First and foremost: WHAT are freebies? Freebies are free samples, products, or promotional materials sent out by companies to promote their product, service, or brand: they typically are small samples of new products, anywhere from a travel-size bottle of shampoo to a free pack of gum. They are completely free, available to whoever signs up to receive them online. Freebies can also refer to schwag, or the free items you can get in giveaways, at career fair booths, or various places around campus and online. Schwag can be anywhere from a full-sized product or complimentary service to a free pen or pencil (but pens and pencils aren't cool, you say! Well, imagine how much money you would save if all of your pens or pencils were free for all 4 years at college. Maybe not enough to buy a car, but certainest enough for a shirt or a yummy dinner! Remember- it all adds up.)
I am a freebie addict, as you can see in the picture above, which is a typical haul for a month of casual freebie sign-ups for me. I get a variety of magazines for free, lots of snack foods, and tons of beauty products - I sign up for just about every beauty freebie there is, and most of the food freebies! There are so many companies out there looking to get the word out about their product. Is it effective, you might be wondering? In my case, yes - I will certainly admit to buying a full-sized product of some of the samples I've received, and I also spread word-of-mouth praise on companies who I feel strongly about. Freebies are a great way to create brand loyalty and positive perception in a target demographic. OK - no more lecturing, sorry! I sound like my marketing professor.
Now here's what you really wanna know. Where can I get some freebies?! Well the first thing you need to do is click the little "Follow" link at the very top of the page, because I'll be posting my favorite freebie picks on the blog weekly to make it easy for you. Go on, click it. Now that you've Followed me, here are my choices for the best places to find freebies:
1. http://www.frugal-freebies.com/ Frugal Freebies reports Freebies daily for the US and Canada. It can be a lot to sift through but I always find some good ones!
2. http://community.livejournal.com/freestuff/ LiveJournal? Isn't that for like, emo kids in the early 2000's? Well, you're not wrong, but LiveJournal is also a thriving social network site with a huge demographic of users surfing its "communities" (like message boards) daily. This community/board is specifically for posting freebies, and with nearly 10,000 members all searching and reporting their freebie finds, there are usually daily posts with some good freebie links. The catch is you have to be a member of LJ to "Join" the community, but I promise it's worth it!
3. http://www.freeflys.com/ This site is great because the freebies are categorized. I mainly only sign up for food and beauty samples, so I love that I have the ability to filter out my freebie selections on Free Flys.
4. Wal Mart Samples Wal Mart has weekly rotating samples available for consumers to sign up for. These are great because they are extremely reliable. Wal Mart ALWAYS sends its freebies (sometimes a company runs out or just doesn't send it for some reason). It's also pretty quick with shipping, usually within a month. They switch out about once a week and usually have 3-4 samples from various categories. The selection isn't the best but they are a good one to check. Also personally I hate Wal Mart as a company so I love the idea that I'm costing them money to send me free products, muahaha.
5. http://www.shop4freebies.com/ This one also has categories to search though, and a rating system so that people who have received the freebie can rate it for potential freebie receivers.
Looking for more freebies? Try Googling "Free Samples," you'll get tons of results. Some rules to keep in mind, though:
-Not all freebies are legit. A legit freebie site will typically be on the actual company's website (look for a URL like this: http://candybarbrandname.com/free_candy_bar_sample.html )If the site doesn't seem legit, it may just be trying to collect information. A real freebie also only asks for your address to send the freebie, and will typically have an opt-in option for its newsletter and maybe a couple of other relevant questions. Never fill out a long survey with pages of ads for a freebie.
-Yes, you have to give out your address to receive your freebie. If this makes you nervous, get a post office box!
-Freebies usually take 4-6 weeks to arrive, so don't expect things to start arriving on your doorstep immediately.
Next week I will begin listing my favorite freebie picks!