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When I was a teenager, my parents and I took a trip to New Orleans, LA. While out shopping, sightseeing, etc. one day, we went past a homeless man sleeping on a bench, a shopping cart with his possessions nearby. That image made a huge impact on me, and though I live on a tight budget myself now as an adult, I'm very blessed! So I'm always looking for ways to contribute to the homeless or less fortunate in my area.
I was requesting free samples one day when it hit me that I could use this to benefit not only myself, but others. Even though my son is a preschooler, I saw free sample offers for diapers, wipes, men's deodorant, etc. on the site I was requesting samples from. I figured that I might as well go ahead and request those too.
Now I've started a "stockpile" of freebies to give to my local daytime homeless shelter, as well as a home that takes in women and children leaving domestic abuse situations. It only takes a few extra minutes to request those samples that I wouldn't use myself, but I figure that they'll be put to very good use after I donate them.
I'd encourage others to do the same. If you like to request freebies, get those you might not normally use, and donate them to the shelters and such in your own area. I think this quote sums it up nicely:
"Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways, it can change someone else's life forever." - Margaret Cho
By Lisa from Kenosha, WI
A drug store near my house gives out lots of samples: lotions, moisturizers, shampoo and conditioners, foundations, even perfumes. I save these items and use them as package ties or greeting card inserts. Women love them; they're so girly! Make great stocking stuffers, too.
By perfume and powder from Chesapeake, VA
You can make nice gifts from bargains if you put your own stamp on them - I just found a bunch of Aveeno samples (which I know appeal to my friend), and put them into a nice travel kit which I got on sale at a beauty supply store for 2 for $2 -(I took out the accompanying store literature). Put that together with a well-chosen book and you have a nice gift for a much-travelled friend for very little. (The markup on these things already done up is TREMENDOUS.)
I am always collecting samples of shampoo, conditioner and so on. I found a nice shell-shaped "dish" for them so I can put them out in the bathroom and actually use them. Don't know why I didn't think of that before!
By Pam from Los Angeles
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I have been out of work for 1 1/2 years and my sick leave pay ran out last March. I have 7 siblings and their families plus my 2 kids to buy gifts for on birthdays and holidays.
Here's my solution!
I get free samples off the web, choose the appropriate ones for certain people and ages. I buy small gift bags from the dollar store and chock them full of various samples and other free stuff.
Children, teens and adults love them! (And it's like Christmas everyday in my mail box!)
By Gwen from Palatka, FL
Gwen, do you get free samples from WalMart site? Your idea is wonderful. I wish you the best.God Bless. (08/03/2008)
I LOVE my "freebie sites"! I've done this once or twice as gifts and are they great to have around as 'stocking stuffers' at Xmas time, too! (08/04/2008)
I was wondering what some of your favorite freebie sites are. I basically only get free samples from Walmart but would love to find other good sites. What do you suggest?
It sounds like you are smart to do what you can to give gifts. Here is what I have been doing since I have not been able to work. I spent 25.00 dollars at the fair to make a nice, "old thyme" photo of myself. Then, I took it home and scanned it. The relatives close got a print out with a home made or Dollar Tree frame I fancied up. Those far away got an attachment that they printed and framed themselves. They understand and love the fact that I am practical. Another cool thing to put in those gift bags is your favorite recipes. Check out google for "graphics" and you can find some who are copyright free and they are recipe cards, or you can find them pretty cheap at thrift stores. If not, find cheap colored cards and make your own. If you have gardeners, cooks, crafters or handy people on your list, you can choose to put in recipes, craft kits/ideas, gardening tips, or small project instructions. Another cool thing to ad are "coupons" for one night of babysitting, a casserole, 4 hours of help with a project, house cleaning, etc.
One year, I literally had no money at all for gifts. I sent everyone a card and inside I sent them a pretty printed out certificate for 31,536,000 seconds of love for the next year. Most of them said that was the best gift I had ever sent and all they needed anyway! (08/04/2008)
Gwen, some years ago, with growing families and dwindling budgets, one of my sisters suggested that we eliminate the holiday gifts to each other and all children over the age of 13 and to limit the amount we spent on each child younger than that, except for our own immediate families. Then, we had a drawing and each person got to pick the name of one adult to get a gift for and an affordable dollar amount was set. This worked wonders!
We were all relieved of the running around and the stress, we had more time to choose something appropriate (and sometimes hilarious); even the children appreciated it. They, in turn, had to present each of the adults with a homemade gift and were they clever! Paintings, poems, drawings, origami. They amazed us all and our annual celebration was spent with each other without the frenzy that had taken place in the past and has become one of the most beloved times we have together every year. (08/04/2008)
Another great "freebie" site is Startsampling.com. Also, you can google "samples", "free samples", or "freebies", and you will find a list of freebie sites. Good hunting. (08/04/2008)
My favorite sites are: justfreestuff.com shop4freebies. com and freecycle.yahoo.com or just type "free samples"in your search engine and it should show many, many free sites! (08/05/2008)
3 of the best sites I visit everyday (and sometimes more!) are:
These are great; no "gimmicks" attached (08/06/2008)
I get freebies off the internet, too. Some friends and I swap our freebie finds info. One pal says she gives what freebies she doesn't use to her local VFW and the Vets then send the freebies off to our troops stationed in other countries. Another pal says she gives what freebies she doesn't use to her neighbor who has children in college and they're the recipients of her extra freebies. So all get used. (08/07/2008)
I have kids who sometimes have trouble knowing how much shampoo to use. I have gotten several single use shampoo samples in the mail that I am now saving for when they go to church camp this summer. Now, this summer they will not use it all on their first shower!
By April from NW Missouri