A note about free things…

While I primarily plan to blog about food, occasionally I’ll post about topics that people ask me questions about. I’m not sure whether it’s working with college students or because I have expensive taste and need to find creative ways to occasionally indulge that, but I love free things! Here are a few of my favorite ways to get free things…

  • Mom’s Meet Ambassador: This is the one I get asked about most often because I’m sent free products and required to share them with other moms. Double win!! All of the products available to sample are healthy, natural, organic and eco, which I love. Our family’s change to a more organic and eco-friendly lifestyle is not budget-friendly. So here’s how it works: Click on the link above and apply to be a Mom Ambassador. Then periodically, they will email an opportunity to apply to sample a product. If you’re interested, fill out the quick application, and you’ll hear in a couple of weeks if you are accepted. Know that some of the brands are incredibly generous. Years ago we got loads and loads of goat milk yogurt, which is super expensive. And super gross, according to our entire family. But we sampled and found a family that loved them and showered them it. One summer I received two huge boxes filled with Perfect bars. We were in Colorado for work and just so happened to be with a ton of families in our company, so I had plenty of bars to share. It was so fun! And we found out we do love Perfect bars and are sad that the coupons for free ones are all gone because at $2/bar, it’s for special days only. I just sampled Yogi Stress Relief Honey Lavender Tea with friends yesterday, and check out the swag I got… they always include extras for you! All you have to do is follow up with a little survey and a photo.
  • Grove Collaborative: If you like eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products, this could be for you. Right now, there is a special referral for a free 5-piece Mrs. Meyer’s set that includes a multi-surface cleaner, dish soap, hand soap (you can choose the scents), two walnut scrubber sponges and a glass cleaning spray bottle with a silicone bottom. If you add more to your cart, which of course, I did, they’ll throw in more freebies, like a cute caddy. I love If You Care Parchment Paper and Bee’s Wrap in lieu of plastic when I can, so it was great to save a trip to the store and order those. There seems to be a subscription-type deal, that so far I have just pushed back the shipment date on in case I want to reorder. But you can just get your freebies and cancel once they arrive.

Free things

  • The Pink Panel: If you join The Pink Panel, you will receive periodic emails with an opportunity to test a new high-end beauty product. If you qualify (based on age or beauty concerns), you will complete the application and they will get back to you if you are accepted. Some trials are testing a product for one day, some for a month. The sample may be just a sample size of a product or a full-size product. And you also receive an incentive for completing the trial. You may only complete one trial per six month time period. As an example, I just sampled two facial lotions – each for three days. I had to fill out a quick survey on each, and then I received a $50 amazon gift card. Easy peasy. The previous trial I participated in (a year and a half ago) was amazing! They sent me five full-size Drunk Elephant products and asked me to use them solely for a month. It was nearly a $300 value! And then I received an incentive on top of that for purchase of another Drunk Elephant product! I did have a problem with their eye cream making my eyes red and dry and bumpy, so I reached out and they allowed me to complete the trial, minus the eye cream.
  • Ebates: If you remember, this is free, easy money when shopping online. Click the link, sign up for an account, and when you shop online (and now even in some stores, though I haven’t done that), go through your Ebates account and get a percentage of your purchase cash back. The percentage depends on the store. Many stores increase or even double their cash back during the holiday season. Another bonus is that they will list any promotions that are current to help save even more.
  • Sun Basket: So this isn’t free, but I have a code that can give you $40 off in that link. There are lots of meal plan companies out there. I’ve only tried two others, but for both of those, I felt like while the meals were fine, it took me way more time to prepare them than I had expected. In my opinion, I could have made my own meal in just as much time, though they did save the grocery shopping time. But I did not think they were worth the cost. However, I was very impressed with Sun Basket. They provide organic ingredients where possible, they have a wide variety of meals you can choose from, and for the most part, everything is prepared and ready to use, with minimal work on your part. So I could make a meal, reading the instructions as I went along, and it would be ready within 20-30 minutes, give or take cooking time. I spent an hour or more on meals from other boxes. And these meals are actually good. I ordered a box in August when I knew things would be seasonally chaotic around here with work on campus being crazy and upwards of 60+ hours with kids at home (many thanks to our governor for that terrible change). Things may have been so chaotic that I forgot to skip the week following so we got more meals… so don’t forget to either cancel or skip as far ahead as it will let you. I also recommend signing up for the text reminders in case you need just one extra reminder!! Ryan and I both have to be away at a conference right after Thanksgiving, and I’m leaning towards ordering meals to make my prep to leave easier. Even those of us who love to cook sometimes need a little help because surprisingly, kids expect to eat dinner every single day… bleh.

Alright, that’s enough for now. I’m sure there are a bazillion other ways to get free things, and I welcome your comments below. These are the ones that I have found to be worth my time (which means they require very little of it).

Full disclaimer: most of these offer no incentive to me for sharing, though the links for Grove, Ebates and Sun Basket are referral links. For example, Sun Basket is $40 off for you, $40 off for me. You can sign up and then refer for all of these programs too!

What do you think?