As a 28 year old soon-to-be first time mom, Cheryl Mortensen is on a budget. But luckily, as the owner of MyFreeProductSamples.com, she knows a thing or two about how to stretch a dime. Starting the site in 2007, as a way to save money while her and her husband were both in school full-time, My Free Product Samples has since taken off and Cheryl is busier than ever, collecting free samples from all around the web from baby products to pet samples and everything in between. We had the pleasure of talking to Cheryl about how she finds all of these great free product samples and picked up some money saving tips and tricks to share with you.
What made you start getting free samples and why did you start your site, My Free Product Samples?
My website started out as a little hobby in 2007. After discovering how fun and interesting it was to get stuff absolutely free (and I mean COMPLETELY free) I began sharing my great finds with my friends and family. Since those first years, the free sample world has gotten bigger and bigger! A ton more companies have hopped on board the freebie train and are offering free samples to consumers through websites and Facebook promotions!
But along with the freebie boom, there sadly came a lot more spam offers. I had tons of friends and family saying they had signed up for something free only to get spammed in return. So I made it my priority to make My Free Product Samples a SAFE free sample site. That might be what sets me apart from other sites like these. I sincerely try to make sure every post on my website is spam and junk free! I wouldn’t tell a stranger about any deal I wouldn’t be happy to tell my own mom about.
Can you see a noticeable difference in the amount of money you save each year from freebies?
Yes! It might sound crazy, but I really have no need to purchase items like shampoo, toothpaste, feminine hygiene and beauty products, greeting cards, magazines, even a golf club! The list can literally go on and on and on! Granted, some of the items I receive for free I may not ever need to purchase, they’re still just fun to try out. But for the most part, yes, it really helps with the budget!
How do you go about finding all these freebies?
I follow TONS of forums and blogs about free samples and deals. I also sign up to receive email alerts and newsletters from hundreds of companies and websites. What started out as a hobby, has now turned into a full time job and addiction!
What are some of your favorite freebies listed on your site?
Oh wow… where do I begin? I liked the latest Proctor and Gamble package. It literally came with 6 samples, all items I use on a daily basis, plus coupons as well! I’ve also loved free baby samples like diapers and wipes because we’ve got a baby on the way. When I try to think back about what my favorite sample so far has been, I would say it was a cookie and brownie party kit. Probably not the highest value free sample I’ve ever received, but just a lot fun getting it! It came with coupons to get six FREE boxes of cookies and brownies, a baking pan, an apron, and a cookie-scented candle! Oh so much fun!
Are there any manufacturers or stores that are go-to for freebies, offering freebies on a regular basis?
Well Walmart.com, Target.com and Proctor and Gamble usually always have a free sample available on their site. Most companies run their free sample promotions through Facebook, so it’s a must to have a Facebook account. Even if you create a “Jane Doe” account and use that, you’ll want one for sure.
As for coupons, I always recommend my readers keep an eye on coupons.com, Walmart.com and a few different Facebook pages. Also, coupon databases are AMAZING! My motto is anyone can use coupons. You don’t have to save 90% each time you go to the grocery store to be successful. I recommend just taking your shopping list and searching a coupon database real quick for coupons that match your shopping list. Print off the ones you need and you’ll probably save around $15 dollars or so for something super easy and simple!
What are your top five important money saving tips?
Whew, glad you limited me to five tips or I could go on and on!
Don’t buy ANYTHING you don’t need or don’t have a plan for. I don’t care if you got it for free and only spent tax on it. Because if it just piles up in your garage, you’re still out the $.42 in tax you spent on it.
Don’t get mad when companies run out of samples or their Facebook page crashes when you’re trying to get one. This life is just plain too short to stress about something totally out of your control. Be grateful for what you get and don’t throw a fit. (it’s FREE remember?)
Get a stock pile of items you use on a daily or weekly basis. This means buying a lot of product that you will NEED when it’s on sale or discounted with a coupon. This doesn’t mean get 40 bottles of ketchup (unless your family puts ketchup on everything and you’ll go through 40 bottles in 4 months).
Stock up and shop early for Christmas and birthdays. Not only will this alleviate stress for you, but it will save a lot of money! I saved about $400 on my Christmas shopping last year by just buying ahead during sale times. Keep a spreadsheet of all the people you need to buy gifts for. Keep it in your purse or on your phone, then mark it off each time you buy something.
Keep a budget! I know this is the least fun one to keep, but it’s probably the most important one to keep. It’s amazing how fast money disappears! You’ll find that once you start keeping a budget, you will pay a lot more attention to how much a loaf of bread or a pound of hamburger costs. This will in turn make you start wanting to find the best prices and deals you can get.
To learn more about Cheryl’s money saving tips and tricks, please visit MyFreeProductSamples.com!