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

Goldmine in Your Garbage: 3 Ways to Save Money with Compost Heaps

Treasure in your trash? It’s true. Before you throw away all of those fruit and vegetable leftovers, nut shells, coffee grounds, and grass clippings, you’ll want to check out how composting can save you money.

What is composting? For those unfamiliar, composting involves saving your biodegradable discards and setting them aside to slowly break down. Once that process has taken place over the course of months, the organic material commonly referred to as “black gold” by gardeners can be used to fertilize your plants.

Wondering what types of items can be added to your compost heap? Here’s a great list of What You Can and Cannot Compost.

In addition to benefiting the environment, composting can also benefit your budget.

3 Tips to Save Money by Composting

  1. Save on potting soil. If you love to garden, particularly in planters and containers, it can get expensive to purchase potting soil. Instead of buying soil, you can easily make your own by composting. It can take approximately 12-14 weeks for your compost to break down enough to be used as soil, but if you continually compost, you can always have some spare soil on hand.
  2. Save on fertilizer. When gardening, you can save money on fertilizer by adding your homemade compost to your garden and flower bed soil each planting season. The compost will benefit the soil, which will, in turn, feed your plants. Even if you do purchase fertilizer at some point, the compost will help the fertilizer to feed the plants better by holding onto the fertilizer nutrients until the plants require them.
  3. Save on water. Compost introduces air into your soil and can help your plants to retain water. Soil that is in better condition minimizes the times you will need to pull out the hose or get the sprinkler started. That means you may end up watering less and spending less on your water bill. Some gardeners make a compost tea that can be used to water plants instead of using fresh water.

FreeShipping.com Helps You Save on Composting Needs

Not only can composting save you precious cash, using your FreeShipping.com membership will also save you big bucks. When you consider the benefits of a FreeShipping.com membership — FREE shipping, exclusive coupons and discounts, and 10% cash back — it just makes financial sense to sign up for and utilize your membership.

Sears Logo

As you are getting started composting, Sears can be a resource to assist you in the process. As one of our registered merchants, you will reap all the rewards of membership when you purchase from them. Sears has the composting supplies you require, including composting containers to store your heaps, collectors for inside the house, forks to turn materials, and other related necessities. You will also find other gardening and outdoor supplies to fill your needs.

Composting is a green and eco-friendly practice that not only helps to save the planet, but can save you green in the form of money. Don’t forget to pass these money-saving tips along to your family and friends!

Posted in 10% Cash Back, Family Savings, Flowers, FreeShipping.com, FreeShipping.com Member Benefits, Garden Preparations, Gardening, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home savings, Houseplants, Member Benefits, Money-Saving Tips, Outdoor Gear, Resources, Retailer Savings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Invest in a Girl’s Best Friend with Allurez Diamonds & Fine Jewelry

Diamonds have been treasured throughout history.  Because of the diamond’s strength and invincibility, a diamond represents undying love, and is typically used in engagement and wedding rings. Those born in April are lucky enough to have the diamond as their official birthstone, and Marilyn Monroe sang about how diamonds are a girl’s best friend in the 50’s film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. 

When you are in the market for a diamond, the most important aspects to consider are the stone’s carat, cut, clarity, and color (known as the four C’s). You will also need to consider what shape that you want, and loose diamonds should come with a grading certificate. Diamond shopping is made easier when you shop with a retailer that you can trust and that stocks the quality that you are searching for. Shop for quality when you shop with Allurez Diamonds and Fine Jewelry. Located in the heart of NYC, Allurez has built a reputation of providing fine jewelry to even celebrities and royalty. Diamonds and jewelry are their specialty, along with providing the selection, service and quality that has garnered Allurez industry recognition.

No need to travel to NYC to experience Allurez’s extraordinary expertise. Their website offers service and selection in the comfort of your home. If you are interested in purchasing a loose diamond, you can use their online tool to search for your ideal diamond and to receive specific details on each diamond.

With wedding season here, Allurez offers a full selection of women’s and men’s wedding bands, and you can create your perfect engagement ring online. Whether you prefer 14K or 18K or yellow, white, rose or two-tone gold, Allurez has options for each. They also offer platinum and palladium metals, and diamonds in various colors, including yellow, blue, and black.

Looking for a gift to make Mother’s Day really special this year? Allurez can help in that department with an elaborate inventory of necklaces and pendants, bracelets, rings and earrings

If you dig brand names, Allurez has a designer collection filled with recognizable brands like Gucci, David Webb, Boucheron Paris, Morris & David and Hershey’s Kisses

Whether you purchase for yourself or for someone else, diamonds and jewelry are gifts that inspire enjoyment, pride and affection for years to come. Allurez would love to be the chosen jewelry provider for your next occasion. 

Exclusive FreeShipping.com Deal for Allurez.com: Free shipping by rebate with NO MINIMUM purchase required!

 

Posted in Misc