It may sound like a bit of a cliche, but the the truth is that the best things in life are free, especially if you’re having to tighten your belt a bit financially, like were having to at the moment. Years ago, free samples were the sort of things that you might get given as you walked through a shopping centre or past all the shops in the centre of town. Occasionally you might even get someone come to your door offering things like washing powder or other domestic products. The advance of the internet has changed all that though, and the people giving out free samples in the street have been replaced somewhat by websites that pull together all the free samples offered across the internet in one handy place.
When you first visit a site like this though it can seem a bit overwhelming as there are just so many things that you don’t know where to start, or if there’s anything actually being given away that you want. I’m becoming a bit of an expert though when it comes to freebies, so here’s my guide about how to make the most of free samples.
1. Set aside time
Freebie finding can be a time intensive process. Before you know it you’ve spent hours on a site clicking on links and filling your details in. I find it really helpful to set the timer on my phone so that I time box how long I find looking for freebies. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you know that you’ve only got a set time to do it in. The same theory works for other tasks like housework too!
2. Know what you want
Using your time in a targeted fashion can also really help. Before you start make a list on a piece of paper as to what it is that you want to get for free that day. Maybe you’re after toothpaste, snack food or something baby related. If so, try and focus on that. There’s no point spending time filling in forms for something that you don’t want or won’t use.
But at the same time, think about whether or not it’s something that you can use as a gift for someone else. For instance, I’m not exactly a fan of smelly candles, but I know lots of people are, and they make great gifts. I therefore always look out for that sort of free sample as a few of them can be put together in a homemade hamper or similar, possibly with a few other freebies, to make a super gift for someone.
3. Be organised
Obtaining free samples involves a lot of form filling. These companies mainly want your personal information, in particular your email address, in exchange for the free sample. Sometimes you may be signing up for their email mailing list in exchange for getting the sample. It therefore helps to have an email address that you’re happy to use of all of these that might be different to your main one. Possibly set up a gmail account or similar for free and use that email address for all the mailing lists that you’re bound to end up on.
As most free samples are sent out in the post then you’ll also get very used to filling in your postal address and a few other bits of personal information into online forms. Most modern browsers have an option so that you can autofill forms. These can be your friend when requesting freebies online, but be warned that they don’t always work, especially if the website you’re entering the information into isn’t set up with the meta tags that autofill is expecting. Therefore it can also be worthwhile to have a text document on your computer where you have your address written out so that you can quickly copy and paste the key details over as they’re required. There are also keyboard shortcuts for copying and pasting data that are worth learning to speed things up even more.
So there you go. My top tips for obtaining free samples. What’s the best thing that you’ve managed to get for free?
Freebies image from Shutterstock.