Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Savings Without Coupons

While I save the MOST money using coupons from the Sunday paper or online, there are several other ways I get free products/save that do not involve coupons. Here are the 5 main ones:

1) SwagBucks
I use SwagBucks to search instead of Google. You periodically get rewarded with a "random" number of SwagBucks for your searches. Every 450 SwagBucks gets you a $5 Amazon gift card (up to 5/month). You can also earn SwagBucks by watching videos (HGTV clips, pet clips, etc), playing games, taking surveys, and from special offers. For example, we signed up for NetFlix via SwagBucks and received over $900 SwagBucks for doing so. 

2) Focus Groups
There are multiple market research companies near my home that conduct focus groups. Basically, a group of "random" people are assembled to discuss opinions on something: a product, a television show, a company, etc.  Some recent ones I've done included focus groups on the CIA's marketing, a new wing of the Texas Children's Hospital, the portrayal of Black people in the media, and more.  I've gotten paid between $85 & $200 for 60-120 minutes of my time. In two of the focus groups last year, I received a small digital camcorder as well!  Search for focus groups in your city to see what is available.

3) Viewpoints
This site consists of reviews for tons of products, written by the general public.  I have learned to only write reviews when they offer deals like $10 Amazon gift card for 10 reviews or $25 Amazon gift card for 20 reviews.  Nice way to score easy money. My reviews have been of things like Crest toothpaste, the Magic Bullet blender, Dove deodorant, Puffs tissue, Toshiba laptop, & more!

4) Pinecone Research
For women only, this company sends tailored surveys about products (or flavors of products) that haven't come out yet. Based on your responses (about product packaging, cost, perception, etc.) you may be chosen to receive a full size to try. Then you come back & fill out a second survey.  You get $3 per survey, plus any product.
I can't say any specifics (you agree to secrecy), but to give you an idea, here are the two most recent advanced products I got: a box of instant oatmeal and a box of snack crackers. I like the idea of influencing future products!

5) Vocalpoint
Note: This one involves coupons, but you can get good samples even without using the coupons.
This site occasionally sends out great samples & high value coupons to active members. The coupons have often resulted in free products like Crystal Light, Pantene, toothpaste, etc.  Plus the site has great articles & tips on frugality, finances, products, and general everyday topics.

Honorable Mention: RecycleBank, Nielsen Mobile, Pampers Gifts to Grow

Are there any sites/tips you have for savings without coupons?

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