without having to buy items priced at only $5 or $10. If they weren’t able to price adjust the products then I would have only purchased $5 or $10 items because I was resolved not to let this promotion trick me into spending money.

Total Value of December Promotions: $86. Cafe Press buffer remains at $115.99

Here are some other freebies that I received (coupons, yard sales, other promotions):

A baby play mat from a Yard Sale. One way to get freebies from yard sales is to go at the very end of the sale when the host is anxious to get rid of everything that remains. My wife and I happened to be passing by at the end of a yard sale when we were on a walk with our son. All we had to do was show interest in this play mat and they gave it to us. (It also helped that we were well-acquainted with our neighbors). This is a perfect gift for our baby and it is like new – clean and without a single defect. A similar play mat was on sale at Target on Black Friday for $20; regularly it’s $40. At another yard sale I also found a Black & Decker car vacuum. It was brand new, still in the box. It had a label from Ross (which itself is discounted down from retail) for $19.99 and they sold it to me for $5 (a substantial mark down and free for me with the Cafe Press Buffer).

Coupons for 2 free ice cream cones at a local ice cream shop. I received these with reward points at RecycleBank.com and they’ll make nice stocking stuffers. There is no price marked on the coupon, but I’ll estimate at a value of $3. RecycleBank is an excellent way to stay “green”-conscious and get other similar freebies.

A coupon for free windshield wiper blades and a free 9 point road trip evaluation valued at $65.25. I received this coupon as part of a MADD promotion in conjunction with a local car shop (Desert Car Care Center in Arizona). In order to receive it, I had to sign a pledge saying that I wouldn’t drive drunk or let any friends or family drive drunk and that I would wear a seat belt when I drive. Signing this pledge was not a problem for me since I never drink alcohol. (UPDATE/CORRECTION: The “9 point road trip evaluation” was actually $9. I could have just taken the free windshield wiper blades but I actually needed the road trip evaluation, so the $9 can be subtracted from the remaining buffer below as well as the total value of all the freebies calculated below.)

2 free Christmas baby bibs from Babies “R” Us. The coupon I used was sent to email subscribers, but I actually found it on a deals website online. My wife and I both claimed a free bib. We kept one for our baby and will give one to my nephew. They’re valued at $4.99 each for a total of $9.98.

A thit! T-shirt from thit.com. Thit will be a new social network that will launch in 2013. In order to gain attention and momentum, they’re giving away T-shirts. It’s a good quality shirt, but not much of a gift since no one knows what it is yet, so I’ll give it an estimated value of $2 with the potential of it’s value to increase as thit increases in popularity.

Total value of other freebies from coupons, yard sales and other promotions: $140.22. Cafe Press Buffer 115.99 – $5 for car vacumm = 110.99.

Even more gravy from the Cafe Press Buffer (other extreme deals):

I could easily just subtract the remaining Cafe Press commissions from the rest of the items I purchased for Christmas and say that some of those items were free. Last year, I actually mentioned which items I was counting to make the post look a little more exciting. This year I won’t do that with the items I had to pay full price for, but I will include some other fantastic deals that I found. These deals allowed my buffer, which I considered free money for my Christmas budget, to go much, much farther.

Metroid the Other M for Wii. I bought two of these 5.88 each by Price Matching a Big Lots Black Friday ad at Walmart. This game is regularly $49! I wish I would have thought this one out more completely. I would have purchased every Metroid they had and possibly gone to another Walmart and purchased all their copies. Then I would have traded them for other games or sold them on eBay for profit. I potentially could have had any Wii game, or any $50 product for $5.88. I could have purchased every Christmas gift I needed for my wife, siblings, parents, kids, etc. for $5.88 each. (5.88 x 2 = 11.76 + 0.95 sales tax = 12.71, regularly $98 + $7.94 sales tax).
Buffer 110.99 – 12.71 = 98.28

8 Movie vouchers to see Parental Guidance valued at $13 each. A movie voucher was awarded at Smart & Final grocery stores for a qualifying purchase of 2 or more First Street brand baking products. For each voucher I bought 2 boxes of baking soda for 0.75 each. So $1.53 bought 2 boxes of baking soda and a movie voucher worth $13. (1.53 sales tax incuded x 8 = $12.24, valued at $13 x 8 = $104). We will try using the complete value of these vouchers by splitting them into two matinee tickets and using them for other movies as mentioned with the Les Miserables tickets above. 6 of these vouchers were given to family members for Christmas and part of the gift was that we’d all go to the movie together.
Buffer 98.28 – 12.24 = 86.04

Kodak all-in-one printer for $14.97 on clearance at Sears ($14.97 + 1.21 = 16.18). Regularly $80 at the Kodak store. The super reduction in price was due to the fact that it was last year’s model.
Buffer 86.04 – 16.18 = 69.86

Just Dance 3 for Wii for 7.99. I used a Best Buy Black Friday ad and price matched at Walmart. This game is regularly $39.96. (7.99 + 0.65 sales tax = 8.64, regularly $39.96 + 3.24 sales tax = $43.20)
Buffer 69.86 – 8.64 = 61.22

2 Hand-cranked USB chargers. The first was $0 + $5 shipping. The second was $2.27 with free shipping at FastTech.com. There was no sales tax for either since I ordered them online. This is an interesting demonstration of the different price strategies that can be used online. Even if a product is free it can still be more expensive than buying somewhere else if the shipping fee is inflated. These probably have a retail value of at least $5 each. The second one was just a good deal. (total value $10).
Buffer 61.22 – 7.27 = 53.95

3 Wii accessories for 0.99 each at 99 Cents Only store. The accessories included a rechargeable battery for the Wii board and two upgraded grip covers for the Wii remote. The grip covers could easily go for $5 each at a game store and the battery is estimated at $15 (0.99 x 3 = 2.97 + 0.36 = 3.33).
Buffer 53.95 – 3.33 = 50.62

2 Touch styluses from Dollar Tree, Styluses could range from $2-$15. These particular ones are probably valued at about $5 each due to their brand and the way they’re packaged (2 x $1 = $2 + 0.16 sales tax = 2.16, valued at $10).
Buffer 50.62 – 2.16 = 48.46

USB wall charger & screen protector, $4.16 at FastTech.com. A similar wall charger is 9.84 at Walmart. A similar screen protector is $14.88 ($4.16 total spent, valued at $24.72).
Buffer 48.46 – 4.16 = 44.30

Two Jeans from Old Navy on Black Friday for $15 each, regularly $29.50 each (15 x 2 = 30 + 2.43 sales tax = 32.43, regularly 29.50 x 2 = 59 + 4.78 sales tax = 63.78).
Buffer 44.30 – 32.43 = 11.87

Total value of other extreme deals items listed above: 450.68. Remaining Cafe Press Commissions: $11.87.

That brings the grand total value of all the freebies above to:

25.17 charitable contribution +
150 from Sears Apparel Outlet +
134 Newegg +
257.97 Fry’s Electronics +
38.97 Staples +
16 Big Lots +
20 Tiger Direct +
9.99 MacMall +
14.99 True Value +
14.99 Sears +
70.47 Black Friday Freebies +
86 December Promotions +
140.22 coupons, yard sales, and other promotions
450.68 other other extreme deals +
11.87 remaining Cafe Press Commissions

= $1441.32

Granted, there are a lot of rebates still pending. In order to get many of these freebies I had to pay over $500 out of pocket for items that were free after rebate with the risk that some rebates will never be honored for whatever reason. By law a company has to honor the rebate, but some still don’t. I’ve generally had a very high success rate with rebates because I’m very “type A” at keeping them organized. I write down each item for which I’m expecting a rebate; I usually send in the rebate the day I buy the item or the day it arrives in the mail; I keep customer service numbers and tracking numbers to keep track of my rebates; I read all the fine print to make sure I’m following the rules. If you can’t be “type A” or rigidly organized about it, then don’t accept free after rebate offers. You’ll just end up paying for the item out of pocket. And people like that are one of the reasons whey people like me can get freebies. They make it lucrative for companies to offer the rebate.

 

Here are some freebies that I missed:

$2 worth of items at Sports Authority. I mentioned above that I didn’t use the whole $10 gift card at Sports Authority. I would have taken hand warmers as stocking stuffers for my wife since her hands are always cold. They were $1 each.

Brave DVD/Blu Ray combo. These were on sale for $8.96 each at Walmart on Black Friday. That alone is a smokin’ good deal, since a Disney/Pixar movie is usually $20-$30. All the Walmart Black Friday copies were claimed within the first 15 minutes of their Black Friday sale. I would have purchased 2 had I made it through chaotic mass if hysteria to get to that end of the store in time. One would have been for my family and one for my sister-in-law. I would have used a $10 MIR mail in rebate from Kellogs and a $6 off coupon that I got in a Disney Rewards email. The $10 mail in rebate required a purchase of 2 Kellog’s cereal boxes. They were on sale during Black Friday weekend at 2 for $5 at Dollar General. Without sales tax, here is what my total would have been for two of the Brave DVD/Blu Ray Combo packs and two boxes of Kellog’s Cereal: (8.96 x 2) + 5 – 10 – 6 = 6.92, with a total value of about $50. I wasn’t too bummed about this since my family doesn’t like Brave as much as we liked Cars 2 last year. Next year I’ll be watching for a similar deal for Disney/Pixar’s new movie Planes.

