Saving money is fun. Saving money while exploiting a loophole is even better. People are always on the lookout to save a buck or two and if they can get those savings by being a bit clever, that's a step up. Some people who exploited a business's loophole took to Reddit to share just how they got it done. Content has been edited for clarity.
"Ikea has a kid's play area called 'Smalland' where you can drop your kid off for an hour while you shop (90 minutes if it's a weekday and you are an Ikea Family Member).
I have two kids...a babysitter would be $10-15/hour, so whenever I need a break from them I take them to Ikea, put them in Smaland, and then go to the bed or couch section and look at my phone for an hour...sometimes I even treat myself to a 99 cent frozen yogurt without them!
As I type this, my kids are currently in Smalland. I am eating a piece of cake for $1.99 (a step up from the 99 cent froyo) and a free cup of coffee courtesy of being an Ikea Family member."
"Once at the grocery store, I noticed that the typically $8 stew beef was mislabeled as $3 'chicken thighs.' I inconspicuously slid six packs into my cart and slunk to the self-checkout to see if the label would read the mistaken prices.
'It's going to be the usual $8,' I thought, 'I'm not that lucky.'
But that day, I was. Each pack was $3. I bagged my stash and made my getaway to the car when I started to think, 'Why stop now? Why not have stew beef for days?'
I stashed my loot in the car and went back inside for another round. Was it just a small fluke I had found before? Nope. Someone royally messed up, because ALL the stew beef packages were underpriced as cheaper 'chicken thighs.' Ordinarily, I'm modest in my shopping, but this was enough to let my inner Larfleeze take over and determine to just take everything.
I was picking out another pack of six when one of the workers noticed me raking meat like crisp autumn leaves in a forest. He started to walk over. 'Crap,' I thought, 'the house is on to me.' It was time to go for broke.
In my greed, I grabbed three more packs to slam in my cart, having to leave the last remaining two behind and passed the clerk with a brisk 'hello' as I make my exit while he inspected the gaping hole I had left in the meat section. I'm guessing that he found their mistake and put two-and-two together because I was about halfway down the cereal aisle when I heard a loud, exasperated 'Oh, COME ON!'I wasn't even being sly anymore. I hurried to the self-checkout, cashed my winnings, and hustled out of there trying to think of how many different recipes to make with my 15 packs of $45 stew beef."
"There I was, a freshman in community college going into Radio Broadcasting. It was my second semester and it was exceedingly difficult to get a parking spot because my classes didn't start until 9:00 am and everyone else was taking 8:00 am classes. The parking situation consisted of a large lot out back, but not nearly large enough for the student body and staff, a lot to the side and a lot across the street you had to pay to use because it was privately owned. Each one involved a 5-minute walk just to get to the building, not to mention navigating through it to get to wherever your class was.
So one day, I was running late and, in my haste, just parked in a small visitor lot RIGHT in front of the building. I mean, it was like 5 parking spaces wide and a 45-second walk from my car to the classroom.
At the end of my day, I went back out and found a ticket on my car. It was hard to read because it was a carbon copy of the ticket they wrote. It was so hard to read, in fact, that I couldn't even make out the date and time it was written. And then it dawned on me...
'Why not just park here every day, and put this under my wipers before I go in?' It wasn't foolproof by any means, but worst case scenario I'd get another fine and maybe an angry letter.
I spent 3 years there, taking classes or working at the campus radio station, and I NEVER once got called out for it. I even had the presence of mind to put the ticket in a little ziplock bag if it was raining like the parking attendants did."
"My job through my first year of university really paid off for me. My dad's best friend, Cheryl, was the head of a 24/7 department where on most weekends they'd have only a single person rostered on. I was chatting to my Dad about getting a job after high school that I could keep doing through university, and so he went and talked to Cheryl about it.
My Dad had run his own companies for decades, so he knew employment law fairly well, and point out to Cheryl that it's actually illegal (under Work Health and Safety laws) to have a single person working in that sort of environment. So suddenly there were three to four 12 hour shifts that needed filling every weekend in her department, and none of the current staff had any interest in doing.
