I admit that I am cynical when it comes to the claims that you can get things for free. In fact, the digital camera that I got did cost me something: TIME. But it didn’t cost me any money so in that respect it was absolutely FREE. 🙂
The last time I bought a camera was about five years ago. Now, if you keep up with technology, you know that, at this time, that camera is almost obsolete. When I began to look for a new camera, I was reminded of that. The newer ones were smaller, had higher resolutions, and cost less. While I love photography, I was not ready for one of those really expensive Digital SLR cameras, although someday, maybe…
Anyway, here I was shopping for a new camera. The one I picked out is a Canon PowerShot ELPH170 IS. Why, you ask? Three main reasons. 1. I have owned quite a few Canon products and I trust the brand. 2. It was blue, which is my favorite color. 🙂 and 3. A couple of friends of mine recommended it. They were taking fabulous pictures of their camping journey through the National Parks. I was truly impressed with the quality and asked what type of camera they used. I fully expected them to tell me it was one of those super-wazoo expensive cameras. But no, it was a Canon PowerShot ELPH.
So I looked at reviews and found the camera I wanted. Not too expensive, but it was also one of those purchases that I would have to save for. That’s when I began looking at the idea of using my time to earn the funds to purchase it without actually paying for it.
So do you want to know how I did it?
I basically used three ways.
I shop frequently at Walmart. A couple of years ago I enrolled in their savings catcher program (which is free to do by the way). Every time I shop at Walmart, I take my receipt and type the receipt number into their program. If their search robots find a product that I purchased for a cheaper advertised price elsewhere, they give me the difference. I didn’t pay much attention to the balance as I did the program, but after awhile, those small differences began to add up. At the time I was looking for my camera, I had earned $85 in that account. I redeemed that amount in a Walmart gift card. Since Walmart had the camera I wanted, I could use that card against the purchase.
I had heard of people using Swagbucks to earn money, but I had not actually tried it myself. At some point, I read a blogger article that talked about how easy it was to do, so I figured I would try it out. I set up an account (again, free to do). Over the course of about a year I did many things to earn points. Swagbucks will give you points for online purchases done with retailers that they are affiliated with. So every time I made an online purchase, I would check to see if I could get Swagbuck points for it. My favorite online store to do that is eBay. Swagbucks also gives you points for watching videos, playing games, and doing online surveys. I’m not a big game player so I didn’t do much of that. I tried the videos, which I could set to run in the background if I wanted, but I didn’t do that very often. Most of my points came from doing the surveys and online shopping. I did go through a phase when I was sorta addicted to doing the surveys, but realized that the time I was spending doing that was becoming a huge drain so I cut back to doing surveys periodically. I earned enough points in a year to get $70 in my choice of gift cards. I got Walmart gift cards to go against my camera purchase.
Inbox Dollars is another site like Swagbucks. I don’t use that one as often, but I managed to earn enough points to get a $32 visa card.
Walmart was offering a bundle deal with the camera. I received all of this:
Canon PowerShot ELPH170 IS Digital Camera
32GB Memory Card
Spare NB-11DNB-11LH Battery
Flexible Compact Camera Mini Tripod
MicroSD HC Card Reader
5-Piece Camera & Lens Cleaning Kit
2 MicroSD Memory Card Case
Universal LCD Screen Protectors
ImageRecall Digital Image Recovery Software
|Canon PowerShot ELPH170 IS Camera Purchase|
|Total Bundle plus shipping:||$ 166.98|
|Less:||Walmart eCard (Walmart)||-85.54|
|Walmart eCard (Swagbucks)||-70.00|
|Visa eCard (Inbox Dollars)||-11.44|
|TOTAL I PAID||0.00|
Can you get things for free using these methods? Absolutely! Just keep in mind that there was a lot of time involved to earn it.
Oh, one more note. I ordered the camera bundle online from Walmart through the Swagbucks website. That gave me additional cash back points from Swagbucks!
What about you?
Have you ever used online earning programs to earn FREE things?
Which ones would you recommend?