Cabella’s Black Friday Freebies. Cabellas was offering door prizes to the first 500 people in line. I would have waited in line hoping to get either a smoker cooker or binoculars, but I wasn’t in close enough proximity to any of their branches to make the drive worth it. They were also offering a rifle, $500 gift cards and other prizes.

Life of Pi movie tickets. On Black Friday weekend World Market was giving away tickets for the movie Life of Pi to a certain number of first customers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I would have gone Friday and Saturday to get two tickets so that my wife and I could go together.

Lufkin Self-Centering 25′ tape measure. This tape measure was offered for free after rebate at Ace Hardware on Black Friday.

Mario Wii U from Old Navy on Black Friday. This game was offered to a select number of first customers at Old Navy. My wife went to Old Navy and waited two hours in line to make her purchases. If she had waited in line two hours before the store opened, instead of two hours in the register line to make her purchases, then she probably would have received the game. We don’t have a Wii U, but we could have traded it for Wii games.

An iPad messenger bag was free after $15 mail in rebate at Fry’s electronics. You may have noticed that I purchased a lot of iPad accessories above. Since I knew my mother was getting an iPad as a gift from someone else, this messenger bag would have been a perfect addition to the package of accessories that I was forming for her.

Thumb drives at Directron.com. A 4 GB thumb drive was free after $6.99 mail in rebate and a 8GB thumb drive was free after $9.99 mail in rebate.

Clothes at ThredUp.com. ThredUp is an online used clothes store for kids. I discovered a $15 off any purchase coupon code and a coupon code for free shipping. The only reason I didn’t get this was because I missed the deadline.

A Continental Electric Steam Iron and Continental Electric Toaster were both free after $20 mail in rebate at Tiger Direct only on 12/16. On this particular day Tiger Direct had free shipping. I was too late finding this deal. This was the first time I’ve ever seen kitchen items or home appliances for free after rebate.

Hasbro KRE-0 Micro Changers Figure was free with a coupon from SmartSource coupon circulars. If I had caught this in time to prepare, I would have received up to 3 figurines with two coupons and a buy 2 get 1 free promotion at Walgreens.

Travel Wallet valued at $5-$15. I ordered this online from a luggage company who was giving them away but never I received it.

 

Here are some other Ways to Spend Less during the Holidays:

Request free samples for stocking stuffers. They come in the perfect little sizes for stockings and you can get anything from cereal to cologne. Start requesting free samples either by mail or online in October to be sure they arrive before Christmas.

Take half of your kids Halloween candy on Halloween night and keep it for stockings. You can even tell them that it’s your fee for taking them trick-or-treating and getting half is better than nothing. Part of the effectiveness of this will depend on your kids- how much candy they actually get and how well they remember that you took the candy will be factors. This would have worked with my nieces. Their bags of candy were so full that my sister (their mother) could have taken half and it still would’ve been a lot of candy for post-Halloween and a lot of candy for stockings. Also in their minds they probably wouldn’t connect the two events since Halloween is two months before Christmas. I would particularly like this idea as a parent because I have no reservations about limiting how much candy my children will eat. My kids just aren’t old enough yet for me to try this. But rest assured, when they get enough candy for Halloween I will try this. Especially since stocking stuffers were my biggest expense this holiday season. All those little items add up.

Make home-made coupons. These don’t reduce how much you will spend overall, but it does help to spread out the expenses so that you’re less swamped during Christmas. If you barely make it within your budget after you buy the kids’ gifts, then give each other coupons which can come out of your January and February budgets. Coupons are also a good embodiment of service gifts which can’t be packaged or wrapped any other way. For example, my wife wanted a salon appointment and a registration fee for a half marathon for Christmas. She probably would have spent this money anyway so its nice to make it into an extra gift that she can open or discover in her stocking.

Consider other items besides candy or holiday-packaged candy for stocking stuffers. Items like Little Debbie Snacks and fruit snacks fill more space in the stocking and they cost the same or even cheaper than holiday candy.

Buy items for “free after rebate” whether you need them or not and then sell them on eBay for a profit. You’d have to be clear in the description that the packaging is damaged and/or that it’s missing the bar code (which you removed in order to claim the rebate). Then use that profit to buy what you want. There was a graduate student in the news who does this on a regular basis and pays for his tuition.

 

It’s been a fun and adventurous holiday. I had a pretty significant increase in holiday freebies this year ($1450.86 compared to last year’s $298.50). I’m not sure I’ll have that much of an increase next year, but I guess we’ll see. The goal is more to get good gifts for others on Christmas and stay within my budget. If I wanted to get more rebate items or other freebies that I didn’t need just to increase the total value calculation, then I could have.  In Microsoft Word, this post is over 18 pages long. If you’ve made it to the end, I thank you for reading and staying interested. Although most of the offers listed in this post are expired, I hope this information can be a good reference to help all readers learn strategies for getting freebies so that they can save their budget both during the Holidays and throughout the year. Merry Christmas!

Free Stuff Friday, December 21, 2012

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, December 21, 2012. Here are today’s freebies:

I Rocks Technology AC / USB Power Adapter for iPod/iPhone, $5.51 – $9.99 mail in rebate = (4.48). This isn’t just free, it pays you $4.48 to get it! No sales tax unless you live in a state where they operate. Shipping is free 3-7 days. (Won’t arrive by Christmas with free shipping)

Newegg:
-QFX H-101 3.5mm Connector Wood Stereo Earbuds, Free after $12 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-Logitech H150 3.5mm Connector Supra-aural Stereo Headset – White, Free after $10 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-NUANCE PDF Converter 8.0, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-Panda Security Global Protection 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-SmithMicro StuffIt Deluxe, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-SmithMicro Poser Debut, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-TREND MICRO Titanium Internet Security 2013 -3 User, Free after $55 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete 2013 – 5 Devices, Free after $55 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-AVG Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-AVG PC TuneUp – 3 PCs, Free after $25 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 Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $30 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-SmithMicro Manga Studio Debut 4.0, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-SmithMicro Voila, Free after $25 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 8, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-iolo System Mechanic – Unlimited PCs (install it on all your home PCs), Free after $37 mail in rebate in the form of a check.
-Total Defense PC Tune-Up, Free after $35 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 User, Free after $50 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card.
-Standard Free Shipping on all items (won’t arrive by Christmas). No Sales tax unless you live in one of their four states of operation. Prepaid cards have some limitations. Be sure to read the fine print with each offer.

Sears Apparel Outlet is having a Free Apparel Day on Christmas Eve! Get one free piece of apparel. The coupon will be posted on their facebook page.

Fry’s Electronics:
-Inland 33002 AC Charger, Free after $6 mail in rebate
-Uniden Bluetooth Headset, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-Titanium Internet Security 2013, 3 PCs, Free after $60 mail in rebate
-SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 9, Free after $40 mail in rebate
-Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013, 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail in rebate
-Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 5.0, Free after $25 mail in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-Laplink PC Mover Ultimate, Free after $35 mail in rebate
-SmithMicro Digital TV for PC 2, Free after $25 mail in rebate
-Berlitz Spanish Premier (and 6 other languages), Free after $20 mail in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Platinum Edition, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Encore Virtual DJ, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-“Over 60 [software] titles free after qualifying mail in rebate”
-Many titles with “competitive upgrade rebates”. This means you have to have the previous version for the upgrade to be free.
-Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store. Free store pickup available when purchasing online.
-See their ad, pages 4, 5, 8, 9.

Koolatron  Folding Snowbrush at Sears, Free after $14.99 mail in rebate, get it delivered via store pickup for free.

Tiger Direct:
-Total Defense TDUSCDTDCCUE Unlimited Internet Security – Monthly Subscription, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 Devices, Annual Subscription, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Total Defense Internet Security Suite Software – 3 Devices, Free after $70 mail in rebate
-Total Defense PC Tune-Up Software – 3 Devices, Free after $60 mail in rebate
-OfficeWork Creative Essentials Software – Includes MuveeNow, Anime Studio 6 And TrueKatShow, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Shipping applies when purchasing online. Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store.

Ikea Freebies:
-Monday: Free breakfast until 11 am.
-Tuesday: Kids eat free
-Wednesday: Free dessert
-Kids Eat Free at Ikea between Wednesday, December 26 through Tuesday, January 1. No adult purchase required. (according to a local ad in Tempe, AZ)

Free Screening of Parental Guidance on Dec 22. In select cities and while supplies last. Free registration at GoFobo is required.

Free Tart Sample offer from Scents by Rose. (not tested by Actually Free)

Free USA Philatelic Catalog. “For stamp enthusiasts”. The USPS also offers free shipping supplies.

Free Decal from All Sport Gifts. (not tested by Actually Free)

Free Military Care Package for members of the military from Scion.

Free 2 Liter Bottle of Coke from Aisle50. (not tested by Actually Free).

JC Penney’s button promotion will continue until December 24th. (scroll down to see the rules) No purchase required to get buttons. You can enter up to two button codes a day until 12/24 to potentially win prizes. Most prizes have to be claimed by Dec 31.

Bass Pro Shops Free Photo with Santa and Free Crafts and Activities for kids will continue until December 24th.

Shell Rotella T Triple Protection OR Shell Rotella T5 heavy duty motor oil potentially free after $4 mail in rebate. If you can find either of those products for $4 or less at a Flying J/Pilot Station, then a $4 rebate form can be found in Pilot Challenge Magazine, which is also free this month (at least the magazine was free at their Kingman, AZ branch). Exp 12/31/12.

