By Amy McRee, NEWS 9
Here's a great way to overcome post-holiday stress: get free stuff. There's also a local site that gets its users in touch with all sorts of savings, and the result has its members living like kings. How would you like a free trip to Mexico or to save $100s on your next grocery bill? Sound too good to be true? Not for thousands of Oklahomans who have hailed to the queen.
"Cheap is good, free is better," consumer queen Melissa Garcia said.
It's the motto Melissa Garcia lives by, and her Web site, consumerqueen.com, is the reason over 3,000 people have bought in to the same idea.
"I was sitting on AOL one day and a lady just IMed [instant messaged] me out of the blue, and asked me if I used coupons," Garcia said. "And, I said, ‘yes', and she said, ‘You should join our group'. So, I got on there and they had a little message board, and all the ladies were talking about how they got stuff for free. And, I was like, ‘you've got to be kidding me'."
But Melissa found the coupon savings were no joke, and decided to build a Web site so others could benefit from the same savings she found as well. She began by posting what stores to shop, what coupons to cut out and the savings to expect.
"I've gotten to the point where I don't even pay $.99," Garcia said. "To me, that's expensive."
Melissa discovered the magazine All You, along with newspaper and online coupons, could net tremendous savings at the store, which she eagerly shared online with her members. Her best-coupon deal as of yet:
"I got $1,880 worth of groceries for $19," Garcia said.
The same type of savings can be found at retail stores too. Instead of searching through sale racks, Melissa's Web site shows members how to rack up "online bargains".
"For instance, right now Disney Store online has a 75 percent off sale and a lot of times manufacturers will offer free shipping for you to come to their Web site and try it out," Garcia said.
Melissa's 8-year-old son, Ryan, got a free birthday party just by trying out a "Fear Factor" product.
And her 11-year-old daughter, Taylor, cashed in on 1,000 Dixie cups, to which she donated to her church, just by entering a sweepstakes.
An invaluable lesson about how giving up a little of their time could greatly benefit others too, along with the entire family.
"I got my daughter a Karaoke machine for $10," Garcia said. "When the Nintendo 64s were available, I got a Nintendo 64 with three games for $14.99 shipped to my door. And, these are just unbelievable deals."
Deals as sweet as the 16 bags of Halloween candy Melissa just picked up at Target for $3 are something she graciously will pass on to anyone who registers, for free. Because being the consumer queen, for Melissa, starts by being a servant to her members, and what she calls her ministry.
"I feel like people who need this information can't afford to pay for it, and so I'm just trying to reach out there to let moms know that you can stay at home, but you can contribute to your family," Garcia said.
Keep in mind not every offer out there is legit. Even online coupons can be fraudulent, so be careful. Melissa says every link on her site though, is indeed the real deal. Many deals are posted by her very own members. And, Melissa's hoping advertisers will want to contribute to her site as well by posting their logos or coupons, which will certainly help her keep the sight up and running for free. If you're interested, go to consumerqueen.com.