Fall Fitness: 3 Frugal Tips to Save Money on Autumn Exercise

fallexercise_mainBathing suit season may be wrapping up, but that’s no excuse to let your body go. Fall is an ideal time to get in shape and boost your metabolism by doing exercises.

There are many reasons for this. First of all, summer provides a wealth of outdoor activities that allow you to get exercise, whether done for that reason or not. As the weather cools down, so might your activity level, but regular exercise can help to make up for that. Second, the cold weather and extra food consumption during the fall often cause people to become sluggish and to gain extra pounds. Circumvent fall weight gain by getting started on a sustainable exercise program now. And that leads me to the final reason fall is a great time to get in shape: Fall is a busy time filled with events and gatherings with family and friends. Surprise them with how great you look by taking the initiative now to tone up and lose weight. It will give you new confidence if you’re at your own personal best.

Need some help keeping your budget in shape while you do some autumn exercises? Have no fear! We have some tips to help:

3 Thrifty Tips to Get in Shape on a Budget

  1. Do double duty. fallexercise_dogwalkGetting in shape need not be an exercise in futility. Did you ever consider that you burn calories just by doing normal work around the house? Get 2 things done at once by combining exercise and routine tasks, including fall gardening, raking leaves, mopping, vacuuming, cleaning out your garage or basement, taking the dog(s) for a walk, etc. You’ll be pleased at your accomplishments in more ways than one, and it’s an inexpensive way to get exercise.
  2. Bundle up and enjoy the cool weather. Although nights may get cooler, fall, especially earlier in the season, is still a good time to enjoy the great outdoors. Put on an extra layer and enjoy the outdoor opportunities for free exercise, including jogging in the park, hiking on trails, riding your bicycle, rollerblading, or going on a simple walk around the neighborhood. There are some individuals who exercise outside all year long, so don’t let a little chill in the air scare you.
  3. Buy secondhand exercise equipment. Fall may be in the air, but you may still see some lingering garage and estate sales. Take advantage of these sales to find used exercise equipment at a greatly reduced price. Many sellers may be looking to free up space in their home or garage and to clean up before the holidays arrive. That motivation may make them more likely to give you an excellent deal. Other places to check out include flea markets, classifieds, Craig’s List, Freecycle, and local online selling groups. Thrift stores, consignment shops, and secondhand exercise equipment stores are also good resources to find reduced-price exercise equipment and supplies.

Don’t Forget to Shop FreeShipping.com for Frugal Deals

Still looking for more tips on how to exercise during the fall without spending more than needed? Well, you should know that FreeShipping.com is an easy way to get what you need at fantastic savings! With no-cost shipping, exclusive and stackable coupons and discounts, and 10% cash back, FreeShipping.com makes it so simple to save!

fallexercise_champion

Want to work out like a champion? Check out Champion for authentic and sturdy sports apparel. Since 1919, Champion has been providing athletic apparel for men, women, and kids designed to keep you comfortable and cool. They have devoted themselves to unbeatable service and customer satisfaction.

fallexercise_athleta

Looking for women’s workout clothing that is both attractive and tough? Athleta offers high-performing athletic clothing that works hard and looks good. Part of the Gap Clothing brand, Athleta offers apparel suitable for yoga, running, dance, and the gym. They also have comfortable clothing in other categories, like dresses, swim wear, and shoes.

fallexercise_gaiam

Get your fitness fix with help from Gaiam. Do you need yoga mats, clothing, balance balls, workout videos, or wellness products? You will find products for the entire family from Gaiam with an emphasis on natural living and striving for a healthy mind, body, home, and planet. Not only will you find a product line designed to improve your health and well-being, but they also feature a free trial of Gaiam TV transformation network that provides streaming videos to support your goals.

We hope this post inspires you to start an exercise routine this fall that works for you and is sustainable for the long haul. When you follow our tips, you will save money in the process. Like these tips? Show it by sharing this blog post with your family and friends!

