When I first started to get myself into a more frugal attitude, I immediately picked up on the benefits of getting free items; from samples to subscriptions to t-shirts. It was the idea that I could get something for free by filling out a form or survey and save my money for something else more important.
However, I have found that I am up to my eyeballs in subscriptions, samples and coupons I don’t really use. I sign up for things that sound good at the time, but when I get them I have no interest.
This requires an additional bit of time to decide who the item should go to so it doesn’t go to waste from my greediness.
For magazine subscriptions, I have cancelled the ones that I don’t read at all and can’t pass on to anyone else that I know of – I just call the phone number on the inside of the magazine content area, and if they don’t have my name on file they usually have an alternative number for me to call. For those magazines I do flip through and can pass on, I will make sure I have a stack that I take to work every week so other can enjoy or take home with them. Eventually the free subscription will run out and I will cancel the renewal.
For free samples and coupons that I realize I won’t be using, I am usually able to find someone who will take them off my hands. But I make a mental note to cut back on the samples and coupons I apply sign up for.
There are some questions that I ask myself before I click on a link to sign up for the free item:
1. Is this something I really need or that I want?
2. Is this something I will use quickly or be able to stock up on – thus cutting down on my grocery bill?
3. Is this item something I really want to be seen with? Example: A picture on a t-shirt
4. Do I really, really need it? — It is good to ask this question a couple of times
After asking these questions to myself I find that of the freebie items that are available to me, I have cut down on what I sign up for by about 75%. This cut back has saved my sanity by keeping the process simple.
Now when I sign up for a free item, I know exactly what I will be doing with it when I receive because (a) I need it, (b) I would have bought it anyway and it will save me money not having to buy it later, (c) It is something that I know I will enjoy using or that I know someone else will enjoy using.
Here are a few of the places I go to find those free (almost free) items: