By Jen Smith
There’s only one thing I love more than saving money, and that’s getting free stuff. Who doesn’t love the feeling of having and something and not paying for it? Legally, of course.
I can understand why most people don’t take the time to look for freebies. Most offers that promise free samples are click-bait meant to lead you down a black hole of surveys and popups. But if you know where to look you can find free products that aren’t scams.
How to Tell the Difference Between a Legit Freebie and a Scam
There are some telltale signs that the freebie you’re signing up for is a scam. Luckily you don’t have to travel too far down the rabbit hole to find out.
Never Hand Over Your Sensitive Information
Never give your credit card information for a freebie. Or your social security number, for that matter — not even if it wants you to sign up for a “free trial offer.”
A true freebie will ask for your name, email, address (if it’s being mailed) and sometimes some additional survey questions, but you’ll never be asked to sign up with a third party or give your credit card or social security number.
If It’s Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
A freebie that’s too good to be true probably is. You’ll never get a cruise, all-inclusive vacation or high-value gift card as a freebie. Those are scams.
Most freebies are samples or small-sized products. If you see an ad for a freebie worth more than $5, it’s probably not worth your time.
Stick With Sites You’ve Heard Of
Avoid full product promises from sites you’ve never heard of that look unprofessional. If your friends are talking about it or it’s from a company you’re familiar with then it’s most likely a legit freebie.
Decide What You’re Willing to Do
Some freebies are easy to get, like Krispy Kremes on National Doughnut Day. Some freebies require filling out multiple long surveys to accumulate points that take forever to add up.
Decide what’s worth your time and what’s not. A graduate student who can’t work has more time for surveys than a single mom working multiple jobs. Don’t let the quest for freebies keep you from earning real money.
Best Places to Find Freebies
These are my favorite sites to find out which websites provide legit free samples. I check these sites daily to find good freebies and be on the lookout for ones to avoid.
The Freebies Subreddit of Reddit is a forum for people to post links to freebies. Once the deals expire, the link is marked “EXPIRED.” They have strict rules for what can be posted, but it’s an open forum so sometimes a few scam links slip through. Read the comments on each thread and you’ll quickly be able to tell which ones are legit.
There’s also a weekly thread where people post ongoing freebies, birthday freebies and more.
The Balance keeps an updated running calendar of national freebies available every month. From free coffee and donuts to free admission to national parks you’ll never miss a freebie with this list. They also keep a running list of daily free samples and where to get them.
The Penny Hoarder
Penny Hoarders live for freebies. You can find multiple lists of freebies online and in-store for any occasion as well as time-sensitive freebies right on the homepage.
The Penny Hoarder also gives legit opportunities for free money, who doesn’t want that? They do all the research for you relaying only the most reliable and trustworthy sites.
Once a month, PINCHme opens its sample doors to the public, allowing you to actually pick which samples you want. All you do is sign up, take their shopper survey and wait for Sample Day.
On that day they’ll open samples up at noon EST and it’s first come, first serve. They’re picked over within 10 minutes so you have to be fast to get the ones you want.
Once you get your samples in the mail fill out a short survey on each and you’ll be eligible for more samples on the next Sample Day.
If you have an engaged social media following then this one’s for you. Influenster sends free samples to thousands of people every month in their “VoxBox” based on an individual’s “Impact Score.” The higher your Impact Score, the more freebies you’re eligible for.
You can increase your score by connecting your social media accounts, increasing social media followers, answering “snap” surveys and reviewing products on Influenster. I signed up with a score of about 7,000 and got an email pretty quickly saying I was eligible for a VoxBox.
When you get a VoxBox, do the tasks associated with the campaign and fill out the mandatory survey to be eligible for future VoxBoxes. These have been my favorite freebies so I highly recommend trying them out!
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Jen Smith is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.