freebie sign ups

Do you ever wonder if signing up for freebies really makes a financial difference?

I mean, beyond the initial freebie-adrenaline rush?

One of the best things about blogging since 2009 is I've got a well-kept, easily searchable diary of my financial dealings, ideas, and what if's.

And guess what? I decided to sift through the last 7ish years of blog posts to see what the financial impact of signing up for freebies has been for our household.

It's all about the numbers, and I'm about to share mine.

$2,027.79 in Actual Cash from Swagbucks since 2009

One afternoon − March 14, 2009 to be exact − I decided to give Swagbucks a try. It's an online search engine where you earn swagbucks (SB) periodically for searches you're doing anyway.

Man am I glad I did! My lifetime SB earnings since that day has been 205,255. I cash these points in for Paypal cash (5,000 points equals $50), which has yielded me *drum roll please*…$2027.79! Just for surfing the internet over the last 7 years.

What I love about this one?

  • You (yes, you!) can refer people through your referral link (here's mine), and you then earn some of their SB earnings.
  • They allow you to cash out through Paypal, and it doesn't cost more points to get cash like in other reward programs I'm part of (such as my credit card reward points).
  • You could do this for several years, and then cash in for something amazing, like an awesome vacation!

$183.59 in College Expenses Earnings through UPromise since 2002

Back in 2002 I was a broke college student. But I wanted to get my baby niece a Christmas gift anyway. So I decided to sign her up for UPromise, and link all of the reward cards I could (plus anyone else's in the family's that would participate) to this account.

She now has $183.59 sitting in an account that she can spend on college in 3-4 years from now. It's not a lot, but it certainly can buy a few textbooks that first semester. Not to mention it's completely free money. Since I linked our grocery loyalty cards, I just buy what I would normally buy anyway and every so often her college account gets money sent to it.

Sweet.

What I love about this one?

  • While you need to remember to update your reward cards over the years, the money just accumulates without you having to lift a finger. Of course if you want to maximize this program, it's best to go to the website and do your online shopping through them as well (they're a portal to online retailers and as long as you click the retailer's link from their website, you will earn the percentage promised).
  • You can change the beneficiary designation on the account at anytime, in case the person you originally planned this for no longer wants to go to college.
  • You can use this program to earn free money towards paying off your student loans if you're with Sallie Mae! Click here for program details.

$1079.48 in Cash for Our Honeymoon from a Variety of Sources

You can read about my big savings goal for our honeymoon to Austria here, and how I was able to save up $1,079.48 in cash from places other than our paychecks. Such as participating in a $150 market research study, $421 in bank account opening bonuses, and $27 in online survey earnings.

These are a variety of sources, and my point in talking about them here is that it really makes a big financial difference if you take smaller sources of earnings from here and there and dedicate them all towards one financial goal. So each time I received the earnings, I didn't let it sit in our checking account. I swiped it over to our savings goal account. And I watched it grow, grow, and grow…all the way until we set off on our 11-day honeymoon debt-free.

18 Free Magazine Subscriptions since 2010

Okay, so this one isn't cash. But wow has it been nice to keep up with some industry trends, plus recipes and lots more without having to pay a dime.

Magazines.com is a site I signed up for back in 2010, and since then they've sent periodic free gift cards to my email (especially around the holidays − so you might definitely want to sign up for emails now in anticipation of this holiday season) for $5 and $10 off a magazine subscription. You can see they've done it at least 18 times since 2010!

Some of my favorites have been the Rachel Ray Magazine, O Oprah Magazine, Money, and Field & Stream for my grandfather.

What I love about this one?

  • It feels like Christmas when I get a free gift card from them to use.
  • I'm lush with articles, and often send one I've read to someone who I know would enjoy it (including clipping one and leaving it on the bathroom sink for a certain someone who likes to read in there).
  • No shipping costs
  • One catch to watch out for: Magazines.com will automatically check the box “automatic renewal” for a magazine subscription. So after ordering one, make sure you manage that subscription by un-checking the automatic renewal box…unless you want to have it automatically renew.

All in all, I'm happy with the results. I have certainly learned some lessons with signing up for freebies, as far as which ones are worth my time and which ones are not.

Now that I'm constantly looking for ways to optimize and simplify my life + time, I can confidently move forward with the same programs above and unsubscribe from others that are still sending email offers.

What are some of your favorite freebie offers? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

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