I have a new goal for 2008: that as many purchases as possible will be either:
*accompanied by some kind of freebie
*count for some kind of 'reward'
*or all of them put together!
So far, things are going better than I hoped. I found the Ebates site:
(put me -- email@example.com -- as your referral, and we both earn bonus $$!)
This site lets you earn money back on purchases, like Home Depot gift cards. (In my case, we would have spent money at Home Depot anyway, so this is a nice little perk.) The rub comes, though, when you want to buy things you shouldn't. Keep yourself under control, and this will be a nice little money-back site!
Another goodie is http://www.cashcrate.com/
You complete surveys, etc., and get money credited for them. This site, you really have to be careful. The surveys are constantly asking for info I don't feel they really need to know -- and I just don't fill out stuff I'm not sure of. Which means you don't always get money credited. But I got $10 back for joining Netflix -- which was a long-planned Christmas present for Husband, anyways -- and racked up about $30 in money back. It may not seem like much to you, but $30 goes a long way in this house toward groceries.
And of course, there is always the cashback earned when you use a credit card with a rewards feature. Discover has paid off for us for several years this way.
A final case in point: Ye Olde Thrift Shop.
We're lucky to live in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation: Douglas County, Colorado. Which means that contributions to the local thrift shop tend toward The Best. During past visits, I've found everything from Peruvian llama sweaters (at $4, no less!) to designer dishware. Because I appraise items for the thrift shop, and do some repairs and restoration work on their linens now and then, I am considered a Volunteer. Which means a 25% discount, and any books I want are 10 cents each. (Which is heaven to this person, who can't stop reading everything from cereal boxes to the stuff on people's sweatshirts.)
Our family's best clothing items come from the thrift shop, though we rarely point this out. I have a leather coat with a huge furry collar ($19 on this one) that never fails to get compliments. Daughter Angel bought a leather jacket ($10) that her roommate (wealthy, from CA) begged to borrow over the holidays -- because it was nicer than anything SHE owned!
Anyways, I stopped by the thrift shop a few weeks ago, to replenish my books and see what was new. I snagged a beautiful black lambswool sweater, as well as a cotton skirt/t-shirt combo for the upcoming Brazil trip, a few videos and some Wedgewood Patrician dishware. Went up to pay, and the counter clerk said, "Did you get your gift certificate?" Turns out I had $25 credit for being a volunteer, and DARN!! walked out of there without paying a cent!
Does the thrift shop benefit from my help with appraising and repairing quilts? Of course. Is it hurting me? No, of course not -- I believe in their work in helping people in our area. God knows, with the recession alive and well in Colorado, we need it.
So I can help them -- but they're helping me, too.
See how much you can save on your next purchase! Even if it's a dollar, that sawbuck can fit quite snugly in your piggybank. Take it from someone who's trying to find $2000 extra to pay for our Brazil trip in May -- every dollar counts!