FYI: If you want to buy something online, its a little too late to get it by Christmas via standard shipping. The official “free shipping day” this year was Dec 17. Sorry I didn’t have it posted on this blog but I found out too late. Free Shipping day is a day where many online retailers make shipping free, many with no minimum purchase requirements, in order to encourage online shoppers to buy so that it can arrive by Christmas via standard shipping. Tomorrow is the Saturday before Christmas and Monday is Christmas Eve. Those are both big sales days and some retailers may offer other freebies to top off their holiday sales volume. Look for local ads that say things like “free gift, no purchase required” or “$10 off $10″.

On the note of shipping and holiday shopping, Actually Free thanks all the workers in the mailing industry and retail industry for the work that they do this time of year. You are all Santa’s elves and you’ve saved Christmas.

Free Stuff Friday, December 14, 2012

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, December 14, 2012. Here are today’s freebies:

Last Wednesday’s post featured a coupon at Bon Ton stores and affiliates for $10 off any item $10 or more. If the item is exactly $10 then it will be free with no sales tax since a percentage of zero is zero.

New users making a purchase at ThredUp can get $15 off any order with coupon code: HOLIDAY15. THIS EXPIRES TODAY 12/14. Use the code SHIPDEC12 to get free shipping. ThredUp is a used clothes store for kids. If you want to clear out your closet and help your holiday budget even more, you can sell used clothing to them.

Free $10 gift card at the MLB.com shop for adding the Wrapp app to your facebook account. (There is at least one item that is less than $10). Free 2-day shipping. No sales tax unless the order is shipped to one of their 4 states of operation.

$10 off $10 or more + free shipping at Fannie May with coupon code: 10012. The code does not apply to items on sale and can only be used once per order. (No product was found for $10. Beware not to let this coupon code trick you into spending more.)

Email subscribers to DSW Shoes are receiving a coupon code for $10 off $10 purchases. There are a few items for $10 or less. Use the code FREE2SHIP to get free shipping with no minimum purchase. (Not tested by Actually Free)

Use Old Navy’s “Snap Appy” smartphone app to potentially win a $5 off $5 purchase coupon at Old Navy stores.

JC Penney’s button promotion continues until Christmas Eve. No purchase is necessary to obtain the buttons.

Bass Pro Shops continues with their Christmas events, Free Photos with Santa and Free Crafts and Activities for Kids.

Free After Rebate from Staples, 12/16 – 12/22
-McAfee Total Protection 2013 Free After $68 MIR
-Staples photo supreme 8.5″ x 11″ paper, double-sided matte, 50/pack, Free after $14.99 mail in rebate
-Also if you’re on the Staples email list then watch for Staples 8.5″ x 11″ Copy Paper Select, 500 sheets, which is $3.99 after $3 rebate, but they may send another $3.99 rebate by email
-See their ad.

Office Depot until 12/15, and again 12/16 – 12/22, McAfee Total Protection 2013, 1 user, Free after $52 mail in rebate
Office Depot, 12/16 – 12/22, McAfee Internet Security for 3 PCs, Free after $60 mail in rebate
See the ads.

Free USB power adapter plus free $4 from MacMall. Buy the adapter at MacMall for 5.99 + free shipping, then claim the $9.99 mail in rebate. In other words, you get paid $4 to order this free USB adapter!

Free After Rebate from Newegg.com
-ARCTIC MX4 Thermal Paste – 4gram, Free after $14.99 mail in rebate in the form of a card, expires today, 12/14
-SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 8, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check, expires 12/20
-Symantec Norton Antivirus 2013 – 1 PC, Free after $35 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card, expires 12/18
-McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $55 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card, expires 12/20
-AVG AntiVirus 2013 – 3 PC, Free after $25 mail in rebate in teh form of a prepaid card, expires 12/20
-Panda Security Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $30 mail in rebate in the form of a check, expires 12/20
-TREND MICRO Titanium AntiVirus 2013 – 3 User, Free after $40 mail in rebate in teh form of a prepaid card, expires 12/18

Free After Rebate from Tiger Direct
-Total Defence Unlimited Subscription, Free after $20 mail in rebate, expires 12/31
-Total Defence Premium Internet Security, Free after $50 mail in rebate, expires 12/31
-Total Defence Internet Security Suite Software – 3 Devices, Free after $70 mail in rebate, expires 12/31
-OfficeWork Creative Essentials Software – Includes MuveeNow, Anime Studio 6 And TrueKatShow, Free after $20 mail in rebate, expires 12/31
-Belkin Silicon case for iPad, Free, no rebate required, may require another purchase if shopping cart doesn’t process a $0 order, any of the rebates above should work
-Sales tax applies when you purchase in-store, shipping fee applies when you purchase online

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics
-SIIG Ultra Portable Screen Cleaning Kit Cloth & Cleaning Solution, Free after $3 mail in rebate
-Search and Recover 5- 3 PCs, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2013-1 PC, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Kaspersky Pure Version 2.0 – 3 PCs – 1 Year Subscription, Free after $60 mail in rebate
-Webroot Antivirus 2013 – 3PCs, Free after $35 mail in rebate
-PARTITION COMMANDER & PERFECT IMAGE BUNDLE, Free after $30 mail in rebate and $25 mail in rebate
-McAfee Internet Sec 2013- 3 PCs, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Poser Debut, Free after $40 mail in rebate
-MyLabel Designer Deluxe 8.0, Free after $15 mail in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-Hallmark Scrapbook Studio Deluxe 3.0, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-Other user upgrade rebates are available making other titles free if you already have the previous version of the software
-Sales tax applies when purchasing in-store. See their ad pages 4, 8

Free cabinet safety latch starter kit from Proctor & Gamble, Fill out the form to have it mailed.

Free Food at Seamless.com. Buy a food item worth $5 and use the promo code Z100 for $5 off. Only available in select cities. (Not tested by Actually Free)

Free scarf with $2 shipping ($0 + $2 shipping, not tested by Actually Free)

2 Free Glade Winter Solids with coupon at Dollar General. Find the coupon for $2 off by “liking” their facebook page, then get 2 for $1 each at Dollar General.

Free 2013 Calendar from Ontario Outdoor Adventures. Click “add to cart” to have it sent.

Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures good dental health kit for students. Available in large quantities to schools, teachers and groups so the kits can be redistributed to students and their families. Kits will arrive in February.

Free Gucci Frangrance Sample.

Free Tech Armor screen protector for iPhone 5. “Like” their facebook page to get access to the order form. Making a separate facebook account with a separate free email address is recommended for requesting freebies.

12 Days of Free Comic Books from Dec 7 – Dec 18 from ComiXology.

Free MINIBON from Cinnabon.

Last week the Banana Republic 12 Days of Joy promotion was mentioned. Other retailers may also be having “12 Days” promotions leading up to Christmas which may or may not have freebies.

This is an important weekend for online sales since orders have to be made in time for products to arrive by Christmas via standard shipping. Expect to see a lot of ‘free shipping’ promotions. Also, this Saturday is 10 days before Christmas, which is a peak sales time so be on the watch for special deals. Other peak sales times are the Saturday before Christmas and Christmas Eve.

Free Stuff Friday, December 7, 2012

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, December 7, 2012. Here are today’s freebies:

JCPenny December Promotion: Get free Christmas buttons at any JCPenny location no purchase required. Then bring them home and enter the codes on the back of the buttons online to see if you’ve won any prizes. You can enter two codes per day. Most of the prizes given away are store credit but the minimum purchase equals the amount of the certificate. So if you win $5, you can get something in the store with a price of $5 for free. If you find something that is exactly $5 then there will not be any sales tax. If you happen to win two $5 certificates, you might be able to combine them, but any other combination probably won’t work. When I went, I had a certificate for $5 and one for $10 and I wanted to buy a kid hoodie for $15. The register wouldn’t accept a scan of both certificates, but the sales clerk was able to change the price of the hoodie to $10 and then only scan the $10 certificate, so the hoodie was free.

Bass Pro Shops Holiday Events: Free photo with Santa and free games and craft events for kids.

Banana Republic 12 Days of Christmas. Each day for the first 12 days of December they’ve had and will have a special deal. On some of the days that deal is a freebie with no purchase is required. So far on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th they’ve given away a limited number of makeup samples, free movie vouchers for Les Miserables between Dec 25 and Dec 31, popcorn samples, and chocolate samples respectively. Today the deal isn’t a freebie (40% off men shirts), but keep an eye on it every day until the 12th.

Free foldable snow brush at Sears after $14.99 mail in rebate. You can order this from home and indicate you want an instore pick up for free shipping. They have computer stations in the store to order products online. Because I ordered it online I got $1.50 instant savings off the price which was more than the sales tax. I also got free shipping because when you use the in-store computer station there is no minimum order requirement to get free shipping.

Free After Rebate from Newegg.com:
-KASPERSKY lab Anti-Virus 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-TREND MICRO Titanium AntiVirus 2013 – 3 User, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-VIPRE Internet Security 2013 – 10 PCs – Product Key Card (no media), Free after $55 mil in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-Panda Security Antivirus Pro 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $20 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2013 – 3 Devices, Free after $35 mail in rebate in teh form of a check
-McAfee Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $60 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-Symantec Norton Antivirus 2013 – 1 PC, Free after $35 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-Newegg has free shipping and does not charge sales tax if you reside in a different state than their state(s) of operation. Prepaid cards have some restrictions on where you can spend them, but I’ve never had a problem spending them on gas and groceries. The generally start to charge a fee if not used within 6 months.