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Exercise, Fall savings, FreeShipping.com, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Healthcare, Healthcare savings, Member Benefits, Money-Saving Tips, Personal care | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Packing a Lunch: 3 Thrifty Tips to Save Money on Making School Lunches

schoollunch_mainSchool days are here again. If you’re the parent of school-age children, not only does this mean more work for you, it can also mean more expense. Amongst all of the school supplies and new clothes, making lunches to send to school with the kids can really take a bite out of your budget. With a little smart thinking and planning ahead, you can provide tasty and nutritious school lunches without spending a fortune.

3 Ways to Serve School Lunches on a Budget

  1. Skip single-serving foods, and buy in bulk instead. It’s so convenient to buy pre-packaged, individual serving food items, but there’s an extra cost for that convenience. Instead of buying these single-serving foods, buy the same items in bulk, and split them up yourself. It’s a little more work, but your budget will reap the positive rewards. Instead of buying small bags of chips, buy a large bag, and divide it up. Buy a large bottle of juice, and fill up a reusable cup. Apply the same concept with snacks, cookies, pretzels, water, canned fruit, pudding, gelatin, etc.schoollunch_containers
  2. Invest in reusable containers. Instead of buying plastic sandwich bags or brown paper bags to use for lunches, invest in some reusable items. I purchased reusable, insulated lunch bags for my kids with their names printed on them. They keep foods cold, can be easily wiped off, and can be used over and over again. They save us money and are more eco-friendly than comparable options. You can also buy reusable cups or a Thermos, sandwich containers, eating utensils, divided containers, and other food storage products. Using these reusable items instead of disposable ones will make school lunches a little easier on your budget and the environment.
  3. Plan your lunch menu around sales and coupons. Shopping the sales is a great way to save when making school lunches. Look for items that are on sale each week, and plan your menu around those. Not only does this save you serious coin, it can also provide some variety for your kids when it comes to eating. When you combine sale prices, reward card discounts, and coupons, you’ll be pleased at how inexpensively you can provide quality lunches for your school children.

If done correctly, packing a lunch can actually be much cheaper than buying a lunch out. Think outside the (lunch) box to find creative ways to save.

schoollunch_groceryshopping

FreeShipping.com Can Help You Save on Money-Saving Containers

As one of our money-saving tips, we mentioned why it makes sense to buy reusable lunch containers. We are happy to inform you that FreeShipping.com can help you save money on those containers when you shop online using your membership. As a member, you have access to free shipping, exclusive coupons and discounts, and 10% cash back. It’s such a hassle-free way to save on ALL of your online shopping!

The Container Store is one of my favorite places to shop for all things organizational. They have devoted their entire inventory to making storage simple. For back-to-school shoppers, they have a special section on their website called Lockers & Lunches designed to make sure all of your classroom needs are met. Need a little assistance putting together lunches? Check out The Container Store’s article Pack a Lunch Your Kids Will Eat. Then check out their Lunchtime Essentials for a full selection of lunch carriers; food and beverage containers; and utensils and ice substitutes. You’ll find countless attractive and practical options that will make putting together lunches a snap.

Here’s to delicious school lunches on a dime all school-year long!

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Back-to-school, Back-to-school savings, Fall savings, Family Needs, Family Savings, Food, Free Shipping, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Home savings, Meal Planning, Meals, Money-Saving Tips, Savings, School savings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Back-to-School Savvy: 3 Smart Strategies to Save Money at College

BacktoSchool_MainIs it back-to-school time already?! It sure is! If you’re a college student on a small budget, this can be a frustrating time of year. There are so many things to buy and so little money to spend! But it’s important to see this time for the learning experience that it is — preparation for future budget management and savvy spending later in life. Let us help you ease your financial burden a bit with some tips to save on back-to-college needs.

