Thursday, March 26, 2009

Samples and Freebies: How To Use Them To Your Advantage

Don't you just love getting good stuff in your mailbox?  I do. And since I've been couponing and following frugal blogs over the last year, I've had more good stuff in my mailbox than ever before. Can you say FREE SAMPLES?

Getting free product samples only takes a few seconds of your time– usually just as long as it takes to fill in a few blanks on an online form. And then, at absolutely no cost to you, you get great stuff delivered straight to your door. It's a great deal, and it can help your family save money, too. Here are a few ideas about the easiest ways to take advantage of all that free sampling has to offer:

• Know where to look. Frugal blogs all over the web post about free samples every day. I'll post as many good ones as I can here on The Frugal Muse, and you're bound to see many more on any other blogs you're following as well. Here are a couple links where you are always certain to find great samples:
Walmart Samples (A GREAT source for samples!)

• Set up a dedicated e-mail address. Set up a free e-mail account that you only use for signing up for samples and coupons online. In about one minute, you can set up a new e-mail address through gmail or another free e-mail hosting site. This will dramatically cut down on the amount of spam you receive in your primary personal e-mail account. If you only sign up for samples, coupons, and deals online through this dedicated e-mail address (and never give out your phone number, which is something I recommend), then you won't ever have to worry about spamming or telemarketing. You get all the good stuff, without the headaches.

• Be Smart. 99% of the time, free sample deals are totally legitimate and are simply good marketing by reputable companies who want you to try a new product. However, there are times when you'll be better off skipping a free deal in order to save some spamming headaches from telemarketers later on. Although I try not to ever let this happen, I may even accidentally post a deal that leads to this type of spamming. For some great tips about how to be a smart sampler, check out this great post from Freebies4Mom.

• Use the Samples. Sounds obvious, right? But the truth is that small product samples are easy to overlook during your day-to-day household product consumption. Right now in my closet I have about 10 sample size bottles of laundry detergent. Each sample will wash two loads of laundry... so that's 20 free loads of laundry that I can do with these samples! But if I toss those samples in the closet and never use them, they are doing my family no good. So use what you get to stretch your family's household budget a little further each month!

• Enjoy the Added Bonus. Want to know one of the best parts about requesting free samples? They almost always come with high-value coupons! There have been several times when I requested a free sample which came with a coupon, and because of that coupon, I was able to get a full-size product free when combined with a store sale or promotion. It's a win-win! Free stuff which leads to more free stuff.

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