Jan 14, 2007

Product Samples Pay Off

The new body wash I opened earlier this week came with samples for three other body washes from the same manufacturer, which got me thinking about product samples. They can save you money in a couple of different ways: first, they extend the life of products you already use; and second, they allow you to try a new product without wasting money on the full-size version. In the case of the body wash samples, I decided to use them because they would extend the life of the bottle I had just opened by three washes. But it turned out that I really liked one of the samples and will probably buy it when I see it on sale and/or with a coupon.

Buying products that come with samples isn't the only way to obtain samples, however. One of my favorite methods is to sign up on the websites of manufacturers whose products I use regularly. This works especially well with baby products, such as diapers and formula. It does require giving up a bit of privacy, however, in the form of some personal information.

Another way to obtain product samples is to sign up with a site like Start Sampling, which offers a wide variety of samples. I have also found samples through the "Bargain of the Week" section in the weekly newsletter from Consumer World.

Some product samples are available for the asking. Most department store cosmetic counters have at least some samples available. Unfortunately for me, they never seem to have a sample for the product I want to try. However, depending on the product, some counters will put a small amount from their tester into a sample-size container so that you can try the product out at home (make sure the salesperson practices good hygiene when transferring the product).

Finally, keep an eye on those manufacturer coupons that you clip from the Sunday newspaper. I've discovered that the manufacturer of Shout stain remover produces coupons for $1 off any Shout product, and that Target sells packs of four Shout wipes for $0.99 - with the coupon, I always get my Shout wipes for free. Now that's a pay off!

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