Free ‘stuff’ or ‘freebies’ as they call it on the Internet, are easier to come by than you might imagine. Various websites – just search for “internet freebies” on any search engine – will offer you anything from eight to twenty new freebies a day. This could be free product samples, movie, festival or show tickets, services of any kind, massive discounts on goods and the chance to win products.
In the UK there are many websites dedicated entirely to free samples and services. The abundance of sites has ignited a revolution that raised the bar for quality products and variety on offer.
While you will be surprised to see how many suppliers are keen to give away samples and special offers, the rule of the “free lunch” still applies. You will always be required to give something back, whether this involves completing a questionnaire, consenting to receiving product information or passing on the names and email addresses of friends and families.
What can you get?
Anything and everything. Name it and you can get a ‘free’ sample online. Start at A and think athletic gear, accessories and automotive parts. Think C and its clothing and computers, P and its product samples, W and its web stuff, weddings, winning and – the list is never ending.
All freebies are not exactly free. Many can be classified as discount deals. They come in various forms and are mostly, but not limited to, the list below:
* 2-4-1, 3-4-2 and similar deals.
* Competitions entries (also known as sweepstakes) – mostly with extremely good odds to win. To save time, make use of programmes like Roboform (www.roboform.com) which is a safe and free program to auto complete entry forms.
* Percentage discount deals – up to 99.9%.
* Vouchers- Also known as coupons, they bring massive savings if managed diligently.
* Samples- They will be delivered to your house and sometimes you need to write a short survey note. They are easy to find on the net, but follow experienced bloggers who are already devoted to finding the best ones.
* Trial memberships- New users or old user with a ‘fresh’ address and credit card can normally get a free month of freebies. But remember to cancel your new memberships before the trial period ends.
* Participation in surveys – This can take time, but it’s worth the effort if the freebie or payment is what you’re really after.
While most freebie websites will offer you up to two freebies and bargain offers every day and an additional email on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays updating you on the latest free samples and competitions just to make sure you do not miss anything, it can be just too much, especially if you subscribe to a few sites and alerts. Be prepared to have an inbox filled with emails – not all equally useful.
Furthermore – in almost all applications for Internet freebies you will also have to supply your email and home address, home phone number and mobile number, so the obvious annoyances you can bargain on are:
* Spam – in your email and mobile phone inbox.
* Junk mail – not only in you email inbox but also at your front door through snail mail.
* Questionnaires – In 99% of cases you will only qualify for the freebie if you part with personal information and give your opinion on the product. This can be time consuming and cumbersome.
* Phone calls – once you part with your details it is inevitable that you will get the odd phone call (some times a tiresome amount) with salespersons touting product and service offerings.
In these somber times any such savings are welcome. So managing your access to the best sites and their access to your inbox are of vital importance. These basic rules may help:
* Bookmark the best web pages – If you find after a few weeks the specific website it of no profit, delete these from your bookmarks.
* Manage your subscriptions to newsletters and alerts – alerts are delivered to you inbox for free, but remember, if after a week or two you are not gaining any upside from it, unsubscribe.
* Write ‘Return to Sender’ on unwanted snail mail and repost it. If you continue to receive the spam snail mail, you will have to write a letter.
* If you receive unwanted phone calls, make it clear that they are not appreciated and hang up.
While the pitfalls of Internet freebies can be annoying to some, the upside remains that you could cash in on really great discounts, free products and services.
|Written by :|
|Maike Currie is deputy personal finance editor of Investors Chronicle, an FT publication. She is the author of The Search For Income, a comprehensive book on investing for income in a low interest rate environment.
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