Free Sensual Massage Oil. Fill out the form to have it mailed. While supplies last. “Please allow 2-3 weeks for shipping.” This has not been tested by Actually Free.

200,000 free bus tickets from Mega Bus. Use the promo code: TRYMEGABUS when ordering your ticket online. Read the linked press page for more details.

Get Free Samples of beauty products every Saturday at Nordstrom department stores.

Free After Rebate from Tiger Direct:
-Total Defense TDUSCDTDCCUE Unlimited Internet Security – Monthly Subscription.
-OfficeWork Creative Essentials Software – Includes MuveeNow, Anime Studio 6 And TrueKatShow.
-Belkin F8N382tt Silicon Case – For iPad® 1, Shock-absorbent, Form-fitting Design.
-Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 Devices, Annual Subscription.
-Total Defense Internet Security Suite Software – 3 Devices.
-Sales tax applies when you buy in-store or when you buy in-store in the same state as their operation. Shipping fees apply when you buy online.

Total Defense Unlimited Internet Security is Free After Rebate at Staples (12/9 – 12/15). See their ad. If you’re on Staple’s email list you may have also noticed that they have been sending an additional rebate to a Staples brand ream of paper which makes it free after two rebates. Staples also has a coupon in their ad for $3 off UPS packages. If your package cost $3 or less to ship then it’s actually free. Limit 3 coupons per customer, one coupon per transaction.

McAfee® Total Protection 2013 For 1 User, Free after $52 mail in rebate at Office Depot (12/9 – 12/15).

Fry’s Electronics probably has something for free after rebate this week. As of this post their ads haven’t been revealed online yet. See their ads page for updates. Also see their featured software page.

Free After Rebate from MicroCenter:
-Fix-it Utilities 12 Professional, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate
-Disk Utilities Professional, 3 users, Free after $20 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate
-Laplink SafeErase, Free after $25 mail in rebate
-Photo Explosion Deluxe 5, Free after $15 mail in rebate and $20 mail in rebate
-Other software titles are free with user upgrade rebates meaning you have to prove you have the previous version to get the upgrade for free, See their ad page 49.
-Check back to see freebies from MicroCenter on a monthly basis.

A free activity that is usually available for the holidays is a Handel’s Messiah sing-along concert. Check the bulletin boards at local schools, churches and commercial establishments and also check the local paper to see if there is one near you.

Free Stuff Friday: Nov. 30, 2012

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, November 30, 2012. Here are today’s freebies:

Slime 12-volt tire inflator with guage Free After $15 mail-in rebate at True Value.

Free After Rebate from Tiger Direct (Tiger Direct charges shipping):
-Gear Head Wireless Optical Mouse, Red, Free after $10 mail-in rebate, DEAL EXPIRES TODAY (11/30)
-Gear Head Wireless Optical Mouse, Black, Free after $10 mail-in rebate, DEAL EXPIRES TODAY (11/30)
-Total Defence Premium Internet Security, 5 Devices, Annual Subscription
-Belkin Silicon Case for iPad 1, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-Total Defence Unlimited Internet Security, Free after $20 mail-in rebate.

Free After Rebate from Fry’s Electronics (sales tax is charged when purcahasing in-store):
-McAfee Total Protection 2013, Free after $65 mail-in rebate
-Panda Internet Security 2013, Free after $35 mail-in rebate
-Webroot Internet Security Plus 2013, Free after $50 mail-in rebate
-Photo Explosion 5.0, Free after $15 mail-in rebate and $10 mail in rebate
-Susteen Datapilot Tether, Free after $20 mail-in rebate
-Webeasy 8 Professional, Free after $25 mail-in rebate and $10 mail-in rebate
-Driver Genius, Free after $15 mail-in rebate
-Total Defense Unlimited Internet Security, Free after $20 mail-in rebate
-Check-it Registry Cleaner, Free after $15 mail-in rebate and $15 mail-in rebate
-Typing Instructor Platinum, Free after $22 mail-in rebate
-Art Explosion 500,000, Free after $15 mail in rebate and $10 mailin rebate
-Berlitz Mandarin Chinese & Japanese Premier (and 5 other languages), Free after $20 mail-in rebate and $10 mail-in rebate
-Mavis Beacon Typing, Free after $20 mail-in rebate
-Broderbund PrintMaster Platinum 2013, Free after $25 mail-in rebate
-Scrapbook Factory Deluxe 5, Free after $25 mail-in rebate and $10 mail-in rebate
-Digital TV for PC 2, Free after $25 mail-in rebate (not recommended by Actually Free)
-Many other titles for free with “upgrade” rebates. You must be able to prove you have the previous version for these particular titles to be free.
-See also their featured software page.
-Multi-Brand Black Ink Refill Kit, Free after $3.50 mail-in rebate
-Compatible Black Ink Cartridge for Brother LC61/LC65 High Capacity, Free after $3 mail-in rebate
-See pages 8-9, “office supplies”,  in their weekly ad.

Free After Rebate from Newegg.com:
-Panda Security Antivirus Pro 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $20 mail-in rebate
-McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2013 – 1 PC, Free after $30 mail-in rebate in form of prepaid card
-KASPERSKY lab Anti-Virus 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail-in rebate.

JCPenny December Promotion: Get free Christmas buttons at any JCPenny location. Then bring them home and enter the codes on the back of the buttons online to see if you’ve won any prizes.

Bass Pro Shops Holiday Events: Free photo with Santa and free games and craft events for kids.

An excellent free activity/family outing for the holidays is to go for a family drive and look at Christmas lights. See if any of you’re local news outlets maintains a map of the best lights in the area. Last year my wife an I even found houses that were projecting movies for visitors and giving out hot chocolate.

Cyber Monday Freebies

It’s Cyber Monday today and the shopping season continues. Freebies aren’t as common on Cyber Monday as they are on Black Friday for at least two reasons. One, retailers offer in-store freebies on Black Friday to get more customers into the store on a day when they are particularly likely to spend money. Freebies offered online don’t serve that function. When an online retailer wants to get people to their online store, they advertise through popular websites like Yahoo! and Google (you may have even seen ads today).

Two, if any retailer were to offer a freebie, it wouldn’t actually be free since they would probably have to charge for shipping. A lot of retailers are probably offering free shipping as part of their deals today, but then the product itself isn’t usually free. Many of the freebies listed on the Free Stuff Friday post last Friday are still valid. The JC Penny and Bass Pro Shops promotions are good all through December.

One of the bigger hopes for today was Newegg.com who frequently offers items for Free After Rebate and doesn’t charge shipping or sales tax if you don’t live in the same state where they operate. They don’t have any freebies listed on their Cyber Monday event. However, they are still offering free software as part of their weekly deals.

Fry’s Electronics did not list any freebies on their Cyber Monday specials. (See the first 3 pages of their ads today). However, they are still offering freebies as part of their weekly deals. (See pages 8, 9, 14, 15, 21 bottom right, 27 which they may be sold out of since that offer was valid on Black Friday, and 30. The page numbers will change by tomorrow. Pages 1-3 will be gone, subtract 3 from other pages.)

Staples Cyber Monday event has free software. Follow the link to see the first 5 items on their software page. They have free shipping on all their Cyber Monday deals.

Office Depot also has a couple of software items for Free After Rebate as part of their Cyber Monday sale. Free shipping on orders above $25. Software for free after rebate should qualify because you will pay more than $25 at the checkout and then get a rebate in the mail.

Tiger Direct has at least 2 non-software items for Free After Rebate listed on their Cyber Monday page. Shipping fees apply with orders less than $100. The two deals which were found are a free wireless optical mouse and an iPad case. The iPad case has actually been free for months as noted on the Free Stuff Friday posts. They may offer other items when you click the “see more” links at the top of each category.

For events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Actually Free tends to focus on tangible freebies that you can pick up in-store or send by traditional mail. However, since Cyber Monday is mostly a web event you may also be able to find freebies that are more apt for a Web Freebie Wednesday post, such as free downloads and free apps for your smart phone. As always, Amazon is offering Free Kindle Books and Free Music Downloads, even though they’re not part of Amazon’s Cyber Monday event.

Free Stuff Friday, Black Friday, 2012

Welcome to Free Stuff Friday, November 23, 2012. Here are today’s freebies:

If you haven’t read the Black Friday Freebies post last Tuesday then you may have already missed many of the freebies listed. However some are good for all day Friday and throughout the weekend, so you may want to check that post depending on when you’re reading this. Here are the deals that were not listed on that post or are still going after Friday (Super Saturday Freebies):

Fry’s Electronics, Friday, 11/23 only, see their ad also here.
-Lens Cleaning Brush/Pen for Camera Lens Viewfinder, Free after $2 mail in rebate.
-Camera Cleaning Pen & Screen Cleaner, Free after $5 mail in rebate.
-Lens Cleaning Brush/Pen, Free after $5 mail in rebate.
-GeForce 210 512 MB (Tubocache 1 GB) DDR3, Free after $25 mail in rebate
-20-Pack Jewel Case, Free after $4 mail in rebate
-inland 96 CD/DVD Wallet, Free after $2.50 mail in rebate
-belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Mini Hub, Free after $6.50 mail in rebate
-belkin 6 outlets with 600 Joules of Surge Protection, Free after $11.50 mail in rebate
-3×1 HDMI Switch, Free after $23 mail in rebate.
-Cleaning wipes, Free after $5 mail in rebate.
-belkin Premium 6ft USB 2.0 A-to-B Cable, Free after $3.50 mail in rebate.
-Kaspersky Internet Security 2013, Free after $55 mail in rebate
-Uniden Bluetooth Earpiece, Free after $10 mail in rebate

Fry’s Electronics, 11/23 – 11/24, see their ad.
-Cover Case for iPad 2 and New iPad, Free after $15 mail in rebate
-iPad Messenger Bag, Free after $15 mail in rebate

Fry’s Electronics 11/23 – 11/29, see their ad.
-Over 70 software titles free after rebate. Beware of the titles that are only free after “upgrade” rebates. If you can’t prove you have the previous version then these titles aren’t free.

