Finances: Freebies – Worth the Time and What Do They Save?

by The Glowing Gazelle on October 18, 2012

There are several manufacturers that are starting to offer free samples throughout the year. And there are a growing number of sites, such as mine at Coupon Geek, that share some of these offers as they pop-up. But is it worth the time to sign-up for these freebies when you usually get such small samples? And in the end, how much do these samples really save?

These are some questions that I randomly hear and I wanted to take a few minutes to share my opinion on them.

There are several times when I’ve wanted to try a new product but when the grocery/household budget is tight, I don’t usually allow myself to indulge. My fear is that I’ll pay the $3-$5 and end up with something I don’t even like. While I’m not fond of how some manufacturers package and ship the free samples, most of them do send them off in mostly recyclable materials. Some are even offering higher-value coupons rather than wasting the materials to ship the items. And while the packaging can be wasteful, it would be just as wasteful for us to buy the larger versions and then tossing them when we don’t like them–which would waste more material and more product.

The great thing is, if you try not to be too brand-loyal, you actually can save yourself quite a bit of money throughout the year signing up for these things. Here are some of the most common items I see for free samples:

Toothpaste
Mouthwash
Lotions
Razors
Shampoo/Conditioner
Diapers
Feminine Products
Coffee/Tea/Other Beverages
Medicinal Items
Vitamins
Snacks
Laundry/Dish Products
Food Products

So let’s say throughout the year you sign-up for these and through several brands can earn a full-size product. (This is entirely possible for each of these items listed!) You could probably save yourself at least $50, and that doesn’t include the coupon savings you’ll earn as free samples usually show up with one. There are also companies, such as Vocal Point, that regularly send out full-size items for samples that would add to that total, if you are with them. When I include the free samples, full-size free samples and high-value coupons for free products, I probably save over $100 a year. (I actually plan on keeping track next year and updating the posting with my final savings.) Don’t forget any savings through things like free photos, song/video downloads/credits, movie rentals, etc.

Overall, I wouldn’t spend too much time “stalking” sites for freebies but just grabbing them as you see them available. The more time you spend finding them, the faster your savings will decline. Here are a few places I recommend for freebies:

~Vocal Point – Excellent for high-value coupons and full-size samples.
~Kraft First Taste – Excellent for high-value coupons and full-size samples on Kraft brand items
~Betty Crocker, Live Better America and Pillsbury – Usually once a month they offer 10,000 freebies for members only. They go fast, though!
~Target’s Free Sample Site
~Walmart’s Free Sample Site
~Facebook pages of your favorite brands
~Bloggers that share Freebies

As a blogger, I check out each free sample link before I post them as I never want to post any scams to my readers. I sometimes end up with items that I may not use, or several of one item but I never let them go to waste. I use those for welcome baskets for overnight guests or as donations to nursing homes for bingo prizes (I especially do this with the little bottles of lotions.) So make sure if you get something that you change your mind about wanting when it arrives that you don’t let it go to waste.

Here’s a picture of several of the items I’ve received just recently:

I often keep a basket and just keep adding to it when the free samples arrive. I use what I like and I keep the rest to share with others. Here’s my latest basket full: (Everything was completely free!)

In the end, I think free samples are a great way to try new products without risking wasting your money on something that you don’t like. Plus it’s fun to get something in the mailbox besides bills! :)

I’m curious to how much you think you save on free samples if you sign-up for them, too?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy October 19, 2012 at 12:52 am

I am on disibility. Your right about trying something first to see if you like the product instead of purchasing the full size, spending money that you don’t have to turn around and not like the product. I send away for all the freebies I can. With 2 daughters, 2 son-in-laws and 4 grandchildren, a set of parents (don’t forget the dog) with everyone liking different things I’m able to put together personalized gift packages for birthdays and Christmas. My family really looks forward to their gifts “baskets”. Some things are darn right hilarious and some are “thanks for the subscritpion” or “I’ve been wanting to try this”. I also belong to point (surveys) programs which allows me to get girft cards throughout the year for gifts. Since I can’t work (which I miss so very much) what else do I have to do with my time. By the way I love your old and new websites. God Bless

Reply

The Glowing Gazelle October 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Thank you so much for the compliments on the websites, Kathy!

My family loves the little gift baskets I can sometimes make for them, too. Some of them have limited computer access so I try to share all that I get with them. It really can add up to a lot in the end. Great way to make a gift if on a limited budget.

Thank you for sharing your story, Kathy and welcome to Glowing Gazelles! :)

Jaycie

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Mary Beth Elderton October 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I love the free samples and think they are well worth it! With just Hubz and me at home most of the time trying a new product might leave of stuck with something for a long time—or worse, wasting it–while a trial size of something gives us the chance to see what’s out there without much risk. The trial sizes are great for the spare bathroom for company–I can offer a variety without investing in large bottles. Also, trial sizes are great for travel. One thing I will do for stocking stuffers is make up quart size ziplock baggies with free sample sizes to take through airports.

Reply

The Glowing Gazelle October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm

These are such wonderful ideas, Mary Beth! I love the idea of stocking stuffer bags and setting up a basket in the bathroom for company. And you are very right–you could have a full-size product for a long time if it’s just the two of you. I’m so glad so many more companies are starting to offer these!

Thank you for sharing your story, Mary Beth, and welcome to Glowing Gazelles! :)

Jaycie

Reply

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