How to get 100% Off: Part 1
Welcome to Gainsayer’s exciting new series: How to Get 100% off with me, your host. In this ongoing column we will cover how to buy all that your heart desires, and through the magic of overlapping discounts, coupons, sales, and incentives, pay nothing (or next to nothing) for it! I know what you’re thinking: “You’re on needle drugs again Greg, I’m calling your sponsor!” Well, you don’t have to, because he’s dead! Dead tired of not saving enough money!
And of being a killjoy. Let’s begin.
Before we do what the smart people do, let’s break down into basic categories the types of methods we will employ. Only in aggregate can we compile sufficient incentives to eliminate costs.
- Point systems. These come in many varieties, but you may be most familiar with frequent Flyer Programs of credit Cards reward networks. Essentially, these services give you a point when you spend a dollar with their card or airline. These point typically have a cash value of about 1%. However, they offer bonus points on many occasions. Airlines in particular have a history of being generous, sometimes to their financial regret.
- Secrets and Cheats. Did you know if you are offered to be bumped on a full airline, you shouldn’t take it? I’ll explain later in an article that can serve as a complete guide to gaming the airline system, but my point is that there are rules and tricks that that THEY don’t want YOU to know about. I love talking like that. ACT NOW! CALLERS ARE STANDING BY! But wait, here’s more!
- Incentives and Special Officers. Many credit cards and saving account have special affiliation deals. These one-offs offer considerable value by offering rebates.
- Timing. Did you know the prices of products change by season as sure as the color of leaves? That’s right, for every thing there is a season, and that includes buying electronics, travel, and clothes. A few simple notes on your calendar can save you a bundle. I’m here to tell you when.
- Free Money. Distinct from coupons, cash incentives are used by banks and Apps like Acorn.
- Digital Coupons. Several easy services offers coupons on the things you already buy. There are a bunch of them, so I’m going to do some reviews.
But wait, you say, I still don’t understand how coupon clipping and penny pinching is supposed to be worth what looks like quite the spot of bother. Can’t I just rob someone? I promise I’ll only pick bad people.
No, I say there is a better way.
Take this example: you want to buy a bean bag chair because you have questionable taste, but luckily, you are money smart. A little research, and all is ready; you see that your Acorn’s accounts is offering you 20% credit on first time purchases from the retailer selling it. Then, in a big coup, you find that sight is available through the Upromise sales portal as well, and it’s also offering a credit. That is another 10%. Now it’s time to pop over to one of the gift card exchanges, big retailers can often net you a 10% discount. This is distinct from the credits as it is taken off the top and not reimbursed through some novel system. Which brings use to the use of good ol’ coupon codes entered at the purchase screen. Many sites and apps can help with these which will be covered later, but 25% is a common discount.
You: I don’t know, Greg, this all sounds like sorcery most foul, are you a witch?
Me: No, but there is a catch. These rebates can take time to show up in your accounts, and those accounts can make the money less fungible. That’s small price to pay for paying a small price.
Stay tuned for more!