Newegg.com “Don’t Freak Out, Geek Out” Black Friday sale, 11/21 – 11/25
21 Free software titles, listed on page 6 as of this post.
More free softaware titles.

TigerDirect.com / CompUSA, Prices still good Saturday while supplies last.
-Logitech C260 Webcam, Free after $25 mail in rebate, (Friday Only)
-Eagle Soundstage Speakers, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Wireless Optical Nano Mouse, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-SOLO Laptop Bags, Free after $30 mail in rebate
-Total Defence Internet Security Suite Premium, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Software, Free after $19.99 mail in rebate
-Plug-in USB car charger, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-See their ad. Ad says “prices valid in retail stores only”, but many similar deals are online. If you buy online then shipping fees apply. If you buy in-store then sales tax will be charged.

Big Lots 11/18 – 11/25, See their weekly ad (not their Black Friday ad) pg 5 .
-Free Fuji Alkaline Batteries after $2 mail in rebate. Choose between 4 pk AA, 4 pk AAA, 2 pk C, 2 pk D, or 1 pk 9V. When they had a similar promotion a few weeks ago, you could buy up to two packs of batteries for a total rebate of $4. Be sure to check the fine print on the rebate form at the cashier before making the purchase.

Ace Hardware, 7:30 am Friday (Hours may vary by location)
-Lufkin Self-Centering 25′ Tape Measure, Free after $4.99 mail in rebate, see their ad, page 1.

Stein Mart, Friday (added late, wasn’t included in Tuesday’s post)
-Scratch and save $10 – $100 card that was included in their ad in the paper. Card had to be scratched in presence of sales clerk. No minimum purchase requirement.

RC Willey, 11 am – 3 PM Friday and Saturday . Free hot dogs and drinks while supplies last.

Walker Furniture, Fri – Sun
-Free glitter snowman just for coming in, no purchase necessary. Limit 1, while supplies last.
-Free Hot Dogs & Soda, Fri, Sat, Sun, 11 am – 4 pm, while supplies last.
-Free Live Entertainment, Fri, Sat, Sun, 11 am – 4 pm.
-Free Face Painting, Fri, 11 am – 4 pm.

American Express Small Business Saturday, Nov 24 .
-“Enroll your eligible American Express® Card to GET $25 BACK ONE TIME WHEN YOU SPEND $25 OR MORE at a qualifying small business location on November 24th”. See details.

Bass Pro Shops, Saturday and Sunday, Nov 24 & 25
-Free Drawings every hour from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm both days
-Free Bass Pro Shops Knife to the first 100 customers on Sat, Nov 24, store opens at 9 am
-Free 3-pack Cotton Cordell Baits to the first 100 customers on Sun, Nov 25, store opens at 9 am
See their ad, page 51.

Pep Boys, Nov 24 & Nov 25
-Champion Platinum Spark Plugs Free after $2 mail in rebate. See their ad, page 1.

Bass Pro Shops through Dec 24
-Free Games and Activities for kids at “The North Pole” through Dec 24: Laser Arcade, Moving Trains, Slot Car Racing, Craft & Activity Tables, The Strike & The Hunt Games, Receive an Email from Santa, Remote Control Trucks
-Crafts 7 Days a Week: Stuffed Santa Ornament Nov 15-18, Candy Cane Reindeer Nov 19-25, Snowman Ornament Nov 26-Dec 2, Popsicle-Stick Snowman Dec 3-9, Popcicle Stick Frame Dec 10-16, Santa Ornament Dec 17-23, Cookie Decorating Dec 24
-Get a Free 4×6 photo with Santa and a free coloring book through Dec 24, donate in-store to Toys For Tots and receive a free photo package with Santa, one 6×8, two 5×7, two 4×6, and 8 wallets.
See their ad pages 48-50.

Michael’s is possibly giving away chocolate bars to the first 100 customers on Sat. at 8 am, like they did Thurs & Fri.

JCPenny, From now until Christmas Eve .
-Get free buttons from a JCP team member at any register starting Black Friday. Check the 7-digit promotion code on the back of the button at jcp.com/christmas to see if you’ve won a prize. Buttons will be given away every day through Christmas Eve while supplies last. See their ad, page 3.
-JCPenny is also offering free family photos during November.

World Market, Sat & Sun
-First 100 customers in store on Saturday & Sunday receive a free LIFE of PI tote bag and movie ticket.
-World market is also having a sweepstakes.
See their ad .

Here are some additional freebies this week :

Diablotek DA Series PSDA600 600W ATX12V v2.2 Power Supply, Free after $14.99 mail in rebate from Newegg.com (wasn’t listed in other Newegg promotions cited above and last Tuesday)

Free after Rebate from TigerDirect Online:
–  Eagle Tech ET-AR302-BK Soundstage Speakers – 6 Watts RMS, 3″ High Output Drivers, Low Distortion Amplifier, Solid Wood Enclosure, Free after $20 mail in rebate.
–  Logitech 960-000701 C260 Webcam – USB, 720p HD Video Calling, Built-in Noise-cancelling Microphone, Up to 3MP Photos, Blue, Free after $25 mail in rebate.
-Tiger Direct charges shipping.

Free Scripture Greeting Cards for Christmas 2012. Supplies are limited. First come, first served.

Staples 11/25 – 12/1
-Kaspersky Internet Security 2013, Free after $59.99 mail in rebate.
-McAfee Total Protection 2013, Free after $49 mail in rebate, doesn’t cover sales tax.

Office Depot 11/25 – 12/1
-McAfee Internet Security 2013, Free after $60 mail in rebate, doesn’t cover sales tax

For fun:

Black Friday Freebies Preview, 2012

Find all the Black Friday Freebies here. This is the most comprehensive list online and it will be updated daily until Black Friday.

For the last month or so, every Free Stuff Friday blog post has mentioned that the holidays are one of the best times of the year to get freebies. The following offers on Black Friday are proof of the accuracy of that statement. There are also a few other freebies listed below that are either good this week or good for the remaining days leading up to Christmas. Good luck getting as many of these freebies as possible while doing all your other Black Friday shopping. They are listed in chronological order for your convenience.

Actually Free emphasizes deals that are actually free, meaning there is no monetary requirement to get the freebie. However, quite a few of these will require time while waiting in line. Based on the information available, all the freebies listed below are actually free. However, once you arrive at the retailers then a couple of them may surprise you. For example, one of the ads may say that customers in line get the freebie, but they might only distribute the freebie at the cash register while people are making their purchases. Things like that can even vary from branch to branch within the same geographical area, so there was no way to determine everything that might happen. Not every freebie below will be available to everyone in the country since some stores don’t have branches in every state or city. Also be sure to read the fine print for each deal. With some deals you just have to wait in line, but with others you have to cut a coupon from their ad and they may not accept coupons printed from the internet. Click on each image to see their full view. Some of them have useful details.

Staples, Expires today (Nov 20)
Get a free eco-friendly bag. Print a coupon and bring it to the store to claim the bag. The bag is intended to get you to fill it with stuff you’re going to buy and then you get 15% off everything in the bag. But there is no restriction to just getting the bag if you want it. It’s the same as any reusable shopping bag for which some retailers may charge $1-$5. This deal was discovered by being a member of the retailer’s shopping club which means getting emails from the retailer. Other retailers are probably sending out similar emails this week and throughout the holidays.

UPDATE 11/21: Apparently you did have to buy something to get the bag for free, so the offer above is not actually free. I ended up getting the bag. However, I’m pleased to report that the promotion did not trick me into spending more money than I would have otherwise. I’ve been needing a good cleaning sponge and when I went to Staples to get the bag I noticed that they had sets of 4 on their clearance table for 50 cents marked down from $1. With the coupon I got the bag for free and 15% off the sponges, bringing my total to 42 cents. Not bad for $2+ worth of merchandise. If anyone went to Staples expecting a free bag then I apologize for the confusion.

Newegg.com 72-Hour Pre-Black Friday Frenzy, Started yesterday (Mon 11/19), Software Free After Rebate.
-Nero Burn Express 2, Free after $20 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-AVG PC TUNE UP – 3 PCs, Free after $25 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-SONY Movie Studio 11, Free after $30 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-Total Defense PC Tune-Up, Free after $35 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-NUANCE PDF Converter 8.0, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-SmithMicro Anime Studio Debut 9, Free after $40 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-iolo System Mechanic Premium – Unlimited PCs (install it on all your home PCs), Free after mail in rebate in teh form of a check
-Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus 2013 – 3 Devices, Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-VIPRE Antivirus 2013 – 10 PCs – Product Key Card (no media), Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-AVG INTERNET SECURITY 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-Panda Security Global Protection 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 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
-KASPERSKY lab Internet Security 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $55 mail in rebate in the form of a check
-ABBYY PDF Transformer 3.0, Free after $55 mail in rebate in teh form of a prepaid card
-bitdefender Sphere – Unlimited Devices, Free after $60 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-TREND MICRO Titanium Maximum Security 2013 – 3 User, Free after $65 mail in rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-Free shipping will all listed titles. Newegg doesn’t charge sales tax if you don’t live in the same state as their operation. Prepaid cards may have restrictions, however I’ve always been able to use them on unavoidable expenses such as gas and groceries.
-Also check their featured software page often for more software freebies. At the time of this post there were at least 4 other software titles that were Free After Rebate and not listed in their 72 hour sale.

