June 25, 2018

Free Trial Size Products

May 28, 2009


Did you know that you can get trial/travel size products for free with coupons?  Just make sure the coupon does not prohibit it’s use on trial sizes.

The end of the month is fast approaching and I bet everyone has a ton of coupons expiring!  Why not go through them to see if you have any that can be used on trial size products.  I usually wait until they are about to expire to get the travel size, just in case I can get the full size product for free instead. But, if it’s about to expire, I would much rather get a free travel size product than throw away a coupon!

Travel size products are great if you want to try something before buying the full size product.  Besides being great for travel, they are also great for keeping in your purse, glove compartment, desk, or other places you might need these items on a spur of the moment!

*Warning* Using coupons on trial sizes may cause cashiers to develop a bad attitude, and they may try to refuse your coupons. The best cures for this are to have an example coupon handy that does say “excludes trial sizes” to compare to the coupon you are using that doesn’t say that. (If the manufacturer didn’t want you to use it on the trial size, they would have stated so on the coupon.) If the store does not want to give you the overage (the whopping 1 – 3¢ – they will be reimbursed the full amount of the coupon!), tell them you do not mind them adjusting the coupon down to the price of the product. It is store policy after all. You can also carry a copy of the stores coupon policy with you, and program the phone number for corporate into your phone. Be prepared to stand up for your savvy-shopping self! Don’t say I didn’t warn you…


  1. Thanks for the freebies, I’ll definitely be getting some of those.

    Kate’s last blog post..Buy.com- FoodSaver V2040 Sealer Kit $59.99

  2. I love using coupons to get free travel sized products, too! It makes packing for trips that much more fun, too! 🙂

    Frugal Girls!’s last blog post..High Value Dog Food Coupon!

  3. How funny…I just got travel sizes of Axe body wash and dove facial moisturizer for free with coupons at Target. The cashier told me because they were .97 and the coupons were for $1 off I would have to buy bigger sizes. I politely told her the coupons didn’t exclude travel sizes…yikes…she was sooo not happy with me and after talking to customer service agreed to give me .97 off. Great tips Stephanie!

  4. Thanks for this post. I had a frustrating cashier at Target who wouldn’t let me use my coupons since I was using them on Trial size items. I felt like a criminal and wondered if I was naively being unethical. Thanks so much for clearing up any confusion I had lingering after calling Customer Service. Now I know I can be more confident in standing up for myself AND my coupons. 🙂

  5. I have some friends that are overseas or going there in the next few months. All of these will be perfect to send over there and they will be greatly appreciated when they are recieved thank you.

  6. Tracy M says:

    I tried to use coupons for trial sizes at a Target this week and the cashier was putting them through, but the manager saw what she was doing and stopped her. The manager said that I could not use the coupons for trial sizes and he started to get upset when I said that the coupons did not say that they were limited to trial sizes. I simply left the store (left all my purchases at the checkout counter) and drove to another Target (thank goodness I pass by two on my way home from work) and was able to use the coupons there – no questions asked.

  7. I had the same problems! Went to Target and cashier was inexperienced and she brought over the mnager and she told me I couldn’t use them on trial sizes and that I couldnt do it b/c the coupon was higher than the trial sizes. I left the items, went home, printed out the policy and drove back (not happy) went to the same manager and she called over another manager b/c she obviously didn’t believe me. He told her that I was RIGHT and she never even apologized. Rang up my items and still overcharged me by .38. She had an attitude about it. POOR customer service!! I called Guest Relations and told them everything and her name. They apologized to me and I told them that they need to make sure their employees know their coupon policy b/c this is happening to many times to people. Thanks Stephanie!

  8. I tried to do this last week at Target. I was so excited and every coupon they tried to scan of mine would not go through and each time the cashier had some excuse as to why they would not accept them. I was so upset I just ended up leaving there were a ton of people behind me and it was close to closing time. I have never had the problems with people accepting coupons as what I have had at Target.

  9. I had the same problem at Target today. Manager said I couldn’t use the coupons on trial size because it was worth less than the coupon. None of the coupons would go through. I explained the coupons didn’t say they couldn’t be used on trial size. I also told them I had used a same coupon in the past at that very store for a same trial product. They told me that some employees were fired for accepting the coupons. I told them I didn’t want the products and left. It was really embarrassing.

