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avatar You are viewing an archive of articles by Stephanie Colestock. Stephanie is the managing editor at Consumerism Commentary, as well as a contributing writer. She graduated from Baylor University with a Biology degree, but has since found a passion for personal finance. She also writes for a number of other sites -- including Dough Roller, Five Cent Nickel, and allCards -- in addition to running her small business, Pink Orchid Press. Stephanie lives in Washington, DC with her two sons and a German Shepherd.

Stephanie Colestock

No reason to give the same boring gifts this year. Our holiday gift guide offers creative and inexpensive gift ideas that your friends and family will love.holiday gift guide

Christmas is right around the corner. Do you have all of your gift shopping done yet?

If you’re anything like me, the answer is no. This isn’t because I’m a procrastinator, though. It’s because I would prefer to give a gift that’s unique and has meaning instead of some stereotypical consumer item that will probably wind up in the Goodwill pile at some point.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of ideas, so that you can change the way you give gifts this holiday season. Some will save you money, and some will be incredibly useful. Others will give you (and your recipient) a warm fuzzy feeling inside, which rivals that of any mug of hot cocoa.

Get out your gift-giving lists, and let’s get started!

Charitable Giving

There are some wonderful opportunities to do good while also giving to your friends and loved ones. Regardless of your budget, you can make charitable causes part of your family’s holiday season.

You can donate to one of your favorite causes, or one which aligns with the interests of the recipient. No matter which you choose, there are simple ways to make a doubly-impactful gift this holiday season.

Buy holiday cards that support your charity of choice

If you’re going to buy cards this year anyway, why not see if your favorite charity has anything to offer? Not only do you show your support, but you may find interesting, unique cards that stand out.

  • Children’s Art Project (from MD Anderson) offers various items, including holiday cards, that feature their young patients’ art. This gives kids a way to showcase their designs. And net proceeds from sales help to fund the hospital’s pediatric programs.
  • Holiday Card Center has a stunning array of cards in various designs. They partner up with a number of non-profit organizations, such as the American Humane Society. About 10% of the cost of each box goes to the charity.
  • The Make-A-Wish Foundation will actually personalize and mail cards out for you, if you wish to make a gift on someone else’s behalf. You can also order blank cards and send them yourself. Or send an e-card to let someone know you made a donation in their name.
  • The American Diabetes Association lets you personalize cards regardless of whether you are making a gift donation as well.

Buy gifts that provide a percentage to charity

Donate to charity as a gift

  • Oceana offers a holiday adopt-a-creature program. For $30, you can adopt a sea turtle, seal, or one of 16 other sea creatures. You’ll receive a cookie cutter in the shape of that creature and a special sugar cookie recipe. Spend a little more, and you’ll receive a cute plush of that animal, too. It’s a nice way to donate while still having a fun gift for the recipient to open and enjoy.
  • Oxfam America offers you the unique opportunity to present your friends and family with the donation of a sheep, goat, or even a toilet. Wait, what? With Oxfam, your funds help provide necessities to growing, impoverished communities worldwide. Then, choose from a number of humorous, fun cards to give to your recipient, telling them about the gift made in their honor. How else could you possibly gift wrap a camel?
  • Heifer International also donates livestock to countries in need. You can choose from a variety of animals, including a water buffalo for $250.
  • American Forests lets you plant trees in the name of a loved one for $1 a tree.
  • Alternative Gifts International offers truly impactful gifts of food, shelter, trees, gardens, and medicines to those in need around the world.

Not sure what charity would be most fitting? JustGive.org sells gift certificates recipients can redeem for any of 1,000,000 charities and nonprofit organizations.

Go Clutter-Free

Another unique holiday gift option if you want to avoid waste is to buy clutter-free gifts. These can be in the form of experiences or consumables. I usually opt to do both. In fact, in my family, we’ve opted to buy “experiences, not things” for our primary gifts to one another. Then we buy useful (consumable) items for stocking stuffers.

While experiences are great gifts that bring memories for years, consumables give you something to open and enjoy Christmas morning.