UPDATE 11/21: Newegg.com “Don’t Freak Out, Geek Out” Black Friday sale, 11/21 – 11/25
Their sale page is constantly updated. Initially the following freebies were found:
-ARCTIC MX2 Thermal Paste -4gram, Free after $10.99 rebate in the form of a prepaid card
-QFX H-101 3.5mm Connector Wood Stereo Earbuds, Free after $12 rebate
-Symantec Norton Antivirus 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $45 rebate card
-Total Defense PC Tune-Up, Free after $35 rebate card
-Total Defense Premium Internet Security – 5 User, Free after $50 rebate card
-McAfee Total Protection 2013 – 3 PCs, Free after $65 rebate card
-Nero Burn Express 2, Free after $20 rebate

Big Lots 11/18 – 11/25, See their weekly ad (not their Black Friday ad) pg 5.
Free Fuji Alkaline Batteries after $2 mail in rebate. Choose between 4 pk AA, 4 pk AAA, 2 pk C, 2 pk D, or 1 pk 9V. When they had a similar promotion a few weeks ago, you could buy up to two packs of batteries for a total rebate of $4. Be sure to check the fine print on the rebate form at the cashier before making the purchase.

UPDATE 11/21: Fry’s Electronics Pre-Black Friday Sale, Nov 21 – 22
Over “70” software titles free after rebate. Beware of the titles that are only free with “upgrade” rebates. These require proof of purchase of previous version. If you don’t have the previous version, these are not free. Sales tax is not refunded in the rebate.

Michael’s, 4-11 pm Thursday (also open Friday 7 am – 10 pm, Saturday 8 am – 10 pm)
-Free Godiva Chocolate Bar limited to the first 100 customers. See their ad, page 6. Beware of the wording in the ad. Since it says “customers” then a purchase may have to be made before receiving the item, which means it’s not actually free. Similar caution must be taken for any of the ads below with similar wording.
-Your local Michael’s may also have free craft events during the Holidays. Check the event calendar online for your local store.

UPDATE 11/21: Turkey Hill, 10 pm Thursday – Noon Friday. Free 16 oz cup of coffee. See the details: http://www.turkeyhillstores.com/specials/black-friday-midwest.asp

Toys”R”Us, 8 pm Thursday (except for some branches in NJ, ME, MA, RI, PR)
According to a press release from Toys”R”Us on Nov 12, [2012], “The first 200 customers to line up at their local Toys“R”Us store on Thursday evening will receive a complimentary Great Big Goody Bag packed with gifts that are small in size and big on value. Featuring fun playthings from top brands, including Crayola™, LEGO® and Disney Jr.® worth $30 in total value, this special offer is sure to help parents and gift givers add a little extra something to holiday stockings . . . One gift bag will be provided per family. Customers will receive their gift bags upon entering the store. Contents may vary.” The same press release also describes the Toys”R” Us Black Friday Red Carpet Sweepstakes. (the first line of the press release says “2011”, but it says “2012” within the press release twice and it says “2012” where all the press releases are listed).

Old Navy, 12 am Friday (10 pm Thursday at some locations, check with your local store for hours)
Wii U Giveaway Promotion. Receive a game piece in-store containing a unique code. Participants must then use that code to fill out a form at www.oldnavy.com/wiiugiveaway which will allow them to proceed to the “Instant Win Game” where they must continue to follow links and instructions to win. There will be 1,000 winners (one for each store). See the complete official rules.

Sports Authority, 12 am Friday
The first 80 people in line at each Sports Authority location will receive a Bonus Bucks Card worth $10-$500 toward anything in the store Friday, Nov 23, 2012 only. Stores not opening at midnight will distribute cards at posted opening time. See their ad, page 1. Sports Authority has at least 5 items in their Black Friday that cost $10 or less.

Bealls, 12 am Friday
-First 100 customers in line at each store receive a scratch-off card for a chance to win either a 16 GB WiFi Tablet ($399 value), $100 gift card, or $5 Bealls Bucks.
-Starting at 6 am Friday all customers receive a free ornament while supplies last.
-Bealls has at least 5 items in their Black Friday ad that cost $5 or less. See their ad pages 1 and 16.

Belk, 12 am Friday
The first 250 customers at each store will receive a free gift card. One card at each store is guaranteed to be worth $1,000. The rest are “valued anywhere from” $5 to $1,000. See page 1 of their ad. They’ve advertised two items for $5, Hanes tights and Kim Rogers Socks, see page 14 of their ad.

Bon Ton, Bergners, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herbergers, Younkers, 12 am – 1 pm Friday
Use a coupon from their ad to get $10 off any item priced at $10 or more. See their ad, pages 1-2: Bon Ton, Bergners, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman, Herbergers, Younkers. The coupons say “limit one coupon per customer” but they don’t say anything about using a Bon Ton coupon at a Bon Ton store and then using a Bergners coupon at a Bergners store, or even two different branches of stores with the same name, if you happen to live close to two of the stores.

Shoe Carnival, 12 am Friday (“Thursday Midnight – Noon Friday”)
-First 100 customers receive a reward card worth at least $10 and one lucky customer will receive a $100 surprise reward card.
-Win a $100 Shopping Spree, given away at 2 am and 4 am.
-See their ad, page 2. All items advertised in their Black Friday ad cost more than $10. Beware not to let the gift card trick you into spending extra money. If they don’t have anything that costs $10 or less and if they don’t have anything that you would buy if you didn’t have the card, then don’t use it.

AAFES (Exchange, Army & Air Force Exchange Service), 4 am-noon Friday
Free 20 oz cup of Premium Java Coffee, See their ad page 28.

Craft Warehouse, 4 am, 5 am or 6 am Friday depending on the location
Free Crystal Bracelet with coupon while supplies last. See their ad, page 1.

Staples, 5 am Friday
-Staples® photo supreme 8.5″ x 11″ paper, double-sided matte, 50/pack, Free after $14.99 mail in rebate
-QuickBooks® Online Simple Start 2012, Free after $90 mail in rebate
-McAfee® Internet Security 2013, 3 PCs, Free after $54 mail in rebate
-Kaspersky® Internet Security, Free after $59.99 mail in rebate
-Not Actually Free: 100% back in Staples Rewards® when you buy a 16/pack of Duracell® AA or AAA batteries
-See their ad, pages 1 and 2.

Cabella’s, 5 am Friday
The first 600 in line by 5 am get one of the following gifts: Browning A-Bolt 300 WSM Rifle ($799 value), 30″ Masterbuilt Electric Smoker ($289 value), Pro Staff 7 10×42 Binoculars ($199 value), Legend 10×42 Binoculars ($319 value), Cabellas Realtree Camo Hoodie ($24 value), Cabella’s Gift Card up to $100. See their ad, page 1.

Fred Meyer, 5-11 am Friday
Free donuts and coffee. See their ad, page 1.

A.C. Moore, 5 am Friday
Free $5 gift card to the first 100 customers. See their ad, page 1. A.C. Moore has at least 15 items in their Black Friday ad that cost $5 or less.

UPDATE (late, sorry): TigerDirect.com / CompUSA, 5 am Friday – Saturday
-Logitech C260 Webcam, Free after $25 mail in rebate, (Friday Only)
-Eagle Soundstage Speakers, Free after $20 mail in rebate
-Wireless Optical Nano Mouse, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-SOLO Laptop Bags, Free after $30 mail in rebate
-Total Defence Internet Security Suite Premium, Free after $50 mail in rebate
-Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Software, Free after $19.99 mail in rebate
-Plug-in USB car charger, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-See their ad. Ad says “prices valid in retail stores only”, but many similar deals are online. If you buy online then shipping fees apply. If you buy in-store then sales tax will be charged.

JCPenny, 6 am Friday
-Get free buttons from a JCP team member at any register starting Black Friday. Check the 7-digit promotion code on the back of the button at jcp.com/christmas to see if you’ve won a prize. Buttons will be given away every day through Christmas Eve while supplies last. See their ad, page 3.
-JCPenny is also offering free family photos during November.

Mills Fleet Farm, 6 am Friday
Free holiday puppy given to the first 500 customers at each store on Friday. See their ad page 1.

