Saving with 6abc: Not all online freebies are created equal

June 12, 2012 2:47:32 PM PDT
Who doesn't love free stuff? The Web is full of free offers, but can you really get something for nothing?

Consumer Reports ShopSmart has the scoop on which freebies are worthwhile, and which should make you wary.

You see the offers all over the Internet. "Hey, it's free," "Free samples," "Freebies," "Free," "Free," "Free," "Free." Consumer Reports ShopSmart checked out dozens of offers.

"Freebies are a great way to try new products. Just be aware that they're typically samples and many of them are travel-sized," says Jody Rohlena of Consumer Reports.

Some companies give you a lot more than others. For instance, we found an offer for a 4-milliliter packet of Eucerin lotion and a 50-milliliter bottle of Simple Facial Wash Gel.

"This (The Simple Facial) is a good-sized sample. It's enough to use the product a few times and decide if you like it."

ShopSmart says the best place to find free offers are aggregator sites, such as Free-flys, Hunt-4-Freebies, and Hey-Its-Free.

"Facebook is a good place to find freebies. If you 'Like' a company or a brand, they may send you free samples."

Twitter is also worth checking. For instance, we found an offer for a free Clif Bar, if you follow the company. Check out companies like Target and Procter and Gamble that have free sample pages on their websites. Just be aware you're going to have to enter some personal information.

"But don't give away too much, like your birth date or any health information."

All freebie offers require an e-mail address. So create one specifically for freebies so offers don't clog your inbox.

"When you are trying to score freebies, you have to be patient. We ordered 44 items, and just about half had arrived after almost three months."

ShopSmart says you can also save on movies by joining frequent movie-goer programs, like AMC Stubs and Regal Cinema Crown Club. These offer free tickets, free concessions, and waive online booking fees.