Eat, Drink, Be Merry

Unclutterer.com has some nice suggestions for theme-based consumable gift collections, such as bulbs and seeds for a gardener, spice collections for someone who enjoys cooking, and the always-popular bath sundries collection for anyone who enjoys self-pampering. There’s even a very utilitarian garage-themed collection idea with motor oil, work gloves, etc.

My tastes run a bit more colorful. I believe the holidays provide a great chance to give premium consumables, little luxuries life might not otherwise afford us.

My favorite food and drink gifts include:

  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar – It’s a surprisingly flexible gift, suitable for everything from salad dressings and bread dips (include some fresh loaves of bread for an irresistible gift basket), to marinades and even as a topping for ice cream. There are a range of prices and qualities available. You could even print out some relevant recipes and include them, too!
  • Wine–It’s even better when paired with a gift certificate to a BYOB restaurant and maybe a cute tote. But there’s so much you can do with wine gifts. Give a nice bottle you’ve tried and enjoyed, different vintages of the same wine, or a selection of bottles from a region with accompanying reading material on that region’s wines. These can all make a memorable gift. You can find nice, well-rated wines for less than $20 a bottle. Wine Club memberships are wonderful, too, if you have the budget.
  • Say Cheese!–Last year, one of the best gifts I got was a stylish, reusable tote filled with a variety of fine imported cheeses, candied nuts, and crackers. Food gifts made for sharing are perfect for holiday entertaining. Plenty of places out there sell pre-assembled gift baskets. But I think the best approach is to find a local cheese shop or market and try things out yourself. Add fresh or dried fruit and nuts, and you can make your own extravagant gift for much less than you’d pay at Harry and David or Williams-Sonoma.
  • Sweets–Who doesn’t love a little indulgence? Last year, I gave my father-in-law a set of dark chocolate bars made from cocoa beans from different countries, for a comparative tasting. Homemade cookies or cakes are always appreciated, and can provide a more economical gift alternative. I’m also partial to Dutch candy for a fun and inexpensive gift.
  • Citrus Fruit–Sweeter than candy, the juice from Temple oranges is a rare treat in the cold winter months. I order them now for delivery January through March from Nokomis Groves. You could make a fabulous gift basket around a citrus gift (think breakfast kit), or let its sunny glory stand alone.
  • Salumis, Seafood, and Special Meats–Salami, bacon, prosciutto, ham, smoked turkey, scallops, salmon… whether you spend a lot for a fine imported meat or seafood product or assemble your own basket from a local specialty shop, there’s much to choose from.

You may be seeking truffles from France or salumis from Italy. Either way, finding a great source is key. If you can’t find these imported items at a local market, you can find them at a markup at places like Dean & Deluca. You can also try your luck finding better deals and culinary rarities at sites like eFood Depot, Gustiamo (Italian), La Tienda (Spanish), and French Feast.

Amazon has a great collection of gift baskets worth checking out. You can also take a look at Food411’s Holiday Picks or browse Sur la Table for more inspired gift ideas.

Spoil Someone

If food isn’t your ideal gift (or you’re unsure whether the recipient has dietary concerns), you can always opt to pamper them.

  • Soap and Bath Products–Soaps make for a great gift basket but are easily used up, so they don’t contribute to clutter. One of my friends makes her own fantastic-smelling, all-natural olive oil soap and bath products. She had a home show this year where I bought soaps for just about everyone I know. I tried to select scents each individual will love. It should be fun to see how accurate I was predicting their fragrance preferences. And anything I don’t give away, I’ll just use up myself.
  • Massages, Pedicures, and Spa Treatments–Beauty supplies are a clear winner when combined with gift certificates for massages, pedicures, facials, and other spa treatments. In my book, there’s no such thing as too many massages, and it’s nice to look forward to some luxury. Pick a local spa, or visit SpaWish.com for a gift certificate good at over 1,000 day spas across the nation.
  • eSubscriptions, Media, and Content–With all the interesting videos, music, games, and books available via iTunes, it’s hard to imagine anyone not appreciating an iTunes Gift Card. I’ve heard great things about Audible.com, as well. Their electronic book and programming subscriptions start as low as $7.49 a month for the first three months with the AudibleListener program.
  • The Gift of More Time–Take a page from Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Workweek and help someone “outsource” time-consuming or unpleasant tasks. Whether you supply a bevy of homemade frozen meals or set up a running engagement with a personal chef, your gift will directly benefit the recipient’s quality of life. Maid service, child care, and gardening or landscaping services are gifts they’ll remember all year. Plus, they can be accomplished by hiring out or (more economically) by helping out and doing it yourself.