UPDATE 11/21: Fry’s Electronics, 6 am – 10 pm Friday
-GeForce 210 512MB (TurboCache 1 GB) DDR3, Free after $25 mail in rebate
-20-Pack Jewel Case, Free after $4 mail in rebate
-USB 2.0 Multi Card Reader/Writer, Free after $5 mail in rebate
-inland 96 CD/DVD Wallet, Free after $2.50 mail in rebate
-belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Mini-Hub, Free after $6 mail in rebate
-belkin 6 outlets with 600 Joules of Surge Protection, Free after $11.50 mail in rebate
-3×1 HDMI Switch, Free after $23 mail in rebate
-Cleaning Wipes 2 Pack, Free after $5 mail in rebate
-belkin Premium 6ft USB 2.0 A-to-B Cable, Free after $3.50 mail in rebate
-Kaspersky Internet Security 2013, Free after $55 mail in rebate
-uniden Bluetooth Earpiece, Free after $10 mail in rebate
-Sony Movie Studio Platinum Suite 12, Free after $55 mail in rebate and $45 competitive** user upgrade rebate
-Norton Triple Bundle 2013, Free after $50 mail in rebate and $25 competitive** user upgrade rebate
-Nero 12, Free after $40 mail in rebate and $20 competitive** user upgrade rebate
-**competitive user upgrade rebates require a proof of purchase of the previous version. If you don’t have the barcode for the previous version then that item is not free.
-Rebates do not refund sales tax.
-These are just from the first two pages of their Black Friday Ad. See their Black Friday preview by “liking” them on facebook. More freebies are expected when their complete ad is released either Thursday or Friday morning

UPDATE 11/21Free pancakes and prizes at Park Meadows Retail Resort in Colorado between 6 am – 8 am. Drawings for prizes take place every hour from 6 am to 10 am.

UPDATE 11/22: Sheplers Western Stores, 6 am – 11 am
Free $10 gift card to first 50 customers on Friday, Nov 23 only.

Half Price Books, 7 am Friday
First 100 early birds get a tote and $5 gift card. One tote bag will contain a $100 gift card. See their ad. Their ad doesn’t have any products. If you can’t find a book or other item for $5 or less, then beware not to let the card trick you into spending money that you would not have spent otherwise.

Sam’s Club, 7 am Friday
Shop Sam’s Club on Black Friday with complimentary Starbucks’ holiday blend coffee and a delicious Artisan Fresh pastry. Sam’s Club membership required. See their ad, page 4.

UPDATE 11/21: World Market, 7 am Friday
-First 100 customers in store on Friday receive an exclusive LIFE of PI ornament & movie ticket
-First 100 customers in store on Saturday & Sunday receive a free LIFE of PI tote bag and movie ticket.
-World market is also having a sweepstakes.
-See their ad: http://www.worldmarket.com/category/code/life-of-pi-giveaway.do.

UPDATE (late, sorry): Stein Mart, 7 am to Noon, Friday only
Bring [scratch coupon] into the store and save $10, $20, $50 or $100 off your purchase when you scratch & save. (Must be scratched in presence of store clerk). See the ad.

Ace Hardware, 7:30 am Friday (Hours may vary by location)
Lufkin Self-Centering 25′ Tape Measure, Free after $4.99 mail in rebate, see their ad, page 1.

Costco, 9 am Friday
Free cookbook, Simply Delicious The Costco Way, while supplies last, Costco membership required, see their ad pg 2.

UPDATE 11/21: RC Willey, 11 am – 3 PM Friday and Saturday
Free Hot Dogs & Drinks. See their ad.

UPDATE 11/22: Walker Furniture, starting 11 am Friday
-Free glitter snowman just for coming in, no purchase necessary. Limit 1, while supplies last.
-Free Hot Dogs & Soda, Fri, Sat, Sun, 11 am – 4 pm, while supplies last.
-Free Live Entertainment, Fri, Sat, Sun, 11 am – 4 pm.
-Free Face Painting, Fri, 11 am – 4 pm.

UPDATE 11/21: Seattle’s Best Coffee, All day Friday
Anyone who has to work gets a free 12 oz cup of coffee. http://www.seattlesbest.com/.

UPDATE (added late, sorry): Free coffee at Quick Chek all day Friday.

UPDATE 11/21: American Express Small Business Saturday, Nov 24.
“Enroll your eligible American Express® Card to GET $25 BACK ONE TIME WHEN YOU SPEND $25 OR MORE at a qualifying small business location on November 24th”. See details.

UPDATE (added late, sorry): ING Direct, the online-only bank, may have offered some free money on Black Friday where they would have deposited money into your new account if you had signed up for the account and possibly made purchases. The purchase could easily have cost less than what they were going to deposit. ING Direct is well-known for offering free money. When you refer friends to their free accounts you and your friend get referral bonuses. In a banking environment where other US banks continue to add new charges and fees, ING Direct offers high savings rates, not just free but interest-earning checking accounts and other great banking offers. When they offer a free money deal it is usually actually free.

Bass Pro Shops, Saturday and Sunday, Nov 24 & 25
-Free Drawings every hour from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm both days
-Free Bass Pro Shops Knife to the first 100 customers on Sat, Nov 24, store opens at 9 am
-Free 3-pack Cotton Cordell Baits to the first 100 customers on Sun, Nov 25, store opens at 9 am
-See their ad, page 51.

Pep Boys, Nov 24 & Nov 25
Champion Platinum Spark Plugs Free after $2 mail in rebate. See their ad, page 1.

Bass Pro Shops through Dec 24
-Free Games and Activities for kids at “The North Pole” through Dec 24: Laser Arcade, Moving Trains, Slot Car Racing, Craft & Activity Tables, The Strike & The Hunt Games, Receive an Email from Santa, Remote Control Trucks
-Crafts 7 Days a Week: Stuffed Santa Ornament Nov 15-18, Candy Cane Reindeer Nov 19-25, Snowman Ornament Nov 26-Dec 2, Popsicle-Stick Snowman Dec 3-9, Popcicle Stick Frame Dec 10-16, Santa Ornament Dec 17-23, Cookie Decorating Dec 24
-Get a Free 4×6 photo with Santa and a free coloring book through Dec 24, donate in-store to Toys For Tots and receive a free photo package with Santa, one 6×8, two 5×7, two 4×6, and 8 wallets.
-See their ad pages 48-50.

UPDATE: Local business may also have ads in the paper that are not part of the big stack of national retailers. Sometimes the ad is printed as a page within the paper itself. A local mechanic advertised Free Alignment Check, Free Battery Test, Free Tire Inspection, Free Brake Inspection, Free Multi-point inspection. Of course, these are like offering “free quotes” so that they can tell you how much they’re going to charge you.

Of course, it’s Black Friday, followed by Super Saturday, Sofa Sunday, Cyber Monday, Encore Tuesday, Cyber Week, etc. so there are and will be thousands of other non-free deals. Many of these deals use the word “free” even though they’re not actually free. Probably the most common of these are the offers to “buy one get one free” or “free with purchase”. Other offers are more subtle. Usually rewards programs are not actually free because you have to spend money to take advantage of the deal. Menards has multiple offers that are advertised as “free after rebate”, however the fine print states that the rebate will be in the form of a merchandise credit. If this means you can only use the rebates to buy more stuff at Menards then these deals aren’t actually free (but they may still be good deals if you already like to shop at Menards).

Retailers that are offering free gift cards with certain purchases include Target, Best Buy, and others.

Retailers that are offering free gifts with purchases include Petco, Old Navy, Aeropostale, Hastings, and others. On Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Super Saturday, New York & Co. is giving away a watch to the first 100 customers who make a purchase.

Retailers that are offering 100% back in rewards credit include CVS, Walgreens and Office Max (these three retailers used to be the main players of free after rebate deals until they adopted the “rewards” promotion.) A decent list of offers that are free with purchase can be found here.

Sears Apparel Outlet is not having a Free Apparel Tuesday today (Nov 20). Hopefully next week they’ll re-open the promotion and keep it going throughout December and beyond, just like they did last year. Those of us who live close enough to a Sears Apparel Outlet are keeping our fingers crossed.

Fry’s Electronics is also expected to have freebies on Black Friday. Their ad may not be released until Thursday or Friday. (UPDATE: see Fry’s above) Last year Best Buy projected a free movie outside their stores for people waiting in line. Perhaps they’ll do it again. Other retailers will probably continue to offer holiday freebies leading up to Christmas, including free activities and things to do. Other peak sales times are 10 days before Christmas, the Saturday before Christmas and Christmas Eve.

The weekly Free Stuff Friday post will go forward as usual this Friday. Watch for additional freebies then.

UPDATE: Why does this post continue to get updated even though Black Friday is over? This post will be used for as a reference for next year. Many of these retailers could easily repeat these promotions as long as they were deemed successful this year.

How I got over $300 worth of Christmas gifts for FREE! (Review from last year, 2011)

(The following was posted on the old blog last year on December 22, 2011. While these offers are long outdated, the strategies for obtaining these freebies are still valid. Last year when this was posted, most of the peak shopping times had already passed, so readers couldn’t take advantage of the information. It is reposted with the hope that it will help readers find holiday freebies this year)

Its been a fun holiday season filled with freebies, including clothes, toys, the hit Disney/Pixar new release, Cars 2, computer software and accessories! Here’s how I got over $300 worth of Christmas gifts for free (well, sort of, keep reading):

Everything in this picture was free (plus one item that isn’t pictured.)

The first set of items I received for free were from Cafe Press:

  • Cars 2 Adventure Hut $20
  • Cars Deluxe 10 Car Figurine Play Set $20
  • Rocky Balboa Movie $1
  • 2 USB Wall Chargers $10 ($5 each)
  • USB Car Charger $5

 

Cafe Press, a leading T-shirt retailer online, didn’t exactly give me these gifts directly. I had to do a little work, but not much. Cafe Press has a program for T-shirt designers where the designer creates and uploads a T-shirt design to their site and every time that design sells, the designer gets a commission. There are no costs to the designer. I have uploaded about 20 designs to Cafe Press and received my first commission transfer to PayPal previous to Thanksgiving. I considered this free money because receiving commissions from Cafe Press is a form of passive income. Once the designs are uploaded, they are available in the Cafe Press marketplace for anyone to purchase at any time. I do nothing to sell them, although Cafe Press does offer a store feature that designers can promote. Cafe Press does all the work of selling, printing the shirt, packing it, and shipping it to the customer. I also used completely free resources to create the designs that I submitted, including free graphics that did not violate copyrights or trademarks, and a free image editor online. It just took a little time to create the designs and upload them to Cafe Press (certainly less than an hour per design), and they now continue to make money for me. I’ve even seen an increase in sales between Black Friday and the time this article was posted.