3 Smart and Savvy Strategies to Save on Back-to-School Needs

  1. BacktoSchool_middleShop around for textbooks. One of the biggest out-of-pocket college expenses can be textbooks for all of your various courses. Despite only being used for a semester at a time, these college textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars each. But there’s no need to pay more than you have to. There are plenty of ways to save on textbooks, including buying them used, renting them, getting digital copies, borrowing a friend’s, or buying them and selling them again after use. The key is to get creative in order to save serious coin!
  2. Bring your own furniture, or buy furniture secondhand. Need to furnish your dorm room or rental? Furniture can be a hefty expense, but there are ways to save on it. If you have furniture that you can bring from home, that’s the easiest way to keep costs low. If you must buy furnishings, check out garage and estate sales, along with thrift and consignment shops. Other resources to consider include eBay, Craig’s List, Freecyle, and local barter, exchange, and sales groups.
  3. Make your own meals. It can be costly to eat, whether at the school cafeteria, on-campus restaurants, or local area dining establishments. You can cut costs and calories by cooking your own meals whenever possible. Making your own food is normally cheaper than purchasing it out. Stock up on healthy and inexpensive snacks to carry around with you on campus. Look for sale prices, cut coupons, and buy in bulk when shopping for food. Cook meals in bulk, and freeze portions for easy eating in the future.

By planning ahead and thinking outside the box, it can be fairly easy to save money on college expenses. Need more help getting those textbooks for cheap? We have a couple of fantastic resources guaranteed to save you money.

BacktoSchool_BottomFreeShipping.com Will Keep Money in Your Pocket this School Year

If you’re looking to save on college supplies this semester, using your FreeShipping.com membership is a no-brainer! As a member, you have exclusive access to no-cost shipping, special coupons and discounts, and 10% cash back. With perks like this, you’ll be saving all school year long!

Are you interested in saving money on college textbooks? Whether you’re looking to rent or sell textbooks, College Book Renter can help you to keep more money in your pocket. Renting can often offer significant savings over buying, and once you’re done using the book, you can ship it back for free. Have textbooks that you need to get rid of, but you want to get some money back? Sell your textbooks to College Book Renter, ship your books to them for free, and get cash or credit for future textbook rentals or purchases. That’s a lot easier than selling to individuals!

Want another option for renting or buying textbooks? Consider TextbookStop.com for your college textbooks needs. They have millions of textbooks in their inventory for you to rent. Once you’re done with the books, you ship them back at no expense. You can also buy textbooks from TextbookStop.com at cheap prices and with next-business-day shipping. Do you have some textbooks lying around that you no longer have a use for? Get some money back by selling them to TextbookStop.com.

We hope that we have provided you with plenty of helpful ideas regarding how you can save as you head back to college! Do you know any other students who could use a helping hand when it comes to saving money? Be a pal, and share this blog post with them! ;)

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Back-to-school, Back-to-school savings, College, College savings, Fall savings, Free Shipping, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Money-Saving Tips, School savings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Welcome to the Redesigned, Newly Enhanced FreeShipping.com!

Redesigned_MainWe trust you’ve noticed all the renovations we’ve made to the FreeShipping.com website.  (If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to check out the redesigned site now.)  In addition to the sleek new look and the easier access to your benefits and your savings at all of our participating retailers, we’re especially happy about one specific upgrade we’ve made:

FreeShipping.com members now earn 10% cash back at over 1,000 top retailers — just by shopping through our links!

After the overwhelmingly positive response to the roll-out of our 5% cash-back benefit in early 2013, we decided that the best way to improve upon it was to double the savings and more than double the number of retail sites where you can earn cash back.  Now, when you shop through our links at over 1,000 participating retailers, you’ll earn 10% cash back, automatically applied to your Savings Center account.  Plus, you can use the coupons on each participating retailer’s page to save even more — right at checkout — via free shipping codes, special discounts, and more.

Of course, you can still enjoy all of the additional FreeShipping.com benefits — shipping and return shipping rebates, as well as price protection rebates — that you’ve come to know and love.  Better yet, you can now track all of your member savings through our revamped, easy-to-use Savings Center.