Make Something With Love

Homemade gifts can be so much more than the sum of their parts, which makes them a great frugal gift option. They are redolent of effort, of “I thought of you all year and worked on this for you.” This is a nice contrast to “I realized I needed a gift for you ten minutes ago and picked this up as I was driving here.”

MoneySavingMom has an extensive collection of frugal gift ideas. Some of my favorite homemade gifts from her list include:

  • Homemade baking mixes
  • Embroidered pillowcases
  • Hand-stamped notecards
  • Personalized CDs (with music, family photos, etc.)
  • Custom-made photo calendars (every grandparent I know adores these)
  • Homemade food, including freezer-ready quick meals and baked goods (I am seriously asking my mother-in-law for a giant vat of her famous tomato soup for the holidays this year)
  • Canned vegetables, jam, pickles, etc.
  • Scarves, sweaters, and other knitted/crocheted goodies
  • Fleece throw blankets
  • Homegrown organic dried herbs (in a charming little jar, what could be better?)

I’ve been blessed with some very creative friends, so in the past I’ve received amazing scarves, jewelry, gorgeous embroidered pillowcases, and even original artwork. This year, one of my good friends knitted me some very chic, pure-white cashmere gloves.

My own talents are more culinary than crafty. So this year, I’m giving out tins of several varieties of homemade cookies and a few premade freezer meals, like lasagna, for those in my life who don’t enjoy cooking as much as I do. If you’re not inclined to create gifts yourself, you can buy amazing and unique handmade gifts of all sorts at Etsy.com.

From the Heart

This ties in a bit with the last section. But the ultimate “handmade” gift may not be a thing at all but, instead, a service. I love the concept of lending your personal services to someone else, especially in this age of so little free time.

If you’re good at sewing, what about giving certificates for mending and tailoring clothing? Or giving proofreading or resume help to someone still in school? Know someone who travels a lot? A few certificates for rides to and from the airport could be just the thing. Or create a scrapbook or photo album for someone with lots of memories and no time to compile them. Babysitting, yard cleanup, etc. are all gifts that cost little except your time.

What are the best gifts you’ve ever received (or given) that weren’t “typical” or even store-bought? Can you think of any other unique holiday gift ideas? Share them below!

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On Free Shipping Day (December 15) 131 retailers will ship your purchases to you for free. Here are all the details you need to know.

free shipping day

According to the latest statistics, over 55 percent of shoppers are now buying their Christmas gifts online. This isn’t surprising to me personally. With Amazon’s free Prime shipping, I do most of my shopping from my computer, too.

However, if you want to buy from a retail store other than Amazon, the cost of shipping can be a deterrent. This is especially true if you have waited this long to finish your gift-buying. You may need to upgrade your shipping speed to ensure delivery by Christmas Day.

This is where Free Shipping Day comes into play.

What Is Free Shipping Day?

Held on December 15 this year, Free Shipping Day is a one-day, promotional shopping event where hundreds of retailers come together to help facilitate the remainder of your holiday shopping. On this day, not only do retailers agree to offer free shipping, but they also guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.

Free Shipping Day was originally started in 2008 in an effort to extend the holiday e-shopping season for consumers. Stats showed that Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving/Black Friday) was the peak of online shopping for the holidays, with a steep drop immediately following.

The reason for that drop? Consumers didn’t want to pay for expedited shipping and assumed that without it, their purchases wouldn’t arrive in time to be placed under the tree.

Enter Free Shipping Day.

When retailers originally started the event, most required a minimum purchase to qualify for the guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery and free shipping. Since then, however, the consumers have spoken. Retailers no longer require minimum order amounts for buyers who make Free Shipping Day purchases.

