Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Basic Freebie Hunting Tips

As freebie hunting has been seriously paying off lately, I've been getting a lot of people asking me how I do it. This makes me smile, because it wasn't too long ago that I was laughed at and called crazy and lazy for hunting down every freebie I could get my hands on!

I admit it, sometimes I go a little overboard with freebie hunting and get something I really have no use for... and worse yet... can't even remember ordering! Most of the time, however, I end up with lots of cool things that I could never hope to be able to afford to purchase had I bought the items with cash.

Disclaimer time: I've been freebie hunting since I was 15 years old. It is easy to think that all the cool freebies I get are just out there for the taking, and they are, sort of. You really have to put in some time and effort into hunting this stuff down. You also Have to have a game plan or else you will end up cursing the day you ever decided to start freebie hunting. Only you can decide how far you want to go with freebie hunting. Are you willing to do some actual work during your free time for them? Or do you just want to hit a sample button online and have stuff sent in your mail. There are so many different levels to freebies I can't possibly cover them all in one post. I may get into the other levels of freebie hunting in a later post, but this is the basics.

1. The number one thing I can recommend before you get started is to create a separate email account just for your freebies. There will be some exceptions to using this account for freebies... but by enlarge you will use this account because so many companies will hit you with such a swell of promotional offers after you sign up for the freebie that you will be pulling your hair out if you use your personal account. Trust me, I learned the hard way and had over 7,000 emails to go through and delete in my personal email account!

2. Find a few good sites that offer emails freebies lists. This should be sent to your personal email account (remember I said there would be some exceptions) this is because you don't want to lose these emails. They are gold! When I first started I would often to the search engines and type in "freebie" which can lead you to these great sites, but is so tedious and pointless when there are people out there willing to do the work for you! When you get the emails check and see if the stuff interests you and sign up for it. It is soooooo much easier this way! I also used to go to these sites and sign up for everything I could get my hands on, but I ended up trying to sign up for stuff I didn't qualify for anymore and wasted a lot of time. With the emails you get sent what is new and can safe yourself the hassle.

3. Be patient. Some stuff feels like it takes FOREVER to get to you. And some stuff never comes. You can't get into a snit over stuff like this. These companies don't HAVE to offer these freebies... so, it isn't up to you to complain that you didn't get something. You will get most of the stuff you sign up for, but sometimes you won't get something and it will be something you were really looking forward too. A few months ago I signed up for a freebie rain jacket (yes, that would have been so cool) I haven't gotten it yet, and I probably won't get it. But, that is okay with me. They probably had so many requests they couldn't fill mine and it is just on to the next freebie for me.

4. Honesty isn't always the best policy. I hesitate to write this, because I know it treads a very fine line of morality here. But, I have learned that there are some things it is just best to lie about. For one, some companies will ask for your phone number as a required field. You don't have to give your actual number here. Unless you are cool with screening all your calls before you answer, just use your area code and the first 3 numbers of your phone number and make up the last for. It works for me just fine. If you are worried about sending calls to someone else by doing this, you could buy a cheap minute phone and not keep minutes on it, but use the number for freebies. Also, it is sometimes in your best interest to lie about your age. I know, it seems shady and I'm not talking about a 13 year old trying to get freebies that they have no business getting. I once saw a really cool AM/FM radio with ear buds that I just HAD to have. I was 17 at the time, so MP3 players weren't out yet. I had a discman, but it wasn't as portable as I would have liked. The only problem with the radio was that you had to ask for information about AARP. Of course I wasn't old enough for it, but I figured out what year I would have to have been born in to qualify for AARP and put that down instead. I got my radio and enjoyed using it for years. But, my family also had license to tease me for years because I kept receiving offers in the mail about my retirement 'issues.' This is the price we freebie hunters must pay for our finds.

5. Be willing to think outside the box. I can't count how many times I've signed up for a freebie that I didn't think I would need or even want. I signed up for it anyway and it either ended up being just the thing someone else needed... or it came in handy for another reason than it's intent later down the road. When signing up for freebies, sometimes you just have to sign up, then wait to see what happens.

Some additional things to keep in mind:

1. Hone your typing skills. Most people I know that are 'hen peckers' at the keyboard get very frustrated quickly and give up. The faster you can type... and use that handy number pan... the less time you have to spend filling out the pesky forms.

2. Keep a basket for your freebies. I have a couple. I have one in my utility room filled with random freebies I get. I also have one in my cupboard for all the food samples I get. When you do this, you don't have to worry about finding an individual place for everything you get and you can also have tangible proof how far you have come in collecting freebies. Watch your stash grow!

3. If I had to pick out the best beginner sites for freebie hunting I would suggest http://www.freeflys.com/ and http://juliesfreebies.com/ after you get the hang of these two sites you may also want to try http://moneysavingmom.com/ and http://hip2save.com/ the last two go over a lot more than just freebies. They send a daily email with lots of information and more than a few freebie announcements inside as well. Don't overdo it from the get go. You don't want to be overwhelmed.

Above all, remember to have fun!

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