When I was younger, a friend’s uncle used to write letters to companies in hopes of getting free swag. One time he told a gummy bear maker that a morphed gummy bear with two heads had frightened his daughter so badly she would no longer be able to enjoy candy. In response, the company sent boxes of their non-animal shaped candy in hopes of swaying the small child back on their side.
While this might have worked for my friend’s uncle, there are much easier ways of getting free stuff by mail.
1. Check Freebie Websites
Many websites offer links to free samples, but they’re not all legitimate. To make sure you have a real sample offer, and not a survey or free trial offer sign up site, look for websites that link you directly to the company’s website or only require a simple name and address to get the free samples by mail.
- The Free Snatcher blog updates multiple times a day and includes samples, coupons and online deals.
- Complimentary Crap posts free samples divided by category.
- Yo Free Samples has a mailing list you can join to get daily emails on the best sample deals.
You can also check company websites for samples. Many companies give away trial sizes of their new products on their website, especially those that sell cosmetics, make-up, and toiletries.
2. Utilize Social Networks
I recently got an entire pack of gum by “liking” the Extra Facebook page. In fact, many companies are offering free samples or an entire product on their social networking sites. These companies hope that by visiting their Facebook or Twitter pages, you’ll add them to your own page so that all of your friends will see and do the same – bringing in loads of potential new customers.
You’ll have to jump through a few hoops to get to the goods, but it’s worth it for free sample junkies. To cash in, login to Facebook or Twitter and search for the company you’re interested in. They will list instructions on snagging any free samples on their wall or main feed. You usually have to “like” the page or add them as a friend, and then provide your name and address to get the sample.
3. Go Shopping on the Weekends
As a kid, I loved going to Sam’s Club and Costco with my parents because I knew that trays of free food awaited me. These wholesale clubs have been offering free samples of new foods, beverages and cleaning products for years. You can find the sample stands set up around the frozen food section and the packaged foods.
Recently, Wal-Mart has gotten in on the in-store sample deal as well. Weekends bring the most in-store samples, but you can find the odd stand during the weekdays too. Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco also post free samples on their website. However, a few of the deals on the Sam’s Club and Costco sites require that you have a membership account number to sign up.
4. Browse the Food Court
Little bite-sized foods on toothpicks are the original free sample. Back in the day, every restaurant in the mall food court would have one of their employees stand at the entrance with a tray of food. I’ve seen less and less of these trays recently, but you can still get a sample if you ask. Most places will let you try before you buy, especially ice cream stands and smoothie companies. Just ask the cashier if they have any sample products available before you place your order.
5. Call or Write Your Favorite Companies
While the uncle’s approach may have been a bit over the top, you can actually get samples in the mail by calling or writing the manufacturer directly. If you have a great experience with a new product – or a horrible one – you can call or write the company using the product information listed on the box. Companies want feedback from the customers and may give out coupons, free samples or promotional products in return. This tip is even more effective if you have a blog or prominent audience through review sites like Yelp, epinions, or Amazon.
There are plenty of ways to find free samples of products that you use on a daily basis, and some are as easy as clicking “like” on a social media page. But with a little bit of time and determination, you can save a bit of money each month by finding and taking advantage of these freebies.
How do you find freebies and samples? Are there certain websites you always make a beeline for to get news on the latest and greatest free products? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below.
(photo credit: snowpea&bokchoi)