The response to Free Shipping Day has exploded as a result. In fact, in recent years, sales from the promotional day have exceeded $1B. Talk about a turnaround for last-minute online gift sales!

Who Is Participating This Year?

On December 15, you’ll be able to shop at over 130 online retailers. You can get not only free shipping and guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery, but also additional savings offers from many of them.

The actual offers and savings for each store will be revealed beginning at 12:01 am on the event day. Simply visit FreeShippingDay.com to view them and begin your shopping experience.

If you want to take a look at the (growing) directory of this year’s participating stores, you can visit the site now. That way, you can make your shopping list and plan what else you need to buy. Then, on the big day, simply visit the homepage to see what additional savings you’ll snag and take advantage of your complimentary shipping offer.

Current retailers that are participating for 2017 include Target, Bass Pro Shops, Under Armour, Lands End, Stride Rite, Fat Brain Toys, Talbots, the Vitamin Shoppe, and more. You can also view stores by categories, such as Electronics, Department Stores, Bookstores, Children’s retailers, and the like.

  • Make sure you use Ebates to do your online shopping.  You can save up to 10% cash back on your purchases and still get the free shipping!

How Much Will You Save?

The amount you’ll save varies from store to store and depends on what you order.

The last time I placed an online order (for two children’s shirts), I paid $7 for standard Ground shipping. Had I expedited the order–which some retailers would typically require to receive holiday delivery in nine days or less–I would have paid as much as $35. Imagine if I had ordered a piece of furniture, shoes, or another bulky or heavy item!

Buying on Free Shipping Day not only saves you a trip out to the mall in the holiday shopping chaos but also potentially saves you hundreds of dollars in shipping fees in order to receive your order in time. Plus, that doesn’t even include the additional savings and coupons that many of the retailers will unveil at 12:01 am on the 15th.

If you’re still a few gifts short of being Christmas-morning ready, Free Shipping Day may be your saving grace. Not only will you snag some great discounts, but you’ll have your items delivered by Christmas Eve, guaranteed, and for free. That’s a great deal, and worth the visit to FreeShippingDay.com for me.

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A good credit score can save you thousands of dollars in lower rates. To help boost your FICO score, here’s our guide on how to improve your credit score.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Somewhere along the line, debt became “normal.” In fact, American consumer society has progressed to the point that access to debt is almost essential to living a middle-class life.

If owning a house is the modern American dream, most Americans wouldn’t be able to achieve this dream without the help of the finance industry. As a result, our finances–and our lifestyles–rely heavily on credit scores. Improving these scores not only opens the door to opportunities but can also save us a lot of money in the end.

Why It Matters

A credit score determines the types of interest rates we receive on loans. Because of this, a good credit score could save tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout someone’s life. One estimate placed the value of a good credit score at $83,770!

It is also required if we want great financial products like cash back rewards credit cards. These are excellent ways to earn money on the things we buy anyway and, if handled responsibly, will never cost us a penny in interest. However, you need good credit in order to qualify.

Sure, it’s possible to live without ever using a financial service that requires a good credit score. A full cash-based life is not entirely out of the question. For most, though, it is simply unrealistic.

Because so many people need a good credit score to maintain the best financial condition, choices and actions that increase that credit score are incredibly important. Luckily, it’s not all that “hard” to do. It simply takes time and a concerted effort.

Let’s talk about a few of the first steps you should take when attempting to rebuild or improve your credit score.

1. Look for Mistakes in Your Credit Report

The fastest (and often, biggest) fix for improving your credit score is something most consumers have never done: simply correcting errors.

Credit scores are driven by credit reports. Credit reports are driven by the information that lenders and card issuers send them. More often than one might expect, lenders have incorrect information. Credit bureaus make mistakes, as well.

There is little excuse for not checking all three credit reports at least once a year. In fact, you’re entitled to one from each bureau–Experian, Equifax, and Transunion–every twelve months, free of charge.

Be sure to obtain these and pick through them. Pay attention to high balances, late payment marks, and other derogatory reports. If something doesn’t seem correct or match your records, give them a call.

