I am definitely not the first person to write a post about this, but I have been using this little trick for about a year now to get free things and I think it is worth bringing to my readers attention: USE GOOGLE ALERTS TO GET FREE STUFF

Google is far from perfect, and many of the products they launch are quickly not supported and go into Internet oblivion (such as Google Wave), but Google Alerts is extremely useful and can be used in lots of neat ways including getting things for free.

What have I gotten for free lately?

  1. A high-end backpack
  2. LOTS of Duracell batteries (which is happening right now at Staples here)
  3. Office supplies including pens, reams of papers, post-it notes and an SD card
  4. Anti-Virus software
  5. QuickBooks Easy Start software

What is Google Alerts and How Does it Work?


Google Alerts does exactly as the name implies. It “alerts” you when something you are looking for is posted on the Internet. Here’s an example: Let’s say you are a collector looking for a certain Star Wars movie poster to complete your collection. If you set an “Alert” for “1977 Star Wars movie poster for sale”, then you will be notified via email anytime a 1977 Star Wars movie poster is posted online for sale (and it works beautifully). Google has now search indexed so many websites (and all of their pages) that this alert will kick in whether the poster is for sale on eBay, Craigslist or even just some random website that you would have never been aware of.

I have personally used alerts to find a lot of things, but nothing is better than FREE stuff so about a year ago I started setting alerts that look like this:

“Free after rebate” (this is a great one and you will be greatly surprised how many things you can get for free this way). Some rebates require you to mail in a simple form and some rebates, such as Staples Easy Rebates, you don’t have to do anything. The rebate is processed at the time of process and the check is in the mail!

Try these alerts:

“free office supplies”

“buy one get one free”

“free ream of paper”

“free multi-purpose paper”

“free batteries” (which is happening right now at Staples here)

“BOGO” (everyone now knows that to be ‘buy one get one’)

“free backpack” (you usually score this deal around back-to-school time)

“free cat products”

“free movie rental”, “free redbox promo code”, “free blockbuster rental”

“free rental car upgrade”

When the Alert comes into your email it will look like this:

=== Web – 1 new results for [“free after rebate”] ===

Grab your FREE after Rebate Duracell’s at Staples starting 11/27 Staples Free After Rebate These are a must in most families and you can earn them free. Staples just did this a few weeks ago and I have already received my …

Be creative and make sure you use quotes around your Alert terms. If you search Google for free ream of paper, you will get results that include free and/or ream and/or paper. But, if you use quotes around your Alert words, you will only get results of “free ream of paper.

To get started you will need a Google account. They are free and offer other useful tools. I also like having a Gmail account for many reasons. To get your free Google account you can visit the link here.


Once you have your account setup, you are ready to begin. Login to your Google account and in the upper right hand corner you will see your Gmail account name (example yourname@gmail.com). Click it and a sub menu will appear that includes ‘Account Settings’ which you will want to select. You will then be taken to a page that includes many different Google products including ‘Alerts’. Click on that and you will see this is where you add and manage your Alerts. You can even choose how quickly you want Google to alert you (Once a day or as it happens). ‘As it happens’ means you will be immediately notified once Google spots your alert terms online and ‘once a day’ means Google will keep track of all of the 1977 Star Wars movie posters it found for that day and put it all in one email for you typically in the afternoon.

Get creative! I have set Alerts for “free boat” and yes they are out there. “free beer” which is also out there but never where I live. “my name” just to know if anyone online is posting things about me. You can even set alerts for coupons to your favorite restaurants or places of interest.

Google has really created a great tool that will do the hunting for you, so get your Google on and set some alerts. Have fun and score some free goodies!

This post is brought to you by Uncle Casey.

Have you tried Google Alerts lately?


  1. Hunter - Financially Consumed Reply

    This is new to me. Thanks for sharing this secret.

  2. Pretty neat trick LH! I’ve used GA to monitor my blog, never thought of using it to find cool deals! 🙂

  3. I use google alerts to track a few things, but never thought about this. Great trick, LH! Got a few ideas in mind already.

  4. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter Reply

    This is a really cool idea. I have used the alerts for the blog but I have never thought about using it for deals. Ingenious!!

  5. retirebyforty Reply

    That’s great! I need those free batteries for all baby RB40’s noisy toys.

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