We’ve long believed that we offer the most comprehensive, rewarding suite of shopping and shipping savings available anywhere online, but our mission is to keep improving our features and benefits.  That’s why we renovated the site and doubled our cash-back offer to 10% — but we’re not done yet.  Be sure to check out FreeShipping.com in the coming weeks as we continue to enhance our members’ shopping experiences!

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Double Cash Back, Family Savings, FreeShipping.com, FreeShipping.com Benefits, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Home savings, Member Benefits, Misc, Money-Saving Tips, Retailer Deals, Retailer Savings, Savings | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

How to Earn 10% Cash Back at FreeShipping.com

Earn10perCashBack_topBy now, we hope everyone is aware that FreeShipping.com members can consistently earn 10% cash back at over 1,000 top retailers.

We also hope all of our members take full advantage of our 10% cash-back benefit, which offers them up to $1,000 in savings every membership year.  To aid in our members’ efforts, we thought we’d provide a friendly guide on how to earn 10% cash back at FreeShipping.com, starting with the most obvious question.

How do I earn 10% cash back at FreeShipping.com?

The easiest way to explain how to earn 10% cash back is this:  Just shop through the FreeShipping.com 10% cash-back links.

What does “shop through the FreeShipping.com 10% cash-back links” mean, exactly?

Excellent question.  What it means is that, to earn 10% cash back on a purchase, you have to make your purchase in the specific browser window that opens when you click a “Visit Store” button on our Home page or on a participating cash-back retailer’s page on our website.

Specifically, when you click a “Visit Store” coupon button, an interstitial page will appear in your browser window, explaining the terms of the coupon offer.  If the coupon requires a code, you can copy the code there.  The browser window will then redirect you to the retailer’s site.  Just use that browser window to shop and to make your purchase.  Once the retailer alerts us to your purchase, we’ll apply your 10% cash back to your Savings Center account.

If you click the “Visit Store” button at the top of a retailer’s FreeShipping.com page instead of a coupon button, the exact same process applies, but you won’t see an interstitial page displaying the terms of the coupon offer.

Earn10perCashBack_middleSo, can I earn 10% cash back by clicking on any FreeShipping.com “Visit Store” button?

Not quite.  Over 1,000 online retailers participate in our 10% cash-back network, and you can earn 10% cash back when you make a purchase through the browser window that opens when you click on any of their “Visit Store” buttons.  However, we also want to make sure our members can save pretty much anywhere they shop online, so we offer rebates on their shipping charges at retailers that don’t participate in our network (we are FreeShipping.com, after all).  We also offer coupon links to those retailers to help our members save even more.

Any retailer that appears on our Home page participates in our 10% cash-back network, and the message at the top of their FreeShipping.com pages says, “Get 10% Cash Back ….”  Retailers that don’t participate in our cash-back network can be identified by the “Rebates Only” ribbon; the message at the top of non-participating retailers’ pages says, “Unfortunately, your purchases at … aren’t eligible for 10% Cash Back …”

When you click the “Visit Store” button on a non-participating retailer’s coupon, you won’t earn 10% cash back, but you can claim the coupon savings by following the retailer’s instructions.  (Plus, if you pay for shipping on your purchase, you can claim a rebate of up to $10 on that shipping charge; just click the “Rebates” tab on FreeShipping.com to start submitting your rebate claim.)

Rest assured that you can earn 10% cash back when you click the vast majority of “Visit Store” links on FreeShipping.com, but even if a retailer doesn’t participate in our cash-back network, you can still save when you start your online shopping trip through our website.

Are there any other reasons why I wouldn’t earn 10% cash back on a purchase?

Another excellent question.  There are a few other reasons, mostly related to the fact that we rely on our participating retailers to inform us, electronically and automatically, whenever our members make purchases that qualify for 10% cash back.  That means FreeShipping.com members need to use our links all the way through the check-out process, so the retailers know they’ve come from our website.

