Save Money / Consumer News

Tips for finding worthwhile freebie samples

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Consumer Reports ShopSmart checked out dozens of free offers on the Internet to see which ones are worthwhile and what to look out for.

"Freebies are a great way to try new products," said Jody Rohlena of Consumer Reports. "Just be aware that they're typically samples and many of them are travel-sized."

Some companies give you a lot more than others. For example, Eucerin has given out a 4-ml packet of lotion, while Simple gave out a 50-ml bottle of facial wash gel.

"This is a good-sized sample," Rohlena said of the Simple freebie. "It's enough to use the product a few times and decide if you like it."

ShopSmart says the best place to find free offers are aggregator sites, such as freeflys.com, hunt4freebies.com and heyitsfree.net.

And don't forget social networking sites.

"Facebook is a good place to find freebies," Rohlena said. "If you 'Like' a company or a brand, they may send you free samples."

Twitter is also worth checking. Some will send you something free if you follow their account.

Company websites are also good places to look. Check out companies like Target and Procter & Gamble that have free sample pages on their websites. Just be aware you're going to have to enter some personal information.

"Don't give away too much, like your birth date or any health information," Rohlena said.

All freebie offers require an email address, so create one specifically for freebies so offers and spam don't clog your inbox.

"When you are trying to score freebies, you have to be patient," Rohlena said. "We ordered 44 items, and just about half had arrived after almost three months."

For example, a Rachael Ray just 6 dog food took 10 weeks. But when it arrived, it did come in a good-sized sample.

Consumer Reports says you can also save on movies by joining frequent moviegoer programs, like AMC Stubs and Regal Crown Club. These offer free tickets, free concessions and waive online booking fees.

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