It's great to get 'stuff' for free, and the internet is a wonderful way of finding things for free, and also finding discounts, price comparisons. In this week's blog, I am going to talk about ways to find vouchers, enter competitions, and get free samples.
As with anything online, be careful! if you are going to use any of these sites, you should:
- Use a separate email account that you check periodically. This will help prevent your inbox being inundated with SPAM (junk email)
- be careful what data you give out - don't use your real date of birth for example. And don't give away bank details to anyone - no matter how convincing.
- I won't enter competitions that require a fee / cost of a phone call etc.
- Wherever you can, ensure you opt out of the marketing information - this will limit the amount of SPAM you get.
The first site I want to show you is useful for so many things. The weekly email and website provide extensive information to help you both manage and save money. You can sign up for free to the weekly updates. Martin searches for deals, has information on price changes, links to samples, and offers a wealth of advice and information. I often pick up deals and information through this site. Because it is respected, and the links are vetted, your chances of being scammed are low. I would recommend signing up for the newsletter.
People can and do win stuff through competitions. However, you should be cautious about the competitions you enter, as many of them are a way of harvesting your information for marketing purposes, and some are scams. And of course, some cost you money. Most magazines and newspapers have their own competition sections, and they are usually genuine, and do little beyond collect your information for marketing. I do regularly enter competitions that appeal, and over the years, have won quite a few things, although they have been mostly small. The Money Saving Expert's forum also contains links to lists of competitions, and often gives the answers. As they are tested, they are likely to be genuine.
Why pay full price for items when you can get a discount? Many stores offer vouchers that you can find online. They can be printed and used in store, kept on your phone to show at the time of the purchase, or used directly online. If you are planning a large purchase, or even a meal out, it's worth searching for a voucher first. however, searching for individual vouchers can be time consuming, so there are a number of sites that make it easier for you.
Vouch Plugin - this is added to your browser (Chrome / Safari / Firefox etc) and when you shop online, a message pops up to tell you of any vouchers you could use on that site. I've often found some good deals, although not all of the vouchers are valid for your purchase - there are still terms and conditions. But it does save a lot of time searching!
Voucher Codes sends out regular emails with vouchers for a range of items. I haven't used them for a while, but I am still signed up, and every now and again take advantage of one of the deals. I've never tried Wowcher mainly because their advertising annoys me so much, but it is another option to consider, if you don't want to search for vouchers.
Many companies offer free samples, especially when they have a new product, and want to persuade people to buy it. It is possible to search online for samples, and sign up for those you want, but again there are sites that take the hard work out of this for you. I like Magic Freebies and have received a number of samples through this site. The offers are sometimes limited, but they do have a wide range. Be cautious though, because some of the offers require you to sign up for marketing calls.
There are sites that offer cashback on your shopping, but generally, you do need to shop a lot online to take advantage of this. Often, categories like groceries are excluded from online shopping, and you access your shopping site through the Cashback site. Effectively they make their money by directing traffic to a website. i am signed up with Quidco, but found the rewards so low I stopped using them. But I do have a friend who buys a lot online, and does click and collect, and builds up her cashback in this way. She made back around £300.00, but this included purchasing insurance online.
There is a lot of free stuff out there, and you can use the internet to search for deals, the cheapest place to buy something, and for vouchers to save you money. Remember though, if it's free online, you're usually the product, and free stuff is mostly used for marketing. Be careful.