Free—it’s the f-word that everybody loves to hear. There’s no reason you can’t start hearing it more often.
You will need
- Internet access
- A phone
- Spare time
- A burning desire to get things without paying for them
Step 1 Find free samples Visit the web sites of your favorite brands, and see what offers and giveaways they’re running. If they have no freebies listed, give their consumer hotline a call and ask for samples—companies often have stacks ready to mail out.
Step 2 Volunteer for students Many cosmetology, dental, and accounting schools require their students to gain real-life experience by providing free services to the public. Find schools in your area and inquire about no-charge services. You may feel like a guinea pig at times, but students are always supervised. And nothing beats the price.
Step 3 Take online surveys If you have an opinion and some spare time, there are hundreds of sites willing to shower you with free stuff in return for filling out marketing surveys. You’ll rack up points that are redeemable for electronics, appliances, and gift cards. Type ‘online surveys rewards’ into a search engine.
Stay away from sites that require credit-card information or demand a fee.
Step 4 Attend trade shows Find upcoming trade fairs in your area that are open to the public. Talk to as many vendors as you can. No matter the exhibition, there’s sure to be free merchandise and swag bags at every turn. And don’t be afraid to be blunt when asking for freebies—they’re used to it.
Show up to a trade show on the last day. Vendors will often have leftover displays and other goodies they’d rather give away than pack up.
Step 5 Freecycle Join an online recycling or ‘freecycling’ network. There are several eco-friendly web sites that allow users to give and receive just about anything. It’s free to join, and a great way to reuse items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Step 6 Blog Hop onto a free blog-hosting site and start reviewing whatever interests you: movies, music, books, food. If you attract enough traffic, expect companies to start sending you free DVDs, CDs, or other samples related to whatever you blog about.
Step 7 Barter Bartering, or trading goods and services, isn’t technically free, but it won’t cost you cash. Go to a web site that offers free classified ads, post descriptions and photos of goods you want to get rid of, and wait for the offers to roll in. Who knows what you can find in return?
The businessman credited with inventing freebie marketing is King Gillette, who gave away disposable blades after he invented them in the early 1900s.