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Freebies a Click Away

Get samples and other give-away goodies — but watch the fine print

Sure, you can clip coupons to lower what you pay for things. But some items you can get for free.

See also: When free trials aren't free.

At websites such as WalletPop's Fantastic Freebies and Hey, It's Free!, deal-detecting bloggers do the work for you, posting offerings of no-cost foods, cosmetics, household products and other items. Walmart provides an ever-changing list of free trials and samples, most available gratis at its stores but others mailed to you.

Take surveys online to receive free trial items

Photo by: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Save on sample-sized items from free-trial websites.

At Sweet Free Stuff,, and CoolFreebieLinks, you can choose from categories including beauty, food and health products. You'll often be linked directly to manufacturers' websites for freebie samples. There's also JustFreeStuff, Freaky Freddie's and Fabulous Free Stuff.

Shipping and handling are usually paid by the manufacturer.

In some cases you'll need to take a survey, or buy another product to get the free one. Be sure to read the "Terms and Conditions" statement to ensure that by accepting the freebie you're not signing yourself up for something you don't want.

You may also be asked for an email address. It's wise not to use your regular one, because it may be sold to telemarketers, bringing you a flood of other offers. Instead, get a separate (and free) account at Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail and use it just for transactions like these.

Of course, use common sense when evaluating claims of something for nothing. It's one thing when a big-name company offers you a free water bottle or packet of detergent, but beware of too-good-to-be-true offers such as free laptops promised via unsolicited email. Scammers often use "free" as bait to get you to click on links in emails or on websites that will download rogue software onto your computer.

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Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.