  10. Barbara says:

    Wow, were you right, went to Target today to get my free trial size items that I had coupons for but found everyone there had a bad attitude about using the coupons. I kept my cool and asked the manager for a written policy on coupons, which he supplied after about 15 minutes. Even though the policy said if the transaction amount was brought to less than $0 the cashier was to manually adjust the coupon to the item, he still refused now telling me that I had to get exactly the “pictured” item. Tried to use the $2 crystal light coupon on the two .99 cent size packages, he refused stating I wasn’t purchasing the correct product even though the coupon said ANY two crystal light products! It was exasperating. I was really only getting the trial size things for Christmas stockings we are making for the troops in Iraq but I didn’t even mention it to him because that shouldn’t matter!! UUUG!

  11. dude. you are so right on with this. i literally have to prepare myself before i go into the store for these. it’s so frustrating. and i HATE not knowing what to say in response. in a way i’m glad to know i’m not alone 🙂

  12. Does anyone have a list of the trial size items that are sold at Target? I am not sure which coupons to save that are expiring.
    Thanks so much!

  13. I always try to buy something else with my trial size items instead of just buying the items alone. its seems to go more smoothly.

  14. I have found no matter what the cost of a trial size product at Target (here in Miami, they are usually $1.07), the coupon still beeps…I just stand firm that the coupon can be used for this product and after all I am still paying 7 cents…

  15. Is there a difference between “trial” size and “travel” size? Or is it just the same thing?

  16. Melissa D. says:

    I thought this article was interesting. I have never used a coupon on trial sizes because it seems like all of them exclude trial sizes. I will have to look more closely at my coupons this week. Thanks for the tip!

  17. Wow, you girls are good. I didn’t know that there were so many problems at Target, this is new to me and I am glad you all posted this so I can be on guard and stick up for my coupons. Why does the Target employees get so upset or even care you use coupons, it’s not like there the ones in line.

    • My Target is closing now because they are still refusing to take these coupons even when we tell them we don’t want anything back other than the item for free.. You would think that they would realize that’s why they are losing all of their customers.

  18. Lynnette says:

    Since this article and comments are mostly from 2009, I’m wondering if anyone notices improvement from Target? I just started couponing in October. I’ve bought travel size two or three times now at 2 different Target’s and things seem to go alright. Curious if perhaps they’ve gotten a better grasp on their policy?

  19. Surreal says:

    I’ve never really shopped at Target. It’s always much higher priced than other stores. Even if I use coupons there, I can still find a way to get a better deal elsewhere. Also, I really don’t need to go there for anything that I wouldn’t be able to get somewhere else. If their employees are that horrible, I wouldn’t want to deal with them anyway.

  20. Heather says:

    Hi! I work at Target Corporate and I know for a fact that they listen to customer feedback. If you get push back from cashiers and managers make sure to note their names, the time you were in and the coupons and items you were trying to purchase. Either call customer service or write a strongly worded email to corporate. The more people that provide feedback on the issues they are having with using coupons at Target the more likely they will be to examine the current policies to see if there is come revision or clarification that needs to be done.

  21. I am a front end manager (guest service team leader) at a Target in NH. your cashiers should never be upset or seem rude due to coupons! I will tell you though, that the cashier is more likely upset that your transaction will absolutely obliterate their cashier speed score. Every cashier is based on a speed score and multi-coupon transactions take a long time, in essence forcing them to work faster on other transactions to bring their numbers back up. As for the managers if they are wrong or stubborn, be firm and politley ask to speak to a LOD (leader on duty) or ask for a guest feedback comment card. And always…ALWAYS complete the guest survey printed on your receipt (good experiences as well as bad ones) the stores do listen and your feedback will be posted for all employees to see and be aware of (no names or info about you of course). The store has an overall score produced in part by these surveys you take for better or worse. Managers are usually upset that they have to call for additional cashiers and lines are getting long forcing them to spring into action… its not you or your coupons…. most of the time. and don’t pick the new cashiers at any store you go to… they will call a manager for help every time. instead make a re-pore with a cashier and try to stick to a few you have seen there before. being friendly and explaining your coupons when needed goes a long way.. if you get upset or are rude the $8 an hour employee is not going to care about making you happy. really… cashier is a pretty basic job without much training needed. after all… you have taken hours to prepare for a trip don’t go to the cashier with less training and hours on the job then you put into your trip…. Personally I take care of my couponers and go out of my way to make sure they are having a great guest experience every trip!

  22. I use my coupons all the time on trial sizes (degree, axe, cascade, tide, pert, dove, colgate, and aquafresh) I go to Walmart and I have had bad looks and attitudes from some cashiers, but I tell you what you do, When you find a great, nice cashier(s) go to them every time. They know you will be using coupons and expect it almost. I know there is one at our Walmart and she is the absolute best, she even told me that I have gotten her hooked on coupons. I very rarely pay for health & beauty items, condiments, household items or even most snacks (ie: Nabisco cookie/cracker coupon never gives a size and they are always at Walgreens for $1 and the coupons are for $1) But that’s what I do, I always look for this one cashier and if she’s not there, there are a few others that are nice and even wowed at the fact that I can save that much. Last night went to get items that coupons expire today and got over 30 items and paid $6.39!!!!