Therefore, please note that you won’t get 10% cash back on a purchase if:

  • You’re not a FreeShipping.com member. (Sorry; the 10% cash-back benefit is available exclusively to program members.  If you’re not a member yet, click here to join.)
  • You go directly to a participating retailer’s website to make a purchase instead of using one of our links.
  • You reach a participating retailer’s website by clicking a different website’s link.
  • You change, cancel, or return a purchase you’ve made through one of our links.*
  • Your purchase doesn’t meet the restrictions imposed by a participating retailer.
  • You have multiple tabs open for the same retailer, and you make your purchase on a page other than the one you opened by clicking on a FreeShipping.com link.
  • You make several purchases across multiple brand retailers while using a single shopping cart provided by a “parent” company to these various brands. (To be eligible for 10% cash back, you can only make purchases at one retailer at a time when shopping through our links.)
  • You type a new address (URL) in the window that opened when you clicked on a FreeShipping.com retailer’s link.
  • You’ve already reached your annual maximum of $1,000 in 10% cash-back earnings. Fortunately, you can start earning 10% cash back on purchases as soon as your next membership year begins.  (Please note that you may not earn a full 10% cash back on the purchase that takes you to the $1,000 maximum.  If you’ve already earned $995 through the 10% cash-back benefit, for instance, you’ll only receive $5 in cash-back earnings on any qualifying purchase of $50 or more.)

There are a few more 10% cash-back restrictions that involve “qualifying purchases.”  To learn more about those, please visit our Terms of Service page.

*If you return a purchase, please remember that you can claim a FreeShipping.com rebate of up to $10 on your return shipping charge.  In fact, you can claim a return shipping rebate even if you didn’t make the original purchase through one of our links.

Earn10perCashBack_bottomWhen do I get my 10% cash back?

We total up all of your cash-back earnings in a calendar quarter (January 1-March 31, April 1-June 30, July 1-September 30, October 1-December 31), and we mail you a check for that quarterly amount at the beginning of the next quarter.  For instance, if you earn $117.82 in 10% cash back from October 1 through the end of December, you’ll receive a check from us in that amount on or around January 15.

In the meantime, you can track your 10% cash-back earnings — as well as your shipping, return shipping, and price protection rebates — via the “Savings Center” tab on our website.

We hope you make the most of our newly-improved 10% cash-back benefit.  If you have any questions as a member, please feel free to ask us via the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of any FreeShipping.com page or through the “Help” tab.  If you haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity to earn 10% cash back at over 1,000 popular online retailers, we invite you to try FreeShipping.com now.

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Family Savings, FreeShipping.com, FreeShipping.com Benefits, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Home savings, Member Benefits, Member Savings, Misc, New Benefit, Resources, Retailer Savings, Savings | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Safeguard Your Money: 3 Strategies to Save Money through Internet Security

InternetSecurity“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” — Benjamin Franklin

 The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. It opens us up to a countless number of options and opportunities, but it also opens us up to vulnerability and risk, especially when it comes to finances and potential security concerns.

If you will be using the Internet for anything regarding your money — purchases, paying bills, managing your bank accounts, or investments — it just makes financial sense to safeguard yourself with the proper Internet security. A little investment today can protect and secure your money for tomorrow.