Correcting a problem on a credit report can result in a credit score increase of from ten to a hundred points or more.

How to Do It

Once each year, visit AnnualCreditReport.com to get your three free credit reports. Don’t Google “free credit report.” You’ll get a slew of solicitous results, many of which are scams or paid sites. AnnualCreditReport.com is the only government-approved site for your yearly, complimentary reports.

Rather than getting all three at the same time, you can spread this out so that you check a different report every four months. However, if you’re looking for an immediate change and you haven’t looked in the past year, it doesn’t hurt to get it all done at once.

After you retrieve your credit reports and avoid the gratuitous up-selling, check every piece of data on each report for accuracy. Any problem with your personal data can be corrected easily. If there’s a negative item on your credit report that does not apply to you, you have a few options.

You can call the lender directly, especially if it’s an account that’s still open, and let them know that there is an error. Be ready to provide any sort of proof that you may have (statements, cleared checks, etc). If they are unable or unwilling to help, though, you will need to file a dispute with the reporting bureau.

Reporting an error on your credit with each bureau is a much more simplified process than it was just a few years ago. You can either send a letter through the mail or go online and open a dispute. Whether online or through snail mail, include any documentation you have to support your claim.

The credit bureau will then reach out to the creditor in question, and they’ll have thirty days to respond.

Lingering Reports

Some negative items are supposed to drop off your credit report after a certain number of years, automatically. Sometimes, though, the bureaus overlook this on individual credit reports until someone brings it to their attention. It pays to be vigilant in this situation.

Here are a few of the common reports that should fall off on their own. Be sure to check your report and confirm that your own negative items did indeed disappear as planned.

  • Old bankruptcies must be removed from your credit report after ten years.
  • Lawsuits and judgments must be removed after seven years, even if you haven’t fulfilled the court order.
  • Paid tax liens remain for seven years, and unpaid liens remain for fifteen.
  • If you are divorced and your spouse incurred debt when you weren’t married–either before you were married or after your divorce–it should not appear on your report.

If any of the above situations apply to you, and the time period for which the items need to remain on the report has passed, contact the bureau as soon as possible. They will have the negative items removed.

The best part? Your credit scores should improve almost immediately.

2. Work On the Big Picture

Keep in mind there isn’t just one credit score. Each bureau has their own formulas and uses their own data, and there are several varieties published by each bureau.

FICO8 and FICO9 are the most popular credit scores. When lenders, landlords, employers, and anyone else checking your credit your history, though, they could be looking at any one of several sets of data.

Differences in these histories can lead to different credit scores. You never really know which version they are going to pull, so it pays to work on your overall credit picture. While there are differences in scale and exact score formula, the same approaches to the use of money and credit can improve your score across all brands.

You can maintain a good credit score by developing a long history of responsible credit use, not using too much credit, and having a good mix of types of credit. Here are some specific tips:

Pay your bills on time

Paying bills late can negatively affect your score in a big way. Plus, those negative reports will stay on your credit for a whole seven years. Avoiding late payments altogether is imperative for building up (or repairing) your credit score.

Unpaid bills can begin to affect your credit immediately. Debts that go to collections will stay on your report for seven years, even if you then go back and pay them off. Debt payments that are overdue by 30, 60, or 90 days will be noted as such, with each notation having an increasingly negative effect on your score.

Bottom line: pay bills on time, every time and even consider using auto-pay so you never forget. This will also save you wasted money on late fees!

Keep credit card balances low

The ratio of your debt to your available lines of credit affects your score. The higher the ratio, the higher your effect on your score. This is why it’s important to hold as little debt as possible from month-to-month, so you can reduce this ratio and improve your credit.

Keep this in mind if you choose to consolidate multiple credit cards into fewer. This can be done by either by closing old, unused cards or transferring balances and then closing the paid-off card. Doing so can result in the same level of debt but a lower level of available credit, which essentially increases that debt-to-credit ratio… which would actually affect your score negatively!

Don’t open unnecessary accounts

Opening new credit card accounts can be tempting; believe me, I know. Being at a sales counter in a store and being offered a 15 or 20% discount “just for applying” for a store credit card can be enticing. After all, that can be a lot of money saved.

