Make April Your Month of FREE

It’s the start of another week; the beginning of another month. April is here! I love this time of year for many reasons, but feeling like it’s the start of something fresh and new is one of the main reasons. I can tell myself, okay, now’s the time. Do this or that, but do something and stop putting it off! What do you have planned? What are you going to do with this new opportunity?

Recently I posted on my Catching Raindrops Facebook page about my March month of FREE. I listed a number of freebies I’d been rewarded with through various retailers and restaurants where I’m a member of their clubs or rewards programs — for free, of course. Because I don’t believe in paying to be a member of a program that then pretends to “pay” you back with freebies, when in reality you’re already paying for it.

So someone asked me where I’d gotten some of the items, and how I was able to get so much. I told her, from just going through my regular life. I believe that if you’re already shopping regularly at a particular grocery, and that store happens to have a program where you can automatically save money on your gas purchases, and receive points every time you buy groceries, or go to the pharmacy, or fill that gas tank — WHY WOULDN’T YOU WANT to sign up and get even MORE?

If you’re a frequent visitor at the same restaurants or shop at the same clothing store, or buy a lot of your make up from the same beauty products place, or your household goods from mostly the same place, and they’re offering you a customer loyalty card with discounts on purchases, and freebies for birthdays, and surprise gifts throughout the year….GET THE CARD!

I’ve posted about my freebies and savings many times before on that same Facebook page. But every time I do, I still have some followers asking me how I did it. I tell them the same thing…start joining these rewards programs. And if it’s a place that offers coupons on top of savings, take advantage of that as well! I love the convenience of Kroger’s digital coupons, their Friday Free downloads, and some of the weekend only specials they’ve been doing lately.

This past weekend, I was in line at a World Market, getting my free bottle of olive oil, when the woman behind me asked the cashier if the olive oil as free to everyone. She told her no, just for Rewards members. So I turned to her and said, but it’s free to join and you can do it today. And I proceeded to tell her about the birthday rewards and special gifts throughout the year; bragging on the bag of coffee I’d gotten a couple of months ago. She said her birthday was coming up in two weeks, and so I said “All the more reason to sign up today!” And so she did. You’re welcome #WorldMarket

There is no magic to it. But there are some rules I try to follow. 

  • Don’t get cards to places where you don’t already frequent.
  • Don’t make purchases on thing you don’t need just to drive up your points. You’ve already lost the benefit of the FREE!
  • Don’t drive across town to redeem a free reward. If you’re spending five dollars in gas just to pick up that five dollar bag of coffee, it wasn’t free!
  • Create a separate email address to use when you sign up. Then once a week check it. This will help eliminate your fear of them spamming your business or personal emails. I use an old AOL one I’ve had forever!
  • Never pay for the membership cards. Free should start with you not paying to be member.
  • Do be sure to include your birthday information, as most businesses with customer loyalty programs often start by giving you something on your birthday.
  • Remember that even when it’s something you don’t want, it might be the something someone else needs. Rather than ignore the freebies, I like to gather many of the free food items, take them to school, and give out to hungry and broke college students.

The main thing is to get started. And then remember to redeem the rewards! I hate it when I let a freebie expire because I wasn’t paying attention.

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