  23. I just experienced this for the first time. I tried to use my $1 cascade coupon on the trial pack and was told that targets coupon policy says they don’t accept coupons on any trial sizes. I stated that not only had I done it numerous times without problems but also the coupon itself doesn’t say any size restriction. So I want to customer service to clarify this and they agreed with the cashier. I am not seeing this anywhere in there policy?

    • Hillar – Stand your ground!!! You have to literally point out to the cashier that the coupon does NOT state anywhere you cannot use that particular coupon for a trial size. If she/he still can’t comprehend plain English, then ask for a manager. I have even told a manager at one of the Target stores that I am not leaving the store without my items and they WILL use my coupons. Sometimes cashiers act like it’s coming out of their own pocket.

  24. Betty Fernandez dmd says:

    Wow! I didn’t realize about the trial sizes! I didn’t know that the cashiers get graded on their speed. OH BOY, When I go on my first couponing trip on thursday, I’ll be extra nervous. I’ll let you know what happens.CVS never gives me a problem, but I’ve never done a trial size there or anywhere. I’ll try it!

  25. the first time i was able to get items for free and did not have to pay it felt weird because i felt like i was stealing but now its better since i have been couponing a little while now thanks christine

  26. I do this sometimes too. I use mine at my local grocery store, where I used to work and where DH is a manager. The store owners are also friends of ours which helps any issues. The owners always tease me and say they are going to doc DH pay the 97cents LOL! When I have a particularly good batch of coupons that gets me great deals they always say they want ME to do THEIR shopping LOL!

  27. I have the worst luck at Target! They have no concept of what their own coupon policies are and I try to find the cashiers that I have “trained” on, by pointing out their own polices. They are so rude when it comes to using coupons on trial sizes. I make sure that I read them thoroughly before attempting to use them on such items. I even had one idiot try and tell me that the picture on the coupon was not the same as the product. I told her to read the coupon and she kept pointing out that the picture did not match. I had a strong feeling that she had no idea how to read, or she was just dumb and demanded that a manager come and help. The manager was really ticked off…not at me…but at the cashier. I had two ladies standing behind me, one with a baby. That lady actually said to me, “good for you!” She then asked me if I was an “extreme couponer.” I said unfortunately in our area, it’s not possible, but I have to do what I have to do in order to buy products that I use and to save money at the same time. I don’t know how many times I called corporate and even they were getting annoyed with me. In the end, I said it’s either Target is not training cashiers properly before they’re placed out on the floor, they are discriminating against customers for whatever reason, because not all cashiers act rude, or they just need to simplify their policies. I mean..I don’t work there and I can recite their coupon policy….WHY CAN’T THEIR EMPLOYEES?

  28. brittney says:

    Are any of you from northern NEW YORK using these coupons on travel size bc i find it impossible to do im finding that NY just really sucks when you are trying to coupon especially now after the TLC show our stores in watertown are becoming more strict.

  29. It’s not always the cashier or managers fault I work for cvs and I also coupon and I am a shift manager but the people above us make it very difficult we were recently told that we r not allowed to take them if they are lower then the cost of the item example $1 off any Advil product but trial size is .99 if we take it my manager gets upset with us so we refuse it and this was also relayed to us thru the regional loss prevention manager so we can be terminated for doing it so many customers are getting upset with us saying we don’t know what we r talking about or don’t know are coupon policy when we r just doing what we r told from out upper management

  30. Were can i get trial size coupons?

    • Many coupons exclude trial size products in the fine print, but every so often you’ll find coupons that do not exclude trial sizes. You can use those to get free trial size products after coupon. Good luck!

  31. Sheena McElroy says:

    My husband and I just started “extreme couponing” Where other then coupons.com can we get printable coupons, and how do we get mass amounts of inserts? One other question….how/where can we get trial/travel size coupons?

    Seems to be going well for us so far, we live in a SMALL town so we are limited on our shopping options…

    • Here is a list of printable coupon sites – http://www.couponing101.com/coupons/

      You have to buy inserts to get as many as you want.

      Trial and travel size coupons are random. You just have to read the fine print on coupons to see whether or not they exclude trial sizes. Good luck! 🙂

  32. joneawilmore says:

    i wanted to know where can you spend my coupons to get travel size products if a store want let you use them in there store

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