How and Where to Find GOOD Free Samples!
This is the second post in my new series entitled “Teach a (Wo)Man How to Fish…..” In case you missed the introduction, this series is based on the Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.” So, rather than just finding fish (deals, freebies, coupons, etc.) for you, I’m going to be teaching you HOW to find them yourself!
Everyone loves free samples, right? I love finding new products in my mailbox and getting to try them for free! The only trick is finding the free sample offers…and determining whether or not they are legitimate!
How to Find Free Samples
Back in the good ‘ole days I would have told you that google is your best friend. Unfortunately, now when you search for free samples you are just going to come across a bunch of spammy sites trying to get all your information. I have a few trusted sources that I use to find free samples, and I’m going to share them all with you!
- The Manufacturer’s Website – If you have a favorite product, go to the product’s website! I find so many free samples this way! Look for a section of the website titled “Free Sample”, “Special Offers”, “Promotions”, or anything similar.
- Warehouse Clubs – Warehouse clubs love to offer free samples! Not only do they offer them in-stores, but they are now frequently offering samples online! Their samples update pretty regularly and they occasionally offer some fantastic freebies! Examples: Walmart.com, SamsClub.com, and Costco.com.
- Facebook – More and more companies are advertising on Facebook now. It is becoming a trend for companies to offer a free sample of their product when you “like” their facebook page. Just beware of joining groups that offer a “free $200 grocery store gift card to the first 1,000 people to join!” Uh – yeah right.
- Email Newsletters – Oftentimes I find out about samples through email newsletters I’m subscribed to. If a company is offering a free sample when you subscribe to their newsletter, you can always unsubscribe later….however, I usually don’t unsubscribe. Those companies might offer another sample in the future and the email subscribers will be the first to know about it!
How to Spot Fakes
The most important part of searching for freebies is knowing if the freebie is legitimate or not. I would probably say that there are more fakes than there are legit freebies. Here are a few key tips for spotting fakes
- Wrong Website – Is the website owned by the manufacturer or parent company (Pampers diaper sample would be offered by Pampers or their parent company P&G.)? If the company is actually offering the sample, they will offer it on their own site, or a site that lets you buy their product (like Walmart.com). The whole point of offering samples is to get you to buy the product, so they are going to want to take credit for the sample and give you an easy way to purchase the product.
- Weird Website – Misspellings, poor grammar, lots of graphics/ads, and a poorly designed website are big clues that it’s a fake. If they can afford to send out hundreds of samples then they can afford a nice website. If there are a ton of pop-ups, get out quickly.
- Too Good to Be True – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A free T.V.? Computer? Video game? Stay away!!
- “When You Complete an Offer” – If they want you to complete an offer to get your sample then it’s not worth it. These offers will likely require you to pay for a service of some sort. The offers will claim that you can cancel at anytime, but don’t be surprised if when you call to cancel, the number either doesn’t work or they give you the run-around.
- They want your Credit Card Number – If they ask for your credit/debit card number or bank account information then it’s NOT FREE. A true free sample won’t make you pay for shipping either!
How to Prevent Spam
Even if you are positive the free sample is legitimate, it’s best to take a little extra precaution. Here are a few ways to keep the spam at a minimum.
- Use a Separate Email Address – Create a free email address through gmail, yahoo, or hotmail that you use solely for free samples and deals. Associate as little information as possible with that email address (don’t add your name, phone #, etc. to your profile). When you sign up for freebies, use this “deals email address” so that if they do wind up sending spam emails, it won’t clutter your personal email account.
- Read the Terms – Keep in mind that many free samples are offered only if you sign up for their email newsletter. Those are not spam, and there should be an unsubscribe link somewhere in the email should you decide you don’t want the emails. Also read the terms to see whether or not they will be selling your information or sharing it with their partners.
- Guard Your Credit Cards – Once again, don’t give out your credit card/debit card or bank account information!!
- Don’t Share More Than Necessary – Most “required” information will be marked on the form with an *asterisk. Typically they only need your name and address, but can also ask for your birthday and phone number as well. Usually they will have a bunch of other questions in addition to the required questions that you do not have to fill out! Unless they need it to mail you a sample, don’t answer it.
Check Your Attitude
Sometimes the rush of finding free samples can lead to a sense of entitlement. Keep in mind that the companies are offering these samples for free. If there are glitches when signing up, the freebies get canceled, the samples never arrive, or any other problems arise, it does no good to have an attitude and become angry with the company. Some companies (especially smaller ones) don’t always anticipate the number of people who want free samples and don’t make proper preparations to handle the number of requests. Just remember that free samples are just fun bonuses and not getting that small packet of shampoo isn’t the end of the world.
What to Do With Free Samples
Once you start getting all those fun freebies, you may start to wonder what you’re going to do with all of them. I’m turning to you guys for this one! Aside from the obvious “use them”, what are a few ways you can put your free samples to good use?