What to Do With Free Samples

I don’t need much of an excuse to send away for free samples. My obsession with doing so began back in high school with my friend Aurora. One night during one of our sleepovers, we were looking for fun things to do. We decided to send away for lots of free samples. We made a list of all kinds of places to call or send emails to begin with that. There were some really funny ones as well, and so we prank-free sampled people (gotta love frugal fun). For example, we sent a bottle of Beano to one of our friends as a joke. We also sent a female condom to another friend as a joke (and yes, both of these friends called Aurora up individually several weeks later and thought it was so weird what they had received in the mail. One was utterly stupefied and didn’t know how to use it…you can guess for which product).

Since our pranking days, Aurora and I still get thrills from sending away for free items. The most common free samples and items we receive are new toiletry products that come out on the market, such as deodorants, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, floss, etc., but there are other free products all the time. Here is a list of some of my favorites from 2009 so far:

  • New Pruning Shears
  • Dove Deodorant
  • Love Scrolls to be Used for our Wedding Vows
  • Aquafresh toothpaste
  • Burt’s Beeswax Peppermint Lip Balm (in a tin)
  • Over 200 digital camera prints
  • Calculator
  • 1 Refill Head to Paul’s Phillip Sonicare Toothbrush
  • Caress Touch Body Wash
  • Degree Deodorant
  • Reach Dental Floss

Perhaps you have wanted to send away for free samples or free items, but do not see the point in doing so. After all, how is a little 3 oz. bottle of shampoo going to help you in the long run? Well, I am here to tell you that there are several great ways for you to use free samples. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Put together a guest basket for your guest bathroom, sort of like a hotel. Include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, disposable razor, floss, etc. This added touch will make your guests more at home and appreciative of your hosting talents.
  • Purchase a travel makeup bag, and fill this with all of the airline-safe free samples you have received. You can give this as a gift to a college or high school student going abroad, a friend taking a honeymoon, or even someone going off to college.
  • Use this for your own personal travel. Keep all of these items in a travel bag so that the next time you take a trip, you can just grab it and go without having to pick through your own items at home to figure out which to pack.
  • After you use the products from these containers, wash them out and use them to put your own products in for when you travel instead of purchasing a set. The containers that free samples come in are generally all within the allowable 3 ounce limit for liquids on airlines.
  • You can collect free baby samples of products, then purchase a baby traveling bag and fill it with products. Purchase a few baby travel tools and give this as a baby shower gift for mothers who plan on traveling with their infants.

So the next time you see free samples laying around your house and are tempted to just toss them, think about letting them accumulate until you can use them for something that will make a difference. Here is a website with free sample listings to get you started: Sweet Free Stuff.

Has anyone else figured out a great way to use free samples? I’d love to hear your ideas.

3 comments… add one

  • You can also send away for free samples of pet products even if you don’t have a pet and give the samples to an animal shelter. Every now and then you’ll find coupons for free pet products. On your next shopping trip, pick up the free product. Save up the samples until you have a nice collection to drop off.

    It’ll give you a warm *fuzzy* feeling!

    :-)
    /J

  • Aurora

    hahahahahahaha, that was so much fun. I think we found a website that had a huge list of 1-800 numbers to call and get free samples. Who knew we’d still be going after samples a decade later!

  • Aurora–totally! It is quite hilarious that we are still doing free samples:).

    Momma J: Great use of pet freebies!

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