My friends and I were quickly drafted in for emergency training and put onto weekends in this fairly professional environment that paid very well for a no qualification job. Not only that, but you get 1.5x pay on Saturdays and 2x pay on Sundays here in Australia, so our base rate of $24 an hour (this was in 2003 for reference) turned into 12 hours shifts of $36-$48 an hour.
So my friends and I would earn $400-$600 a week for 12 hours of work, which was mostly sitting around answering a few phone calls (maybe 5 over the whole 12 hours), pack a box or two, and study the rest of the time (or browse the internet in my case, I wasn't a great student).
Brofist to my Dad for pointing that one out to Cheryl."
"It's been twenty years since I was in college, but we only had one meal ticket plan if you lived on campus and our cafeteria was open from like 6:00 am - 9:00 pm. You pretty much got three meals Monday-Friday, two meals on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday.
So the second semester I get a new roommate who was a football player. We hit it off and did a lot of goofing around campus. But the first time we went to breakfast together I was given double of everything. I thought it was weird, but didn't say anything.
Well throughout the first week when my roommate and I went to eat together, I would get double of everything. I asked him if he noticed that. He said something to the line that athletes got twice as much. I thought it was odd there would be such favoritism, but I shrugged it off as it was something that must have been arranged by the coaches. I didn't care I was getting twice the food.
About halfway through the semester, when I would go by myself or with my girlfriend, the cafeteria ladies assumed I was in the football program because, at that point, I was as big as a linebacker. I never told them I wasn't and figured if they ever said anything, I would just play dumb.
Let's say I gained some weight in college."
"Around Christmas, a local sporting goods shop was advertising a weapon that I wanted for a very good price (about $500), but the sale was online only. I went into the store to look at their stock, and they had the item in question, so I asked for the advertised price, but was told it was online only. The weapon would have to be ordered and shipped.
I asked if they price matched from advertisements, and was told that they did. I picked up a copy of their own ad and asked them to match it, which they did.
I thought that was pretty good until I saw a sign advertising a Christmas promotion in which you could buy 4 $25 gift cards, and get a fifth for free. I asked if there was a limit, and was told that there wasn't, so I promptly bought $400 worth of cards, and was given $100 in free gift cards. I then immediately handed the cards back for the purchase of the weapon."
"Sonic had a 'Free Route 44 with the completion of a survey' promo about 10-12 years ago or so. By complete accident, I found out that the survey codes for the free drink weren't just printed on the receipts given with meals. Oh no, no, no. They were printed on every receipt.
For at least a month, I'd go to Sonic before work and redeem my free Route 44 coupon and then ask for a receipt of the transaction. There was a new survey code every single time! I got probably 20 free Route 44s before someone higher up caught on and killed the promotion. I'm sure they lost a ton of money on that loophole."
"A few car companies give gift cards for test drives. It is usually one per household. I would sign up for a test drive and they would email me a form. You take the form to a dealership and have them give you their dealer code.
I went to the dealership and I told them that I really couldn't afford a new car and just wanted the gift card. I even told them I was willing to pay for wasting their time and gas. While they talked to the manager, I gathered business cards that were all lined up by a receptionist. They gave me the form and I filled it out with no problem.
I then went home and filled out as many as I could. I had them shipped to my house using the names of neighbors and family. I
In other promos, I found the dealership numbers online, and management names off websites. I didn't even have to go in person.
The first time I did it was for Amazon cards. I ended up with a dozen $25 gift cards. That's $300! Another time I made $100 in free gas. I got hundreds of groceries from another.
My best score was $50 Cabelas gift cards. They had no household restrictions. I got so many. I had a mind-blowing stack of them. I bought a Beretta, a case, 1000 shells, hearing protection, and a shooting jacket. I even got lunch while waiting on the paperwork. I signed up for their credit card to save another $50.
It has been 5 years since. I found other promos, but never got any cards."
"I live near the border of Canada in the US. Because of that, the local banks often have a lot of Canadian money that people going to Canada can exchange for and vice versa. However, because of the changing markets and time of the exchange, the banks have a different value of that money. So, for example, one bank has $900 of Canadian that you can exchange for $1000 USD and the bank down the road will give you $1075 USD for that same $900 Canadian.
