A few years ago I was big into free product samples, well anything free really. It could be free magazines, books, and dvd's. I didn't care what I got because I was addicted to get any item free and seeing my mailbox full of items that weren't bills or advertising all the time.

In my addiction I would sign up for free products and give them to people who I thought would want them. Four years ago I signed up for a free 3-pack of golf balls [I don't golf] from a hard liquor company [I rarely drink and never hard liqueur] and I still get advertising from them today.

At the height of my addiction I was receiving 8 magazines subscriptions that I rarely read or even cared for and my mailbox was crammed full of samples most every day with items that I didn't remember why I signed up it for them. The amount of junk this generated for my trashcan was embarrassing.

After throwing away unopened samples I realized I had gone too far with the sample offers and decided I had to figure out a way to cut down.

The first plan of action was to call up the contact number in all the magazines and cancel them all, most of the calls were quick and painless. I got all but a couple completed in about 15 minutes.

The next plan was to carefully consider why I was submitting my information to get these free products before I entered my name, address and zipcode. It came down to asking myself two questions.

1. Do I need or want this item? Needs have higher priority and would be a situation where I was running low on laundry soap, this would help extend what I already had.

2. Is this something I can use immediately? If I can't use it immediately I won't apply for it as I will probably forget I have it and not use it at all.

With these questions I have cut my sample amount down and I have less trash again and less junkmail as well.

The types of free products I get now are ones for free food that I can grab for lunch, health products like deodorants, razors and soap, paper products that can extend the life of what I already have, and the occasional clothing item or canvas bag I can use for shopping.

Now I feel that I'm more in control and not just signing up without thinking it through.

How about you, do sign up for them all or do have guidelines for yourself?


  1. Past Expiry // Friday, May 08, 2009 4:23:00 PM  

    Speaking of being frugal, here's a cartoon where it is a bit extreme...