Free (and Worth It) Samples
Many free-product programs come with hidden costs. The ones below are legit. Sign up for one and your in-box may be inundated, but there’s also an outside chance you’ll end up with a flat-screen TV.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Get your geek on: MIT offers a far more comprehensive selection of free online courses than other universities — nearly its entire undergraduate and graduate curriculum. Downloading materials takes minutes. A newsletter highlights new offerings, from Quantum Physics to American Women Authors.
What’s the Catch? Users can’t enroll, take classes on campus, or earn degrees.
Find Out More: www.ocw.mit.edu.
Start Sampling (www.startsampling.com) connects manufacturers with consumers who test products. Type in your demographic information and you’ll see a screen listing your free-sample options — everything from cleaning products to Harlequin romance novels to toiletries.
Kiehl’s (800-543-4572) hands out samples of every product it sells — approximately 10 million giveaways a year. Request samples at a Kiehl’s store (where the selection is usually larger) or a Kiehl’s counter in a department store. Or call Kiehl’s and tell the operator what you’d like to try and the company will send you up to three samples.
Programs from American Consumer Opinion and E-Poll (www.acop.com, www.epoll.com) allow users to take product surveys to get cash ($4 to $25 per survey), samples (ranging from pizza sauce to even the rare flat-screen TV), or points (which can be redeemed for gift cards from retailers such as Amazon.com and Target).
Oil of Olay’s sample program (www.olay.com; click on “Samples & Offers”) gives away small sizes of its newest products.
Sephora stores (www.sephora.com for locations) offer generous samples from the more than 150 cosmetics lines they carry. Just ask and a salesperson will hand you a packaged sample or fill jars with requested products for free.
Procter & Gamble’s Home Made Simple and Tide e-newsletters (www.homemadesimple.com, www.tide.com) entitle you to discount coupons and new-product samples.