Okay, I confess - this is much harder than I imagined it to be.
I stress out about writing blog posts a little. More than a little actually because I want them to be awesome. I want people to go "Wow! what a cool idea" or just feel a little bit happier by listening to my tales and experiences, but then I think "meh - nobody cares!". That little curmudgeonly voice has kept me from posting for a few weeks. But I am coming back, and will try harder.
In honor of that I am going to post a note that I wrote to a lady on one of the freebie pages that said "can anybody help me? I am having some trouble figuring how you get these samples and free stuff." I felt like I know a little bit about it now, and there is more to add, but this is what I wrote to her:
Hi - you had said you were a little lost regarding the freebies? I was at first too. If you follow Facebook pages that have free offers like "For the Mommas", "Free Samples 2 Fill Up Your Mailbox" or "My Free Product Samples you will see posts where they say things like "this is live go now" or "hurry - 2000 left" or "win blah blah blah free".
First you have to click on the link in their Facebook post. It is usually highlighted or you just have to click the address at the end, or the picture of what it is that is the freebie. It will redirect you somewhere. Usually first to the blog or web page from that page (For the Mommas, etc.). This is where you read about whatever the offer is. They usually explain in detail how to do things or offer helpful hints like "click yes on the question about the Keurig brewer or you will not be eligible." Follow their directions closely. If it says "here is a free code" or "use the phrase ClearStyle (or freeforme or whatever the password is)" you might want to copy it to have it ready to paste on the form. Finally it will say "Click here" or it will have a hotlink in a different color for the actual site that is doing the giveaway. Once you click it, you are redirected to the page where you enter your information to claim the free item.
If you haven't yet you may want to set up an email specifically for freebies so you don't get tons of unwanted offers - almost every site asks for your email address. If you don't have to provide a phone number (required info is usually identified with an asterix) you can use a number with caller id or a free Google number that you can set up. We seldom answer our home phone and use our cell phones so I usually just put my home phone if necessary.
Sometimes you have to be very patient. Certain sites can take a long time to load or may be very busy and temporarily shut down. Just keep trying. If a contest has very few winners and it says "the first 500 at noon win a free..." you need to go to the site, fill out all your info and wait until the second you see it say noon on the computer's clock to hit enter. Even then you won't win those very often. There are several offers that are free and available and have plenty for everybody like the Target beauty bag (which will come back again in a fall edition at the end of the summer) or the samples of food and things that the freebie pages will re-list that say "this is live again".
Usually an offer is one shot, one per person/household and you can't get it again. Sometimes they will say "new offer". (For example yesterday there was a new offer for Honey Nut Cheerios - I already had one coming through Wal Mart, but this one was through Facebook.) Then you can apply again.
My mother lives about 14 houses away from me, and sometimes I use her address to get one for her - I fill out her address, use a separate email that I made for her offers and then they usually go through. Most times it is for things I know she will like (like a free razor or a candy bar) but I skip all the ones I know she doesn't need like makeup. Every once in a blue moon if there is something awesome I will send her one and she will say "what do I need with a Smashbox primer?" and I say - oh! I'll take it if you don't want it. :)
Most every contest/giveaway wants your information for marketing purposes. That is why they do them. If you aren't comfortable giving your info to a company you can just hit the back button. Sometimes I will have to "like" a company on Facebook to get a freebie. I usually hide posts from them in the news feed if I'm not interested but I seldom "unlike" them because the ones that do giveaway do them a lot and have contests occasionally. I have won a ton of cool stuff just by reading my news feed and responding to offers. It takes some places forever to ship freebies. Some things will never come. Basically if you go in with an "if I get this it will be awesome, if not oh well it was free and didn't cost me anything but 2 minutes" attitude you will do great.
Play instant win games. Enter contests you wouldn't imagine winning in your wildest dreams and have fun. If you need any help feel free to message me. Good luck!
I think this is pretty decent starting out advice to everybody. I have been super amazed by all the cool things that have come that I have totally forgotten about. I've gotten some things that made me truly happy for the 2 seconds it took me to tweet something or for my computer to autofill a form. I am very thankful that I have found something that is so easy and for me very fun. Go ahead and judge me. I will simply sit in the corner and feel really sick about the fact that you may be judging me. (There! Ha! That showed YOU!)
Soon (read: sooner than weeks from now) I am going to make a super short (oh, who are we kidding? This is ME - it will be 100 pages long and rambling and filled with dumb jokes and way too many parenthesis) list that has the best and coolest and most awesome things that have shown up in my mailbox(like my Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog Hammer groupie shirt) and the wackiest and weirdest too (like a cable I got from the site 1SaleaDay that I have absolutely no clue how to use and was in place of a pair of pearl earrings - um, thanks?! Awesome?! No clue!) I will also tell you things that you might not care about and through the magic of the internet you can not read 'em! Scroll right past and wave if you want. I'll still sit here and stress. :)
Much love to all of you from my cave of worry and self doubt. ;-)