3 Ways You Can Save Money through Internet Security

  1. Invest in antivirus security. One of the easiest ways to protect your computer is by purchasing and installing antivirus software. There are various brands and security levels out there, but basically this type of software is designed to identify and wipe out computer viruses that may attack your computer through an assortment of points of entry. Considering that computer viruses can steal your account passwords and hijack your privacy, a little money spent on antivirus software is money well-spent.
  2. WirelessNetworkLock down your wireless network. You may feel safe and comfortable in your home, but if your wireless home network is not properly secured, you may be inviting strangers from across the globe into your home (believe me, I speak from experience!). Particularly for wireless networks, it’s vital to make sure that only your household members can access your network. This action does not cost you a thing, but it can save you money by ensuring that no one has access to your private financial information. The process for locking down your wireless network can vary depending on your router and networking setup, but for a general guideline, this article, entitled How To Lock Down Your Wireless Network, is helpful.
  3. Be wary of free downloads. Free is always good, right? Not so much, especially when it comes to items downloaded to your computer. You may get what was promised, but also so much more that you did not ask for, like viruses and unwanted setting changes. Before you download, check to make sure that it’s coming from a reputable site. Read all the fine print to find out what exactly you will be downloading. Before you do any downloading, make sure your Windows operating system and antivirus software are up-to-date to help protect your computer in the unfortunate scenario that you download something harmful.

Prevention is ideal, but awareness can help to minimize adverse effects if a breach of security does occur. Regularly monitor your financial accounts for activity you do not recognize. Also pay attention to any bizarre computer activity after you download anything new or use an unsecured or public wireless network.

FreeShipping.com Can Help You Secure Your Internet and Pocketbook

We’re all about saving you money. When you sign up for a FreeShipping.com membership, you get immediate access to our great member benefits, including cost-free shipping, exclusive coupons and discounts, and 10% cash back.

Ready to secure your online activities? Our registered retailer Smarthome is able and willing to help! Dedicated to today’s technology, Smarthome is a home automation superstore that’s able to turn any home into a smart home.

For your computer needs, Smarthome has a selection of LAN and networking supplies to provide the Internet access you need in a safe and secure way. You’ll find items perfect for home use, along with tools to provide protected Internet access when you are away from home. Smarthome also has the necessary gear to link up other home electronics to your wireless Internet network for a complete easy-to-manage and efficient home automation system.

With today’s digital technology, it’s a necessity to safeguard your money through adequate Internet security. Don’t allow modern conveniences to make it convenient for thieves to steal your wealth. Follow the steps above to protect your money and peace of mind. Don’t forget to share these helpful tips with others!

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Computer savings, Computer Threats, Electronics, Family Savings, Family Security, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Home savings, Home security, Money-Saving Tips | Tagged , , , , , ,

The Best Time to Buy and Save

Many of us shoppers are knowledgeable enough to recognize that the best time to buy an item and get a deal is when it is out of season—for example, right now all of the winter clothing is on clearance in anticipation of spring’s arrival. But just like we have meteorological seasons, did you know that the retail industry also has seasons? According to the Wall Street Journal, retailers normally have 13-20 seasons that they plan for. They generally follow a yearly cycle offering particular items on sale during certain months.

In order to be a savvy shopper, you should familiarize yourself with this cycle, and plan your purchases, particularly larger ones like appliances, furniture, and cars, so that you can maximize the potential savings. I cut an article out of the newspaper years ago that detailed which months that you should buy particular items, and have kept the guide ever since. But this chart from Savings.com makes it even simpler to keep track:

Not only do they divide up optimal purchasing times by month, but also by day and even time of day. Print out this useful chart and hang it on your refrigerator or in your office to allow you to plan ahead, and carry a copy in your wallet to prevent impromptu and ill-timed purchases. Even if something breaks down, and you need a replacement, you can look ahead to see if you might be better served waiting a month to get it.

The only item that I noticed was missing from this chart is the best time to purchase gasoline. Though they provided an optimal day of the week (Wednesday), experts like Kiplinger recommend that you get gas during the week “before dawn or late at night, when the sun and traffic volume are both down“, and before your tank is empty. Buying when it is cooler allows the gas to be denser, and ensures that you get what you pay for. Also avoid filling up when the gasoline truck is delivering or shortly after to make sure that you are only pumping gas and not settled dirt with it.

With a little forethought and planning, you can take advantage of the best prices year-round and slash your costs on life’s little necessities and luxuries.

Posted in Misc