Of course, there is downside to this. Opening too many new credit card accounts will lower your credit score, thanks to both hard inquiries and your average age of accounts. Oh, and if you open (or apply for) too many accounts in a short period of time, you can begin to look like a risk to creditors.

Be prudent when opening new accounts. Make sure it’s a card you need and has great benefits, and don’t open too many over a short span of time.

Manage your credit cards responsibly

Use cards properly by paying off the balances quickly and taking care of installment loans. Doing this builds up credit history, and the longer you’re responsible with you’re accounts, the higher your credit score rises.

Banks will see someone with a favorable credit history as less risk, compared to an individual with no history.  Take advantage of great balance transfer credit cards if you’re having trouble paying down your credit card debt.

Closing an account doesn’t help

If you made mistakes in the past, they won’t go away from the credit report simply by closing the account. Some items can stay on the report (and be factored into your score) long after you’ve reformed your ways.

Keep your oldest credit history

The age of your credit history is an important factor in your score. So, even if you don’t like the terms on a certain credit card, it may not be a good idea to cancel it.

If you have a credit card with poor terms, that doesn’t earn you rewards, or for a store where you no longer shop, keep it open. There’s no need to continue using the card, but it’s not worth the impact on your credit to close it. Some cards require you to use it ever-so-often or they’ll automatically close the account for you; be sure to ask about their own policies.

There are some cards that may be worth closing, though. Say the card has an annual fee and doesn’t have enough benefits to make up for that expense. In that case, you should call customer service and ask to either downgrade the card to a different product (if available) or close the account to avoid the fee.

Be careful, though, especially when closing older accounts. Doing so will have an even greater impact on your credit than closing a newer account, due to the average age of accounts growing shorter.

3. Be Patient

Improving your credit takes time. Aside from fixing errors, there is no “quick fix” to building a good score.

However, if you work hard at decreasing (or eliminating debt), avoiding excessive inquiries, and always paying bills on time, your score will slowly climb. The longer your accounts are open and in good standing, the higher your credit will rise. Your limits will likely increase, as well, which will further improve your score.

Before you know it, you’ll not only have great financial habits established, but a healthy credit score to match.

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Redbox is a great way to watch moves. And while it’s cheap, you can do even better. Here are six ways to get free Redbox codes.

free redbox codes

I’ll be honest: I can’t even remember the last time I paid just to watch a movie. Between streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and my Amazon Fire Stick, I can always find something good I haven’t seen. Sometimes, though, I want to watch a newer move. That’s when I turn to Redbox. But why pay for even Redbox movies when free rental codes abound?

You have to look a little harder to find free Redbox codes these days, but there are plenty of them out there. Here are a few of my favorite places to snag these codes and watch some of the newest movies out on release totally free.

Free Redbox Codes

1. Opt In for Texts

This is the easiest way I’ve found to get free Redbox codes without even trying. You simply text REDBOX to 727272 to start receiving special offers straight to your phone.

These offers come in randomly, and may even be on weeknights. Usually, they are good for that same day or must be used within two or three days, so there’s not a whole lot of flexibility with the offers. However, it’s a great way to regularly pick up a free DVD on your way home and unwind before bed.

You’ll also get discount codes, BOGO offers, and even free game rentals. All of these are in the form of a code that you’ll enter at the kiosk when renting your movie. All you have to do is enter the code from the text, too–no further action, adding the offer to your account, etc. is required.

Also, Redbox may have changed this, but when I initially signed up to receive texts, I got the first free offer sent to my phone within 24 hours.

2. Download the App

Have a smartphone? Download the Redbox app to get a free rental code applied to your account within hours.

redbox.JPG

The app allows you to search for movies and games in your area to determine which kiosk has what you want. You can also reserve specific titles so you know that they’ll be there when you’re ready and available to pick them up.

The app is free, too. After you download it and turn on push notifications, you’ll get your first free code soon after.

3. Sign Up for Emails

Have you noticed the trend yet? Yes, the best place to get your free Redbox codes is from Redbox directly (don’t worry, though–there are other great places, which we’ll cover in a moment). If you sign up to receive their emails, you can snag even more.

