How to Afford Nice Stuff, Even When You're Broke

Shireen Fitzgerald
by Shireen Fitzgerald

Finding free stuff is always nice, especially when you are on a tight budget. This means that the money we have can be invested instead of spent.

Today, I will tell you how to get nice stuff even when you're broke, and of course, this is relevant regardless of your financial situation because we all love saving money.

1. Using frequent flier-type apps

You can get free hotels, free flights, free food, etc. Check out the app that you are most interested in, and try to concentrate on one rather than trying to do it across several apps, at least in the beginning.

Of course, you should only be getting things you actually want, do not get free stuff just for the sake of getting free stuff.

2. Coupons

Sometimes this can be a real drag, but just do things that are easier. On GoCashBack, for example, you get $8 when you join for free. So if you know that you need to buy something, just sign up and you get the money.

Rewards, points, and cashback

3. Supermarket rewards

It depends on your location and supermarket whether this will actually be worth it for you. Between a cheaper supermarket without rewards and a more expensive one with rewards, I always choose the cheaper one.

Still, I have a Woolworths Everyday Rewards card, and you can look up a program that is relevant to your location. In my program, points I get for everyday purchases accumulate and ultimately allow me to get a free flight.

4. Bonus points and gift cards

Some gift cards will go on sale at certain times, usually at 10% to 20% off. In this case, what happens is if you buy a gift card with your debit card and then use that gift card to buy something, you automatically get 10-20% off.

Moreover, if you are in a reward program like mine, you can even buy gift cards, get 10% off and get frequent flier points at the same time.

5. Samples

This one is pretty basic and I don't do this all the time, but when you go on a work trip, there will normally be toiletry samples in the bathroom, like shampoo, soap, lotion, etc.

I don’t really like hoarding those sorts of things, but taking a little hand cream or body lotion can be really handy, just to have it in your car. Of course, before grabbing those, think about whether you are actually going to use them.

6. Reevaluating things and trying them before committing

I have cut out lots of stuff by just thinking: do I really want to have that face cream again?

At the moment I don't use anything on my face, just face wash. I don’t really believe that face creams and other skincare products do too much for your skin, so it is more about the feeling of those things and not their effect.

This is why I recommend getting samples at the stores before you commit to buying it and seeing how you felt about that cream for a few days.

7. Coffee shop loyalty cards

I got into the habit of going to a coffee shop pretty much every day, which of course I did not do when I was in debt or working towards a certain money goal. However, if I do go for coffee, at least I now use their loyalty cards.

Those cards usually get you a free coffee once in a while. If there is a loyalty card, just grab it. Even if you are not sure you will come back to that coffee shop, don’t overthink it. Some coffee shops even keep them at the store so that you don't lose them. 

How to get paid to take surveys

8. Online surveys

On websites like Survey Junkie, you can earn money just by filling out surveys when you are bored on the bus, for example. Instead of browsing through media or playing games on my phone, I use the time to get some cash.

When I was in debt, I would only get coffee on the money that I earned that way. This made me more mindful of how much it takes to actually earn money to then go and spend it on a coffee. This also keeps your brain going, which can be great as we get older.

9. Using credit cards to get into airport lounges

I personally prefer to get free lounges by collecting points, but you can also get in with credit cards from specific companies, even if you are flying economy.

10. Free versions of streaming platforms

I don't know the last time I paid for TV. I tend to wait for the free trials that might come up and then binge it and unsubscribe. Otherwise, I just do something else during the ads, like clean up the kitchen or go to the bathroom.

11. Birthday vouchers

Many stores and websites have you put down your birth date when you sign up, and then give you discounts around your birthday. What you can do is write up a list of products that you need in the months before your birthday, and then buy them at that time.

Birthday Freebies

How to afford nice things

12. Restaurant offers

Speaking of birthdays, many restaurants offer free meals on your birthday. Besides that, I used to love these “movie and meal” deals, where you get to go to the cinema for free after getting dinner at a restaurant.

13. Hotel and flight offers

While planning a holiday, check for places that offer a third night or a fifth night for free, that is a nice way to extend your holiday. For flights, make sure you choose the cheaper time to book a flight: for example, school holidays are not a great choice.

How to get nice stuff even when you're broke

This is it! Hopefully, now you have a better idea of how to afford nice things even if you are short on cash. What tips have you found most useful while trying to save money? Let us know in the comments and help someone else achieve their financial goals.

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