Want new stuff? How about free stuff? One of the best ways to do this is via rewards programs.
Now I know I have mentioned rewards programs before in passing but I thought perhaps I would go a little more in depth. Also, for the convenience of this post the term "reward program" will henceforth be referred to with the acronym RP.
One definition of RP is "a structured and long-term marketing effort which provides incentives to repeat customers who demonstrate loyal buying behavior." (About.com) Most businesses will have a RP of some kind. It can be as simple as a stamp card at your local coffee shop (such as the awesome Coffee Loft in Fairhope), or as complex a points system such as with Best Buy Reward Zone (complex does not mean bad). There's a whole myriad to choose from.
I divide RP into two main groups: real world and digital. Real word are the RPs that are connected to a physical store, even when you manage rewards and can make purchases online. Digital is RPs that exist only in cyberspace.
So what RPs should you use? Any you think are worth the time! Time is money and some rewards do require some effort. Here are a few criteria:
Do you visit the store/website twice a week or more?
Is the store/website a favorite of yours or people close to you?
Does the store/website sell 20 or more products you would like to own at any given time?
Does the RP's rewards sound highly appealing and useful?
Can you earn a desirable reward within a reasonable time frame?
If you answered yes to two or more of the questions, then you should probably join the RP.
One of my favorite types of RPs are for advertising websites. Basically you get rewarded for watching sponsor's ads through the site. Unlike with regular RPs, you are not required to buy ANYTHING -although some give the option. Performing tasks or watching ads earns you points which you will use to buy gift cards or merchandise listed on the site.
Using RPs can get you cool stuff and save you money for doing what you already do, requiring only a little extra effort in order to track your rewards. So what are you waiting for?
Here are some of my favorite RPs
Swagbucks gives you points to search, play games, use coupons and more!
Earn points for playing games like Chicktionary to buy cool things like solar-powered backpacks (I'm not kidding, it's on my wishlist). All by Bing.
Again from Bing only you get points from searching for random stuff like you do anyway. It has plenty of gift cards and product to choose from, even subscriptions to magazines, Hulu Plus, and points for Xbox Live.
Inbox Dollars pays straight up cash for reading email, watching ads, using coupons and more. Earn $30 and get a check. The more you do the faster you get the moolah.
Wishing you many happy rewards,