College-me was penniless, and no free pizza – or free anything really – was safe from me. Working several minimum wage jobs, and limiting college debt propelled me to muscle through undergrad in three years. Add a little more scrounging during grad school, and you might understand why I felt entitled to live like a “grown up” after I graduated.
To me, that meant not penny-pinching, and spreading out my lifestyle to enjoy my generous income. Our newfound Journey to Financial Independence has changed that. If we want to squirrel away all our precious acorns, it’s time I pulled my college-kid superpowers out of mothballs.
What’s amazing is how easy it is to find a cheap deal or a freebie now. When I was in college, Facebook was a wild frontier, and I only used the word viral in Biology 101. To drudge up a free deal, I had to hear about it through word-of-mouth from my fellow penniless students, or walk by a desperate group offering free pizza in exchange for breathing humans in their meetings. Now, social media has changed everything.
Yesterday, I did nothing out of the ordinary, and these deals practically fell into my lap:
As I mentioned on Twitter last night, The Dispatcher is available for free right now.
Hey Freebie lovers. Check out this Audible book for free. Good reviews too! https://t.co/aTmMryzYi5
— Grasshopper (@GrashprRetEarly) October 7, 2016
As of yesterday, Amazon added free books to its ever-growing list of Prime benefits. https://www.wired.com/2016/10/amazon-adds-free-books-ever-growing-list-prime-benefits/ I am an enthusiastic Prime subscriber (my favorite subscription includes refills of garbage bags for the diaper genie routinely delivered to my doorstep. You NEVER want to run out of those at 3 a.m.), and enjoy the smorgasbord of benefits it offers. This particular development, however, actually inspired me to cancel my subscription to Kindle Unlimited, which at $10 per months was shockingly more expensive than I realized. Amazon only has about 1000 titles at the moment, but I am certain it will improve. I also really liked the inclusion of magazines, and travelogues.
The Library of course. Love thy public library, and its digital arm. For anyone who doesn’t want an Audible or Amazon Prime membership weighing them down, your local librarian is just begging to make your life more wonderful.
But girls – and boys – cannot live by books alone (or so I’m told), and must occasionally get out to stretch. In addition to Amazon Prime Video’s extensive collection of workout videos (I swear Amazon is not paying me to say this. I really just dig their service!) and those on Netflix, I have recently scored a week of free classes at my town’s new yoga studio. It made me realize that for the shame-proof among us (me), it never hurts to call a local gym/studio to ask if they have any dirt cheap or free offers.
Extensions like Qmee (I’m sure there are others out there, but I am simply unaware of them) track your searches, and recommend relevant vendor websites. (https://www.qmee.com) Users either receive a couple of cents, or a discount code by using the recommended websites, and can make a couple of extra dollars over the long run. [Mr. Grasshopper adds that he has been using Google Opinion Rewards to make a few extra bucks by taking surveys.] These are really not money-making ventures, but more of a fun way to add a couple of cents to your PayPal account.
While websites like Ebates (https://www.ebates.com/) give you cash back for your purchases (Ebates tells me I’ve made $81.31 over the last several years I used it), other websites like RetailMeNot (https://www.retailmenot.com/) are a must-visit for coupon codes and discounts. I firmly believe that there is no reason to ever pay for shipping; especially during Christmas shopping, and these two websites regularly make that possible for me.
I’m sure there are several other great avenues for freebies/discounts that I cannot think of right now. And, I fear would simply overwhelm this post to add a bunch of deals that might not be available tomorrow. But, please add any recommendations that you may have to the comments section below.