Friday, June 29, 2012

Master the Mall With Money to Spare

I know this is a little bit late in coming, but as promised, I have compiled my tips for how to stay frugal at the mall! You might like to take walks in the mall but hate the fact that you can only afford to window shop. I know that is how I often feel! For this reason, I started looking into how I could still have fun and enjoy the mall! Around Christmas I was able to go to the mall with a dear friend of mine and neither of us had anything to spend, so I came up with some fun, free activities we could do together and really wanted to share my finds with you!
Yes, go ahead and laugh! We were
having fun with my camera phone!
First and foremost are some free and frugal activities that you can do with your friends and kids! Have you ever gone into a store and found the CUTEST outfit but you couldn't afford it? This happens to me a lot. Well, if you are with a friend, this can be a lot of fun! Go back to your childhood when you used to play dress-up, go into a dressing room and try on a few fun outfits! Take pictures so the moments last and play around with your camera's settings to distort the photos and you will have a great time and a lot of laughs! You can even put on a fashion show and strut your stuff for random shoppers and the employees! Give them a few chuckle and smiles and help them to enjoy their day too! Another option may be to set a dollar amount for you and your friend and you can both race around the mall and try to find the best completed outfit in your budget! Compare them afterwards and show them off to your family and friends and let them know the great deals you got! Feel free to post your pictures on my Facebook wall! Don't forget you can get free exercise just by walking the mall and when you can, use the stairs rather than the elevator! Another activity that is a lot fun is to go to the makeup counters at places like JCPenny, Sephora, Mac...and get free makeovers! Some of them you will need to set up an appointment, but others you can just walk in and they will test out makeup on you! If you are like me, you may think this is a little bit gross and unsanitary, but remember, these are not self-help counters but ones manned by employees who have learned how to test the makeup on people in the most sanitary way possible. Another place to enjoy some fun and free activities is Aveda. At participating locations, you can receive free sensory rituals including a Stress-Relieving Scalp and Shoulders Ritual, Stress-Relieving Hand Ritual, Face Color Finishing Touch, Pure-Fume Application and more! Make sure you print this document and bring it in to get your free rituals! You can also print coupons here for a free Botanical Therapy Scalp Detox with purchase of a hair cut at salon location. There are some fun activities if you have children too: many children's stores will have fun areas to keep the kids occupied like toys that are set up ready to play with in toy stores, book corners and videos playing in book stores, let your kids throw a penny in the wishing well, or many malls have a free and super fun kids playground!
Free chocolate samples from Godiva! Yum!
Second, you can eat for free at the mall! It may not be much, so you may want to pack up a lunch, but there are often several free food samples you can get! Let's start with your meal! Walk into the food court at your mall and you will notice a lot of restaurants such as Sbarro, Charley's and asian restaurants offer free samples that you can try! Don't be shy! These samples are meant for you to try to see if you like them. This way you will know what is good for the next time you go for a trip to the mall and need to buy food! You may also want to consider if you have to purchase food, finding a restaurant that offers an incentive for making a purchase, whether it is a rewards program for purchasing so many meals, or somewhere like Sbarro that offers a free slice of pizza or Subway that offers a free cookie when you complete the surveys on their receipts! You can also find great coupons or freebies on receipts from other typical mall restaurants like Burger King, Chick-Fil-A and more! Always be sure to check your receipts! Heading on to what to drink! I am sure you know that you can get a free ice water anywhere! This is my go-to beverage when I don't want to spend money. If you want to make your trip more fun, stop in for a free cup of tea from Aveda and free tea samples at Tevana, head in to Gloria Jean's and ask for your free sample of their coffee flavor of the day, and check out the restaurants that sell smoothies and bubble tea as they often have samples out as well! Now, of course we can't forget dessert! Fudge and chocolate stores and even the fudge shop in Bass Pro Shops will hand out free samples if you request them as will many ice cream shops! You can also get one free piece of chocolate per month when you sign up for Godiva Rewards in store and register online! You can also sign up for birthday and email clubs to get freebies (like free coffee from Starbucks) and watch for special deals throughout the year for free samples, free full-size products and great coupons for events like Earth Day or Nurse's Week! Check out my birthday freebies list here! If you don't mind shopping late in the evening and you find your stomach is growling, a lot of times you will find that restaurants will give you huge discounts or even GIVE their food away right before close as they otherwise have to throw away the leftovers! We have done this before and gotten two slices of pizza at Sbarro for the price of half! This may not ALWAYS work as everything really depends on management and location, but it's worth a shot!
Free sample and
 birthday freebie
from Aveda!
Third,  many stores will hand out free product samples for you to take home! One of the greatest places to get these free samples is Aveda! Check out all the printable coupons for free samples here! You can also get free samples just by walking into the store and asking! These samles can include things like their Damage Remedy or Invati and there is no purchase required! You can also sometimes get samples for perfume and makeup at the cosmetic counters in various stores like JCPenny and Sephora, often with your scheduled consultation. Don't forget to sign up for your birthday freebies too and watch for special deals throughout the years! You can get things like a free full-size body wash from Aveda, lip stick from Sephora, free undies from Victoria Secret and more! Be sure to sign up with your mailing address too for Victoria Secret for mailed coupons for free underwear!
Free clothes from Charlotte Russe!
You can also get freebies with different apps like FourSquare, Old Navy app and more on your smart phone! FourSquare is great! You can check in to different scores for specials whether it's making a free donation to a cause, getting a discount code for a percent off of your purchase, and even freebies! Once in a while, for instance, Aerie will give out free bras to the first 10 people to check in at each location at a given time! I have gotten this deal before so I got a $60 bra for free! Old Navy's app, SnapAppy is super neat too! You just scan any Old Navy logo you see and can scan it up to ten times a day to unlock different offers such as discounts, games, wallpapers, and I've even gotten free flip flops! Be sure to like the Facebook pages and sign up for text offers for your favorite stores too as they will frequently offer exclusive deals and discounts like free clothing from Sears Outlets or Charlotte Russe and more! Don't forget to sign up for rewards programs that are free as well like AE Rewards for American Eagle and scan the QR codes that you see in the stores as frequently you will get a discount for doing so! Here is a great tip if you need to pick something up and you already know what it is. Some stores will let you order online and pick up in store for free so you will be able to check out with Ebates and get cash back on your order! If you are in the military or a dependent too, many places will give you a discount! All you have to do is ask and show your military I.D.! Another way to save at the mall is to purchase discounted gift cards for stores you shop at from! Basically, you purchase a gift card, say a $25 gift card for Old Navy, at a discounted rate, say 6%, so you automatically save 6% on that amount of your order plus you can still use your coupons! The best way to keep up on mall freebies, however, is to keep an eye on my Facebook page as I try to post as many of these Facebook freebie deals as I can for all of you!


  1. My daughter loves Charlotte Russe!


  2. We love the mall, always great sales going on. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Good job. Just, small thing: You can only snap 10 times a day with the Snap Appy app, not as many times as you want.

    1. Ah yes. I forgot to mention that. I said as many times as you want because I only snap until I get a great deal (which is usually less than ten.) Thanks for letting me know. I'll go fix that :)