There are endless ways to score freebies, and they’re all accessible through simple online searches. You can get free stuff in exchange for reviews, filling out forms, by participating in a focus group, doing product testing and more.
But how dedicated do you have to be to score thousands of dollars in free stuff? “Pretty darn dedicated,” said Mara Sweet, blogger-in-chief of Bargain Babe, a website dedicated to saving money through coupons, freebies and financial tips.
There are dozens of websites cultivating leads to score free products and services — and they’re totally legitimate. Websites like Bargain Babe, Freebies.org, Just Free Stuff and Totally Free Stuff, among others, offer directories of free deals updated frequently. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t scams out there.
“The best advice I can give for avoiding scams is to never, ever give your credit card number for something that is supposed to be free,” said Isaac Chiriboga of Freebies.org, a directory of freebies. One caveat: Free trials might require a credit card to get the deal, so be extra careful with those, and only sign on with legitimate companies.
Also, steer clear of websites that contain a lot of Google ads, pop-ups, spelling or grammatical errors or if they generally look unprofessional. Basically, if it looks like a scam site, it probably is, according to Freebies.org.
As for the legit offers, here are eight ways to find them:
1. Use Coupons
One of the easiest ways to score freebies is to find coupons that you can print, download or get mailed to your home that allow you to score a free product in a store. Freebie sites curate lists of these coupons and update them frequently.
The most popular way to score freebies at Totally Free Stuff is to get a coupon for free through the mail, said Amy Ede, managing editor of TotallyFreeStuff.com, a freebie directory site. Those also tend to be the most reliable freebies.
Extreme couponers can also rack up high-value freebies very quickly, Sweet said.
“However, that takes a lot of time and organization, and you have to factor in the value of your time,” she added. “I personally have never been able to make that kind of commitment.”
See Also: Ways to Get Free Money
2. Collect Free Samples
Samples can be a great source of freebies, but sample-seekers beware: The experts agreed these are often hit-or-miss, especially with smaller companies.
“This is very common among smaller companies that offer free samples online,” Sweet said. “Most of them grossly underestimate the response — people seriously love freebies — and run out of inventory before they take down the sign-up form. By then, you have given them your contact info for free. You have to decide if that’s a worthwhile risk to take.”
Increase your odds of getting free samples by requesting early — especially when browsing freebie sites — and often, Chiriboga recommended.
3. Review Products
If you’re a prolific reviewer, you have a strong social media following or you own a popular blog, you can often score free products in exchange for a review. Here’s where it helps to have some real sway.
“If you want to hit that thousands-of-dollars mark, you have to have a blog and a lot of followers,” Ede said. The more powerful your audience, the more likely a company is to strike a deal and ship you some free products to review. The best part is that you can often pick and choose which products you want, as long as the company sees the value in sharing their products for free with you.
There are also companies that offer free products in exchange for reviews on major sites. Again, it helps to be kind of a big deal. Amazon has its own invite-only program called Amazon Vine that it offers to top reviewers only. But other sites, such as AMZ Review Trader, connect reviewers with brands willing to make this trade.
4. Participate in Survey Panels or Product Testing
You can score free products by testing them out or taking part in a survey panel. Usually, you can find these through survey companies. James Barton, owner of freebie site JustFreeStuff.com, recommended scoping these companies out through SurveyPolice.com.
“Pinecone Research and Nielsen are probably the best two out there,” he said. “They pay the user in either cash or points for completing surveys, and they send products to test from time to time. People won’t get rich, but it does add up over time.”
Ede added that you can’t always pick which products you’ll be testing, so you won’t necessarily get the free products you want the most.
5. Sign Up for Freebies
A great way to get freebies is to just fill out a form or register with a company’s website, Barton said. This includes creating accounts at company and product websites, signing up for newsletters, signing up for birthday rewards and following brands on social media. Often, you can score freebies by simply filling out forms. Barton recommended sending a message to a brand and asking if they have freebies.
Sweet agreed. “My family recently stayed in an airport hotel on the airline’s dime after flight delays resulted in our missing a connecting flight,” she said. “The hotel gave us several bottles of water and bags of trail mix — the exact same items they were selling at exorbitant prices in their gift shop — when we nicely asked if they could offer us any extra amenities. It never hurts to inquire about extras that might not be advertised.”
Bonus tip: For potential free birthday meals, try FavoriteCandle.com, Barton said.
6. Sign Up for Free Trials
Free trials are a great way to score free products and services, but you have to be wary, said Ede. The first thing you should do is set up a calendar reminder to cancel before you get charged — to that end, make sure you know when that is. Ede also recommended copying, pasting and saving the terms and conditions somewhere safe.
Only deal with reputable companies when doing free trials, if you do them at all, said Chiriboga. If the offer seems too good to be true, it might be.
Related: 31 Best Websites for Free Stuff
7. Join Subscription Services
There are plenty of subscription services that will offer freebies or free samples on a regular basis, though sometimes you have to pay a small fee or pay for shipping, depending on the service. Sweet recommended looking into services like Pinchme or SampleSource to subscribe your way to free stuff.
Another method is to sign up for sample boxes, such as the Ipsy program for makeup and beauty, Ede said. These, too, offer discounts or a free trial period — although the same rules about free trials apply.
8. Get Free Downloads
Many companies offer free downloads, especially music and video games — and some offer them regularly.
“These tend to be highly reliable and are available no matter how many people request them,” Chiriboga said. “So if you stick to just offers like that, you can get a lot of cool stuff without much risk of wasted time.”
Every month, Playstation and Xbox give out two or more free games, Barton said. Google Play also frequently makes certain albums free, temporarily, and Amazon Prime sometimes makes certain movies free to download.