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1st June
written by LS Girl

Get awesome stuff for free:  Coupons, Points & Meta-Shopping. Learn how to turn money saved and points earned into free stuff.  I’m not talking about rationalizing or fibbing to ones self.  I’m talking about cold, hard, virtual dollars, invested in something timeless and meaningful.  Are you ready to start earning free stuff?  Let’s get started!

Less fun, step one:  Secure an emergency fund. I would be a terrible person if I lead you down a path in which you looked smashing, but could not afford brake pads for your automobile.  Therefore, step one is – get an emergency fund.  An emergency fund is a separate bank account that just sits there all by itself, is not linked to an existing bill pay account, and is not available at a moment’s notice.  It is a real honest to goodness savings account.  Put at least one thousand dollars into your emergency fund.  Having $1,000.00 available for emergencies helps you avoid credit card debt.

More fun, step two:  Use Points.  Get points for the stuff you buy anyway.  This includes “meta-shopping” (using credit cards that get points on sites that let you spend points). This link is a step-by-step guide for using American Express points on, and below is a real-world example of “meta-shopping”.

LS Girl needs to buy charcoal filters for her grind and brew coffee maker.

Her American Express is set up to earn points.

She orders filters she would buy anyway, using her American Express card on  This racks up 40 American Express Points that she then applies as cash the next time she has to order filters (or vacuum bags, or a new cell phone case, etc).

free stuff gift cards

Your wheels should be turning now, literally.  Automobiles are a significant source for free money.  Gasoline, maintenance, repairs; these things are a must.  Use your credit card, earn points, pay the balance in full, and you have literally just received free money.

Another fun option is to buy yourself gift cards with your points, and designate a “gift-card holiday weekend”.  Here is another real world example:

LS Girl buys charcoal filters, vacuum bags, gasoline, and groceries throughout the year, racking up points on her credit card, while paying her bill in full, each month.

At the end of the year, she has 20,000 points, so she goes online and purchases gift cards for herself.  $50 for a restaurant she likes.  $25 to a retail store where she shops frequently.  $50 for a salon that has exceptional service.  $50 for the local gas station.

When the gift cards arrive in the mail, LS Girl phones a friend and arranges lunch, pedicures, and dinner, all at no cost to either person.  It’s free.  Then, when summer arrives, she takes a road trip to Massachusetts and goes on a whale watch, using her gas card to fill her tank.

Also fun, step three:  Use coupons, tally the savings for a Virtual Savings Account.

Cut coupons for groceries, and bank your savings.  Most receipts print out a tally the money you saved using coupons and discounts.  Document this information, and when you hit your goal, purchase that specific item.  For example, let’s say you want a new dual speed reversible cordless drill that costs $179.  Cut coupons and do your normal shopping, saving the receipts with the amount saved printed on them.  Once your savings add up to $179, buy the drill.

A few guidelines:

  • Pay off your credit cards each month.  The savings and free stuff don’t work if you’re actually over spending.
  • Only buy the things you would purchase, anyway.  Do not buy 15 frozen dinners because they are on sale and you have a coupon.  Buy 15 frozen dinners because you were going to procure two weeks inventory of frozen food, and as luck would have it, this week’s paper has a coupon.
  • Save money.  “Pay yourself first”.  Secure a comfortable savings, and then treat yourself to some new stuff.

Thank you for reading Readers who liked this story also liked:  “Finding Jeans that Fit”.  Be on the lookout for lifestuff’s upcoming article, “Tips on Organizing and Getting Rid of Clutter”.


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