except free samples!
I try to conserve as much as possible. I take showers 1-2 times per week which saves a LOT of shampoo/conditioner. I only drive my car on the weekends which allows me to only fill up once every 2 months. I try to live off of $20 worth of groceries per week, that way I only buy the bare necessities (veggies, eggs, and hummus). I’m definitely into saving money and, therefore, getting free samples!
I suppose my addiction started in high school when I thought it was fun to sign up for free samples online using the website http://www.totallyfreestuff.com which has since gone downhill significantly. I would get the samples and bring them, unopened, to homeroom where my friends and I would huddle around and excitedly open it. If it was a sticker, we would graffiti someone’s binder with it. More often than not… it was a sticker.
I’ve since graduated from the world of useless stickers to becoming more invested in products I can USE – toothpaste, shampoo, soap, food. There are a surprising number of websites out there to help you find free samples. My most recent favorites are The Freebie Blogger and Freebie Shark. Of course, you have to know what to look for. Websites that force you to do surveys are never valid. I typically only sign up for freebies that I know are worthwhile and will actually come. Beauty products, coffee/tea, energy samples, and perfume are always reliable picks. Here are a couple samples I’ve gotten recently. Nothing much, but they’re fun little backups to have while traveling or to use for a month once your actual bottle of shampoo/toothpaste/moisturizer runs dry.
However, the real bread and butter of the freebie world is WOMM – Word of Mouth Marketing. So many websites exist to connect consumers with brands who want people to spread the word about their new products. Typically, you make an account, take a few demographic/preference surveys (so they don’t send samples of infant formula to youths like me) and then you wait to be invited to review a product! Once you receive an invitation, you accept it and receive the sample in 1-2 weeks. After that, you have about a month to test it out and report back with your findings. These are often in the form of a survey, but also typically require you to talk about the product on social media. I don’t want to spam my friends, so I have a secondary Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that I use only for freebies and promoting products. Several WOMM sites exist, so here is an overview of the ones I use…
I first signed up with PinchMe, a bi-monthly free-for-all where users can sign up, answer a few demographic and preference questions, and then wait for Tuesday morning. PinchMe releases new samples at 9am Pacific time every other Tuesday morning. Users are encouraged to log in and claim whatever samples are available. Of course, this leads to a veritable feeding frenzy. Often, the site crashes and the page takes FOREVER to load. The samples are usually gone by 9:03. It’s always a guilty pleasure to log into Facebook and go to PinchMe’s page to read all the negative comments complaining about the lack of samples and how they’re always “Out of Stock.” I’ve gotten a fair amount from PinchMe – Zep fabric odor remover and Zep countertop cleaner, Gevalia instant latte, shampoo, and a full bottle of nail polish. Not bad for a little perseverance through their faulty website!
Smiley360 requires a bit more effort. The basic premise is the same, but they make you earn “points” before you can complete a “mission” aka reviewing a product. You have to share it on social media repeatedly AND they give you a personalized link to the product that you have to get 10 friends to click on. Luckily the freebie-addict community is large so we often ask each other for clicks, but I couldn’t imagine actually bugging my friends! However, these freebies are SWEET. I don’t get cold sores and I never actually received the Orajel sample, but the Arm & Hammer sample was a FULL-SIZED box of baking soda and a cute little plastic container to store it in. Who likes looking at those ugly orange boxes, anyway? I also got a full-sized glass bottle of Cholula hot sauce. I’ve used it a few times on my eggs and it’s just like any other hot sauce. I accepted the Sundown multivitamin “mission” today. This isn’t very exciting, but hey, it’s free!
I’m always most excited for BzzAgent “campaigns” aka product reviews. They have the best products and the best website design out of all WOMM sites. Plus they have the most swaggy freebies! In addition to getting a free pizza, they also sent me a free pizza cutter! And I got a free tote bag with the Chobani yogurt. The only downside is that there are SO MANY campaigns and they only select a few people for each one. So while I am super excited about getting free pizza and yogurt, there were some campaigns I didn’t get invited to that had free Almondmilk – my favorite drink! BzzAgent also makes you interact on social media and upload photos of your sample. They take it a step further and ask you to post on Pinterest and recall face-to-face conversations you had with friends about the products. It is a bit of a pain, but oh so worth it!
My most recent impressive samples have actually come from Facebook. Occasionally, brands will hold giveaways where they randomly select one commenter to receive the prize. I happened to be selected for a Harvest Snap giveaway. They make potato-chip like snacks made out of peas and lentils. Yum! I thought I would only be receiving one bag, but then I opened THIS….
I have enough peas for life! AND a free T shirt! If that wasn’t enough, I was also selected as the winner of an Oscar Meyer Bacon Alarm Clock. You plug it into your iPhone and it emits a bacon odor when it is time to wake up. It has a $40 value and I’m so excited to receive it! Hopefully this has inspired you to realize how easy freebies are to find. There’s nothing better than coming home from work to a giant mailbox full of free samples!