$3000 and 2 miles of driving between banks and you make $225.
This only worked because I was using local community banks with 1 or 2 branches. The banks can actually set their own prices for money. So we had one local bank that wouldn't give you much at all for Canadian money. They just didn't want it. For some odd reason, people wouldn't shop around and just take what their own bank would give them.
Also if you 'buy' all the money at one bank then it's gone until someone comes and trades again at that bottom price. So it usually wasn't a very repeated loophole."
"When GameStop was maybe a year or two into introducing paid pro membership, my best friend and I exploited how their points were earned by a ludicrous amount and also their return policy.
We purchased a used game for the highest we could. I think it was $57.99, some triple-a title. Since the game was used, you only had 7 days to return it. Well as a pro member you got, I believe, double the points at the time for purchases and trade-ins.
After 6 days, we returned the game and purchased another, all the while keeping a credit if we wanted a game that was less than a triple-a title. Well after a year of doing this, our pro account had well over 100K points.
We used those points to get coupons for stuff like '$50 off any product' and such. The good ones you know.
This doesn't work anymore. If your return games the points go back, obviously."
"My friends and I are professional artists, so all of our business cards typically have an illustration on one side and contact info on the other.
One of the local food chains had a business card fishbowl where once a month a card was selected and that person would get a free meal for them and 8 of their friends/family.
My buddy won first and we a great meal free of charge. We all thought 'This is cool! Worth the shot, right?' and dropped our cards in the same bowl.
A month later my other friend won. The same thing happened and we had another good meal. I moved to another part of town and dropped my card in a new store location. I got a call a few weeks later that I had won. The following month friend number 2 won again, and then I did again a couple months after that.
All in all, our group had 5 free group dinners over the course of 6 months. Turns out the employees of both locations were tired of pulling plain boring white collar business cards and picked through the bowl to find the most interesting ones. Pictures beat out lame cards 100% of the time."
"This is going to be really stupid, but...
When Survivor first aired, it was crazy popular. About 52 million watched the finale and the cast starred in movies and what not. Anyways, this guy on a Survivor fan board created his own online Survivor game. Teams would have to do online challenges, and the losing team would vote someone out.
The second challenge was something like the team had to send an email chain back and forth every hour. You got a point for every hour you sent the chain. If you missed an hour, you were finished. So if your team went five hours, you got five points. (It sounds easy now, but it was much harder back then when people didn't have emails on phones, tablets, etc).
Another aspect of the challenge was that each team would choose a number. The quizmaster also came up with a pre-determined number, added the two together, and would multiply it to the opponent's score. So again, if the other team had five points, and we chose one and the quizmaster chose three, it would times their 5 points by 4 for a final total of 20 points. It was a little convoluted.
Anyways, our team only got a score of one and knew we had lost. I came up with the idea of using the number of negative -100,000 for our opponents. That way, no matter what number the quizmaster had, when he added it up and multiplied it to the opponent's score, our opponent's final score would be a negative number and we would win.
The quizmaster didn't like that. He changed his number to 100,004, just to give the other team a positive number and for us to lose the challenge. There were lots of emails about how the game wasn't fair, that he shouldn't be changing the rules because we outsmarted him, etc.
Eventually, he canceled the game, and I got lots of angry emails for the next couple of weeks."
"In school in a geography class once we were playing a little game where you were assigned a country with a few resources which grew in value based on the number of them you held. I realized the rules doubled agricultural resources every payoff, but only really added 20% value to industrial ones, even though that 20% of value is higher than 5 agricultural resources, a doubling of your value is a doubling. So I traded all my industrial resources for other people's agricultural ones, they thought I was nuts because I lost most of my value that turn, but in the end, the teacher ended the game early because my wealth doubled every turn and everyone else had a far worse return.
Since we were playing as countries and I had started as Ecuador, the game was ended because I was a turn away from becoming the biggest economy in the game, beating the US, and completely ruining the point the game was trying to make in that starting wealth leads to ending wealth. Forget that, I made Ecuador the world's economic powerhouse."