Give Us Free

Whoever said that you can’t get something for nothing is a liar.


You most certainly can and I sure did over the last week. Here’s  rundown of my scores both big and small.

  1. Free large 2-topping pizza ($11.05) – I signed up for a mystery shopping job to evaluate Papa John’s carryout service. Not only was the cost of the pizza reimbursed, I will also be paid a small fee for doing it. The pay more than makes up for the little bit of gas I used driving across town. Note to self: Chicago rush hour traffic is not done by 7p.m.
  2. Free loaves of bread (approximate retail value $9) – I picked up three free loaves of fresh baked French bread from Jimmy John’s. In one of her YouTube videos, Budget Girl mentioned salvage grocers that sell the leftovers and unsaleables from restaurants and other grocery retailers. While walking home from the train I called up my neighborhood Jimmy John’s and asked them what they do with their bread at the end of the night. The guy told me that they usually give it away so I asked if I could come in near closing time and get a loaf or two. He did me one better. He told me I could come right now and gave me three warm loaves. If I were to buy the same thing from the bakery at Jewel or Mariano’s it would have cost me about $2.99/loaf.
  3. Airline change fee refund ($75)- Last month I took a 10 day vacation to the happiest place on earth. On my departure day I was trying to do the absolute most with the least amount of time. I’d scheduled an interview in the suburbs, a laser hair removal appointment, and other errands all before leaving for a 3:00 p.m. flight. By noon I was like
    dis tew much monique
    Thankfully inclement weather is an angel of mercy and I right before appointment number three I received an email from American Airlines telling me that due to anticipated storms in the east I may be able to change my flight without a fee. You don’t have to tell me twice, so I followed the provided link and pushed my flight back another three hours. Unfortunately, the booking did incur a change fee. However, since it was only $75 I figured it was worth it to not be so rushed. Well, fast forward three weeks later and I got the same email from American about my current trip to NYC (yes, I went twice in a month’s span). This time I read the fine print and saw that my itinerary was definitely eligible to be changed without fee. I flashed back to the last time I’d changed my flight after an ALERT email and wondered if I’d paid for something I was supposed to get for free. Instead of looking online I took the time to call the airline. Sure enough my flight the month before had been eligible for a free booking change. You better believe I asked for my money back. One email to customer relations later and $75 will be refunded to my Chase Sapphire card by next billing cycle.
  4. Seat upgrade ($59) – I love a window seat. It’s my first preference on any flight. However, my 5’11 frame also yearns for extra leg room. Since I have yet to achieve Gold status (5000 miles to go!!) if I want the extra space to stretch my limbs I have to pay a premium for Main Cabin Extra seating. That wasn’t in the budget. When checking in for my flight and selecting my seats I noticed that there were empty window seats in the emergency exit row. If I would have reserved one at check-in it would have cost me $59. Instead I waited until I got to the gate and asked if it was possible to get a seat change. Sure enough the flight attendant was able to accommodate my request and not only did I get a seat with extra legroom at no additional charge, but I also go a whole row to myself.

So in a week’s time I saved or recouped $154 with little more effort than just opening my mouth and asking. Not bad. I wonder if I can do even better next week. We shall see…


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