All the items above sell at retail for higher prices than those listed. They were all on sale for Black Friday. The Cars 2 adventure hut was purchased at Wal-Mart. The 10 piece Cars 2 deluxe figurine set was purchased at the Disney Store Online with free shipping. The USB wall chargers and car charger were purchased from Newegg.com, and the $1 Rocky Balboa movie (not in the second picture) was purchased at Best Buy online. I probably would not have purchased the movie if it had cost any more than $1, but I figured I would have rented it from RedBox for $1.20 so I might as well own it for less. All items ordered online had free shipping.

The next set of items were all Free After Rebate (FAR) from Fry’s Electronics and Newegg.com. I also got the Cars 2 DVD/Blue Ray combo pack for free after rebate from newspaper coupon inserts (I don’t recall if it was Red Plum or SmartSource, but the rebates were also available online).

  • AVG Anti-Virus (the paid version, not the Free Version) $40
  • Digital TV for PC 2 $25
  • Corel PDF Fusion $40
  • WordPerfect Office X5 $50
  • Electronic Cleaning Wipes pack of 2 $5
  • USB 4 port Hub $4
  • Samsung Bluetooth headset $20
  • HDMI Cables $1.50
  • Ergonomic Wireless Optical Mouse $10
  • Laptop Cooling Fan $10
  • Cars 2 DVD/Blue Ray combo $10


Fry’s Electronics and Newegg.com have become my favorite retailers this season. Week after week and often on the weekends they have had sale after sale which have included free after rebate deals. All of these items were purchased on Black Friday, but I could have purchased many, many more for FAR. The items purchased from Newegg.com could only be purchased online since Newegg is an online-only store; but they all came with free shipping. Fry’s Electronics also only has limited locations in select states. I just happen to live by one. I am still waiting for the rebates in the mail since they take 6-8 weeks to arrive, though I’ve received many notifications by email that they are being processed (update: all rebates were received).

These items were all free after rebate, but I actually ended up paying between $10-$15 when combining sales tax, envelopes and postage (Items purchased at Newegg didn’t have sales tax, since I don’t reside in the same state where Newegg operates). Also some of the rebates will come in the form of a Visa gift card which has some restrictions and even fees if not used within the first 6 months. I’m hoping/guessing, that I can use them for gas or groceries. One of the points I make with any promotion is to be sure the promotion isn’t tricking the customer into spending more money. These were all items I needed or wanted before the FAR promotion and the Visa gift card(s) will be used on items I plan to pay for in my regular monthly budget. (Update: all visa cards were used successfully for buying gas, a weekly unavoidable expense. Another setback for rebates is that the products can’t be returned after the proof of purchase is removed to claim the rebate. This is a major consideration when buying the products as gifts for other people, but not so much when you’re buying the ‘gift’ for yourself).

If you couldn’t tell already, my son loves Pixar Cars. The Cars 2 DVD/Blu-Ray combo (not seen in the first picture) also wasn’t actually free after rebate. I bought it for $10 at Wal-Mart by price matching with a Sam’s Club Black Friday ad. That alone was a steal since a Disney/Pixar new release DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack usually sells for $25-$30. There were at least three rebate offers available with this item.

The rebate my wife and I used was good for $10 when the movie combo pack and $20-worth of Kimberly-Clark products were purchased. We happened to have already purchased $19 worth of diapers, so all we had to do was purchase a Kleenex box at the dollar store to make up the difference. I considered the movie to be free since I got it for $10 and the rebate was worth $10; and the other products I had to purchase were going to be purchased anyway. It was at least a freebie for my Christmas budget, even though it wasn’t completely free for my grocery budget. Again, this promotion did not trick me into spending more money. Even the Kleenex box for $1 was a good deal and something we needed.

As a bonus, I could still possibly take advantage of the other two rebates because the Cars 2 combo pack has 3 proofs of purchase including the bar code. Rebate forms require that the proof of purchase be included and products usually only have 1 proof of purchase. Since the movie has another two proofs of purchase and I know of at least two other rebate offers, I can still possibly get some more freebies. If I’m able to find a sale of Rayovac 10 pack batteries for $5 or less, and Johnson & Johnson products for $10, then I will consider those to be freebies for my grocery budget. (Update: I also successfully used the Johnson & Johnson rebate).

(Update: There are at least four rebates offered in combination with the Disney/Pixar movie Brave this year. Brave-Kellogs $10 Rebate, rebate form here, Brave-Lip Smacker $3 Rebate, Brave-Honeysuckle White Turkey $5 rebate, rebate form here, and Brave-Shady Brook Farms $5 rebate, rebate form here. All these offers are for the Brave DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack, which should also have 3 proofs of purchase. The cheapest price found for the Brave Combo Pack is $8.96 at Walmart starting at 8 pm on Thanksgiving night. My family has a tradition where every one gets their favorite cereal on Christmas morning, so we’re likely to buy something from Kellogs. Those with similar traditions may want to check out Kellogs Coupons. There are also many ways to save on a turkey or get a free turkey, and since most people buy a turkey for Thanksgiving then one of the two turkey rebates should also be applicable for a potential rebate amount of $15 or more, when the movie only costs $9.)

The last set of freebies were received from Sears Outlet on Free Apparel Tuesdays.

  • Dress shirt $10
  • T-shirt $7
  • Shorts $10

These three items of clothing were given to me by Sears Outlet free of charge; they didn’t even charge sales tax. Sears Outlet was having a promotion where rewards members could pick one free article of clothing every Tuesday in December. It was free to join the rewards program. One point I make with rewards programs is to avoid getting multiple credit cards since that can affect your credit score. This is a simple store membership program without a credit card.

The Free Apparel Tuesdays promotion was only available at Sears Clothing Outlets, not Sears, Sears Appliance Outlets, K-mart or other Sears-owned stores. Sears Clothing Outlets are limited in number and locations. I just happen to drive close enough to one in my daily commute to work. Unfortunately, it’s too far away from where I live to make the trip worth it for my wife to go. Otherwise we would have received 6 articles of clothing. The promotion doesn’t include outerwear, coats or Levi jeans, but I still could have picked clothing that was worth more. This just happened to be what I needed. I was cautious not to buy any sweaters because one little defect in the knitting would mean a quick end to the sweater. Clothes outlets are usually filled with cast-off clothing, off season items, and clothes with defects in the sewing. I had to sift through a lot of these to find clothes that I liked, but every time that I went to the store I was able to find at least 6 articles of clothing that were acceptable. This promotion almost tricked me into spending money that I would not have spent otherwise, but I resisted.

(Update: Sears Apparel Outlet continued the promotion until September 2012. They are not bringing it back for the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It is uncertain if they will bring it back for the Tuesday after Black Friday and the rest of December leading up to Christmas. Lets cross our fingers on that one.)

When you add the prices of all items above they come out to $298.50. These were all sale prices so I think it’s safe to assume that they are worth over $300. They may have been worth close to $500 in retail prices or more. There were a couple items that I tried to get but wasn’t able to. Fry’s Electronics had a 10 piece USB adapter set that sold out before I got there. Victoria Secret was also giving away a free pair of panties which sold out before my wife got there (not for me to wear but definitely for me to enjoy, if you know what I mean. I wouldn’t go into any more details since this is a family friendly site. Part of me is actually glad we didn’t get that freebie because I think Victoria Secret is contributing to the moral decay of our society with excessive, open, inappropriate advertising in public places and on TV time slots that are seen too often by kids, teens, and men who should keep their eyes on the prize of their own wives. Wow, way off the topic of freebies).

If I had decided to be really ambitious, I could have received over $1,000 or more in products this Christmas season. There were many other free samples, free services, and free products after rebate that were available. I didn’t take advantage of them because I didn’t need them. But if I had made the effort to get them, I could have sold them online for a significant profit. The most notable deals were for free after rebate software and computer accessories at Fry’s Electronics and Newegg.com. Those who are interested in software and computer accessories should continue to pay attention to these stores (as well as Office Depot and Staples) well into January, since I understand computers and electronics have better sales after Christmas. I expect that rebate offers will continue to be made available.

(Update: Fry’s Electronics and Newegg.com have continued to offer free after rebates throughout the year. Other major rebate retailers are Microcenter and Tiger Direct. Occassionally rebates have been found at other retailers including Staples, Office Depot, Big Lots, Ace Hardware, Pep Boys and others)

(Update: a graduate student actually pays for tuition by buying products for Free After Rebate and selling them online, see articles about him in the Huffington Post and Business Insider).

(I’ve already begun getting freebies for the holidays this year. Of course you can expect another post like this one sometime before Christmas. Again, this article from last year was reposted to help readers find holiday freebies this year. It is strategically posted the week before Black Friday, one of the biggest days of the year not just for good deals, but also for freebies. Last year freebies were also discovered throughout December and these will continue to be reported on the Free Stuff Friday weekly blog event or on the days they are valid).

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