My mom generally regards me as having poor financial management. Whether that is true is in the eye of the beholder. Part of what I have done in getting where I am financially is to take advantage of opportunities to get things for free.
One of the first ways was through online surveys. Several companies are in the business of paying small amounts of money to answer surveys. The amounts depend on whether you qualify for the survey. The actual incentive varies between a small check, points toward prizes, and entries into sweepstakes toward larger prizes.
Besides surveys, there are companies that offer incentives for people to try various offers. In my case, I was able to spend about $200 toward completing ten trial offers. Not only did I benefit from the trials such as free movies through Netflix, I received $1000 in the end.
When I held an internship at Microsoft, one of Redmond, Washington’s incentives not to drive alone was to self-report how you went to work each day for two months. As long as they were not driving alone, you received a $50 gift card. Additionally, there was another incentive where I was able to get a free t-shirt along with free bus passes.
When I openned my bank account with Chase bank, I was able to get $125 for openning the account. Similarly, I was able to get $25 for openning an ING Direct Electric Orange checking account. I can get further money from them for referring others to open accounts, but I have yet to do so. Through my Chase Freedom credit card, I was offered $2000 in accidental death insurance with the option to pay to purchase more. I declined purchasing the extra coverage but took the free coverage.
I have yet to get a payout from them, but I have earned some credit with Upromise on top of any cashback I otherwise get through my credit card. I also have some credit with Bing Cashback, but I have yet to reach a threshold to get a payout.
Additional opportunies to get things for free include signing up for the mailing lists or e-clubs online for your favorite restaurants. Many of the offer a free appetizer just for signing up.