Embracing the Simple Joy of Freebies

I love free stuff.

I have an entire wooden box with filled with tea bags I received for free. In fact, the box itself was a freebie. It was given to the woman who ran my college’s bookstore by the school’s food service company as a holiday present, only it was originally filled with chocolate turtles. She was on a diet, so she decided to re-gift it to me, her student worker at the time. After I finished the chocolates, I kept the box, because I thought it was nifty. That job was also the source of more free stuff. At the end of one semester, we cleared out some of the old greeting cards to make way for new designs. This included a bunch of brightly colored card envelopes. Since we were just going to throw them away, I snagged them. Now I have pretty envelopes for letters and birthdays!

One of my favorite sources of free stuff, however, has got to be sending away for samples online. I’ve been doing this on and off for a long time. How could I resist? It combines two of my favorite things: free stuff and getting mail. Two sites I visit regularly for this purpose are Daily Gratis and Walmart.com. You’ll be able to find more offers on different sites, but the two I listed are very reliable. Some sites list more dubious offers in addition to the legit ones, so watch out! I usually get at least one sample in the mail every week, often more. I get all kinds of things: the aforementioned tea, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, tiny boxes of cereal, miniature deodorants. It’s like getting a present every time I open my mailbox.

So, what do I do with the samples once they’ve arrived? Some go directly to the bathroom or my desk drawer, but some go to my special “freebie” drawer. That way, whenever I feel the need to treat myself, I can go to that drawer and pick out something for myself. It might be a new kind of tea (seriously, I always have a ton of tea! yum!), or maybe a rejuvenating facial serum, or a new “health food” product. Splurging by using a freebie keeps me from splurging in more expensive ways.

Another thing I do when I’ve have a hard day is stop by the gourmet shop I pass on my way home from work. Why? They have awesome food samples. There’s always four different kinds of cheese out, in addition to the occasional cracker-and-dip or biscotti. I don’t feel bad about these trips because I do shop there for certain things. I often buy new beers there, because they split six packs, and that allows me to try something without having to pay for a whole six-pack.

I’ve found that by taking a little effort to get free stuff, I can help quell the need to shop, shop, shop. They’re little indulgences. Though squeezing shampoo out of a foil packet is hardly luxurious (tip: don’t tear off the top, cut it), it adds a little bit of fun to my day and gives me the chance to try products that I might not otherwise ever get to use.

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