Friday, August 2, 2013

Never Buy a Razor Again (Or: Where to Get Free Shit)

Disclosure: Affiliate link.
At this point, I have 5-6 brand-new razors in my cabinet, and I didn't pay for any of them. Since I only shave a couple of times a week, those will last me months. Some of them came with refill blades, too. (And remember to use this technique to keep the blades sharp twice as long.) Razors are one of the easiest things to get free samples of online, next to shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, and hand cream. Remember when I showed you my hoard of bath and beauty junk? Most of that was free. I have probably a year's worth of free shampoo and conditioner in there.

Everyone knows about requesting free samples online, right? Or do I only think that because it was one of the first things I did when we got the internet at school in around 1996? I like free things, I like getting (non-junk) mail - perfect. Either way, maybe I can give you at least one source here that you're not already aware of.

Of course you're "paying" for these products with your own time, whatever it takes to find the samples and fill out a form to request them. But if you tend to sit around playing on your computer/device during your downtime anyway, you could do this and get some things in return. You also have to provide some of your information to these companies. I can't emphasize this enough: make yourself a dedicated email address to use for things like this. You will get spam. You might also want to sign up for a Google voice phone number to use. Don't put in a fake phone number - I got multiple calls every day for a few months from spammy sources when someone used my phone number to sign up for something. Not cool.

But enough lecturing, here's where to get the free shit:
  • "Free stuff" blogs: My favorites (where I find the the most relevant links) are Free Stuff Finder and My Savings. You can do a search for "free stuff" or "free samples" and find countless other sites like these out there. After a while, though, you tend to just see the same things on all of them. Some retailers also have free samples pages that have things posted frequently, so you have to check every once in a while. I've got some great free stuff from Target's sample page. Note: free sample offers increasingly require you to "like" their Facebook pages before you can request a sample. I am okay with that, partly because I hid all of my likes from my profile. You can always unlike them later. But I draw the line at making any more effort than that. I am not going to write a story or record a video or upload a photo just to get a packet of free hand lotion. It's not worth the effort for me, and I don't want to do that much free marketing for a company for so little in return. 
  • Fan sourcing marketing programs: I'm not sure exactly what to call these programs. I mean things like BzzAgent and Influenster. In return for answering questionnaires, posting on social media, and writing reviews, you get free products to test out. I've posted a number of BzzAgent reviews here (you can see what kinds of things you might get at that link), but you don't need a blog. You can link up Twitter or Facebook or just post things on their websites. Essentially you are doing word-of-mouth marketing for these brands in return for some product (and maybe some incentive points that add up very slowly). For me, it's been cool, because it gave me things to review here that I wouldn't have otherwise tried (and led to some of my most scathing reviews, which is always fun). You have to decide if your time (and being used as a corporate tool!) is worth getting some free products.
  • Survey sites: The one I use is called Ipsos I-Say. You get points for each survey you take, which you can redeem for gift cards. Sometimes you also get invitations to test new products, which they send you for free. I have got two bottles of mystery shampoo and a bottle of mystery conditioner this way. The downside is that if you really like the stuff, you have no idea what it is. This is also the most time-consuming of all of the above: surveys take 10-60 minutes each, and you get 45 cents to $2 worth of points for each one. Plus, sometimes you fill out 8 pages of a survey before it decides you don't qualify, and then you only get 5 cents, which is frustrating.
That's it, really. Between those three types of sites, I am rich in tiny packets of everything, with the occasional full-size something-or-other thrown in there.

Any other sources you know of that I'm missing?

1 comment:

  1. I get daily emails from ALL YOU and Hey, It's Free! Sometimes they have stuff I want, more often not (or the samples are gone by the time the email goes out), but it's easier than having to remember to check sites all the time. Start Sampling sometimes has good stuff, as does Toluna surveys sometimes have product tests too, though mostly it's just online market surveys.


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