Make your own frugal "Oprah's Favorites" Package for friends for the holidays! One year I surprised colleagues with a bag of goodies that I claimed were my favorites of that year. Unfortunately, you can't always do like Oprah and give people thousands of dollars worth of products but there are definitely frugal ways around this.
I picked a few products that would be available as samples. I emailed the companies explaining that I was doing my own version of "Oprah's Favorite Things" and picked their product and wanted to know if they had "X" number of samples to send to put in the gift bag for friends. I do explain that I would purchase the products but am on a tight budget.
Obviously you can't pick things such as ipods or expensive items. Food and beauty items are best and easiest to get samples. Pick things like creams, shampoos or even food items. In one particular case, I had to purchase these organic coffee samples for $2 but that was OKbecause it was a local independent company. If you want it all free, pick big companies, not the local person who is trying to make a living in this poor economy. I even got 10 free yoga passes from a local studio once!
Emailing the company directly is the best way. If you go to make up or beauty counters and ask for samples, they might give you one or two but getting more will be tough. Also write a blurb about their product, why you like it and how often you use it. I try to pick at least one item from one local company to support local business, even if it's just to get a $5 off certificate for a meal to a local restaurant, this is still a great gift and good promotion for the business.
First I make a list of about 20 products, email or call the companies then wait. I start this early because samples can take 6-8 weeks to arrive, so make sure to start in early fall. Once I've collected 10 items, then I make up the bag for friends with a list of the items and why I have chosen them for the gift bag.
If you're lucky, this present won't cost you anything but time. It has been so well received by people that I do it every couple of years! It's original and no one will expect it. :) Good luck!
By Lisa from Halifax, NS
I am not an Oprah fan but I am proud of you for coming up with a non-extravagant alternative and I hope the family and friends you give those goodie bags to are appreciative of how much work you have put in to them!
What a super, frugal idea! Thanks for sharing this.
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