 

Simply enter your email address on their sign-up page, confirm your email address, and you’ll receive yet another one-day free rental code, sent straight to your inbox. You can use multiple email addresses that you may have. Just keep in mind that you have to link a card to the account. It’s an easy way to get even more freebies.redbox playpass.JPG

4. Join PlayPass

If you join Redbox’s free rewards program, called PlayPass, you’ll have the chance to earn plenty of rental codes, immediately and over time. When you first sign up, you’ll be sent a free code, which you can use any time within 60 days.

Then, you’ll also earn 10 Play Pass points every time you rent a disc (movie or game). Once you reach 100 points, you’ll get another free rental. You’ll also get a free rental code each year for your birthday.

5. Find Existing Free Codes

Some websites will find and update existing codes that are floating around, and publish them for you to find. These are great for on-the-spot rentals, if you don’t want to wait for that sign-up email code to come through.

Places like RetailMeNot and The Balance have pages dedicated to free Redbox codes, and they update them regularly. Just know that some of the codes may not work, either because they’re expired or they won’t work for your specific account.

Also, Redbox uses your credit or debit card to track code usage. This means that if you find a code that works, you can probably use it again on a second account with a second credit/debit card.

Here’s a link to RetailMeNot’s Redbox code page, and a link to the one provided by The Balance. Sites like InsiderBox also allow you to get feedback from others who have tried the code recently, so you know where to hone your sights. Here’s a link to their Redbox page.

6. Follow Them

If you “Like” Redbox’s Facebook page, you’ll be one of the first to know about special, short-term codes, and promotions. You’ll also have the opportunity to hear about store-specific codes (such as those only offered at kiosks at Walgreen’s locations, for example). This can be a great way to get codes directly from the source, without having to sign up for texts or emails.

The great thing about Redbox rentals is they are incredibly affordable. If you’re like me, though, you still love a freebie. Luckily, there are plenty of places for you to snag a free Redbox rental code, so you can watch your favorite new movies tonight, for free.

Have you found Redbox rental codes elsewhere? Share your sources below!

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8 Ways to Get Free Amazon Gift Cards

by Stephanie Colestock

The one thing better than an Amazon gift card is a free Amazon gift card. Here are eight ways to score free Amazon gift cards. If you’re anything like me, you’re used to seeing “Amazon” on your bank statement. Those boxes with blue tape are a mainstay on my front porch, delivering everything from vitamins […]

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CIT Bank Review and Bonuses

by Stephanie Colestock

CIT Bank bonus offers can be very rewarding. We track these bonuses and CIT rates, which currently are the best you’ll find for an online savings account. Everybody needs a safe place to tuck away their emergency fund or vacation savings. A high yield savings account is a great option. Considering that the average savings […]

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A Complete Guide to Refinancing Your Mortgage

by Stephanie Colestock

Trying to decide whether to refinance a mortgage? In our guide, we walk you through how to refinance a mortgage and where to find the best rates. Have you been in your current home mortgage for a few years? Do you see advertised mortgage rates well below what you’re locked in for? And do wonder […]

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2018 Federal Income Tax Brackets

by Stephanie Colestock

The IRS has released the 2018 tax rates. Here they are by income and tax filing status. We also cover exemption amounts and standard deduction. Ah, fall has arrived. You know, the time of year when the leaves change colors, the days get shorter . . . and the IRS releases next year’s tax brackets. […]

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Today’s Best Bank Deals, Promotions, and Bonuses

by Stephanie Colestock

Get the best bank bonuses, promos and deals with this regularly updated list of bank signup promotions. When opening a bank account, there are a few things you should be looking for: low (or no) fees, the highest interest rates possible, and promotional bonus offers. With the latter, you can often score free money without […]

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How to Find the Best Cell Phone Plans of 2017

by Stephanie Colestock

Comparing cell phone plans makes going to the dentist look fun. To help, here are our ratings and comparisons of the best cell phone plans in 2017. These days, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have a cell phone. They’ve become a staple in our lives. And, for many without a landline, they’re a […]

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