15
Jun
2011

Extreme Couponing: Free Item Coupons!

06/15/2011. This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Disclosure Policy.

Well here is another step in the road to learning how to effectively use coupons.  I wanted to discuss a bit about free item coupons and how to obtain and best use them.

WHAT:

So a free item coupon is exactly what it sounds like.  A coupon that is valid to try a product for free.  There are a few ways to get your hands on these types of coupons.

  1. Via social media promotions. Most often these are on Facebook.  There are all sorts of these types of promotions, from Purina to organic yogurt to Coffeemate Creamer. It used to be that these promotions would last for a few hours but now there are a lot more people out there seeking these freebies and coupons, so often times they might be gone in a matter of minutes or even seconds.
  2. Via word of mouth marketing programs. There are a ton of programs you can sign up for and they really do send coupons or products (full size) totally free.  Some examples are Vocalpoint or Kraft First Taste.  Another type of program would be rewards programs like Huggies and Pampers or Recyclebank where you get free product coupons once you enter enough codes to qualify.
  3. Via coupon inserts. We used to see free item coupons frequently in the paper.  Especially when new products were launching.  These days they are pretty few and far between but they are occasionally in your Sunday paper.  Now the coupons can be regional (meaning only some cities will get them.  An example of this was about 2 months ago.  A very small demographic received coupons for a free Marzetti salad dressing (about $3-4 value).  That same week some people in another demographic received coupons for a free hot sauce (about $3-4 in value).  So depending on where you live your newspaper may have had a great coupon inside.
  4. Via the manufacturers directly. One popular thing to do is to attempt to get free item coupons by contacting the manufacturers of various products and either ask directly for coupons or compliment them/offer feedback on specific products in the hopes that they will send you coupons.

One important thing to understand about free item coupons is if they are printable coupons or not.  There has been a wave of fraudulent printable coupons over the past year or so and as a result most stores will no longer accept these types of printable coupons. Occasionally manufacturers still release these coupons, in fact Lipton actually just offered a coupon for a free iced tea that was available to print at home.  These coupons can still be redeemed but it is important to understand that you may need to try a few stores before you find one that will actually accept the coupon.

A free item coupon that is not printed at home on your computer (such as one mailed to you or in the Sunday paper) is another matter entirely and the vast majority of stores will accept those with no problems.

HOW:

So now that you know where these coupons typically originate let’s move on to how the heck you can get your hands on them!  I try to pass along as many of the free item coupons as I hear about on the blog.  You really have to be in the right place at the right time though because these promotions can go incredibly fast.  Usually following me on Facebook is the best way to find out about them because we can all work together on the Facebook wall to learn when coupons are live etc..

You can register for the word of mouth programs like Vocalpoint, Kraft First Taste, House Party etc… and hopefully get coupons that way.

You can purchase free item coupons online.  An example would be the Sunday insert coupons I mentioned above.  If your area did not receive a coupon for a product or if you want extra coupons, you can purchase coupons from clipping services or from Ebay.  One thing to note is that you want to be VERY careful buying coupons from Ebay.  There are occasional sellers that never send the coupons, send out photocopies or otherwise altered coupons (that are fraudulent and should not be redeemed) and so on.  If a coupon seems too good to be true- say a $5 off Tide coupon, most likely it is too good to be true and it is best to not take any chances.  I have personally used Ebay a handful of times and I have not had problems but I have heard from lots and lots of people that were burned so again just use caution.

And the last way I wanted to mention was via manufacturers directly.  I used to do this a lot when I started couponing and then I had baby #2 and now there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.  You can select random manufacturers for products that you like and call them, email or even write a letter and compliment or offer constructive critisism on their products.

Sample Letters:

What I used to do was pay attention to the products I already had on hand and make a mental note to contact those companies.  For example, during bathtime am I using Burt’s Bees baby wash?  Well why not drop them a line.  In the morning as I am brewing my coffee- is it Coffeemate creamer I always have in the fridge?  Well why not contact them!  You can often just turn a package around and find contact information or a simple Google search will more often than not turn up contact information.

When contacting companies it is important to be honest with your feedback but still polite.  Telling Luvs that you hated the diapers and they gave your baby a rash is probably not going to get you very far.  Here are some examples of things that I have said to companies in the past:

I contacted Huggies when I had a pack of diapers that were defective.

“I have used Huggies diapers on my girls for the past 3 years and have always had great luck with your product.  I also appreciate the convenience of finding Huggies diapers in almost every store I shop.  I did want to let you know that I recently purchased a package of Huggies Overnights diapers in a Jumbo pack at Target (UPC #:) and the side tabs were missing from 3 diapers in the pack.  I have never had any quality issues before and I certainly intend to continue purchasing your product.  I just wanted to make you aware of the problem. “

Now that really did happen to me and I really did send them a note about it.  Huggies responded by sending me a coupon for a free pack of diapers and two $5 off coupons for any product.  So if you do run into any legitimate problems don’t be shy about letting these companies know!

Another example might be something your family enjoys like Newman’s Own Pasta Sauce.  You might send something like this:

“I just tried the new Newman’s Own Stockarooni pasta sauce tonight and wanted to let you know how much our family enjoyed your product!  Your pasta sauce is a staple in our house and my kids love it on homemade pizza or spaghetti and I love the convenience of just pouring something right from a jar and dinner is served!  I also love that your products are organic as that is such an important thing for our family.  We will continue to purchase your pasta sauce regularly and if you happen to have any coupons available for consumers, I would sincerely appreciate them!  My address is:  …..”

And even if you are not a huge fan of a product or you simply want to try something different, you might send a note.  Like I happen to be a Coffeemate girl.  So I might send something like this to International Delight:

“I tend to purchase Coffeemate creamers most frequently and I do use creamer in my coffee every morning.  I recently saw an ad for the new Breve creamer from International Delight and I am really interested in trying this product.  I love the packaging on the creamer and the flavors sound wonderful- especially the Caramel Macchiato.  If you have any coupons available for consumers, I would really appreciate them as I would love to try your product and see if I like it as much as what I currently use.   My address is…”

So emailing companies can sometimes get you incredible coupons and sometimes get you absolutely nothing.  I have received several free item coupons from manufacturers, I have received nothing at all in response to my emails and coupons that were very low in value (say $.35 coupons on a $5-6 product.)

If you want to give this a whirl, I would suggest getting started by just looking at the products you use regularly and contacting those companies when you can.  You can also see a long list of companies to get in touch with (and hopefully) you will get free coupons in return.

Remember to try to be specific and to be honest with what you say.  “I love Huggies please send me coupons” is probably not as effective as the samples listed above.

WHERE:

Now that you know how to get these coupons, I wanted to mention where to use them.  Most people get a coupon for whatever product and they hit the closest store, get the product and leave.  That is great but I try to be a little more strategic with these coupons.

I actually tend to hoard my free item coupons.  Many of them will have long expiration dates and I like to wait for the best possible time to use them to really maximize savings.  So what would be an example of that?  Well I had a free coupon for a pack of Kraft cheese recently.  I waited until I found a Buy One Get One Free sale on Kraft cheese and plunked that coupon down to get 2 packages for free.  Another example would be to hold your coupon until you can possibly make a profit via drugstore rewards or rebates.  An example of that might be a coupon for a free pack of Huggies diapers.  Maybe you hold onto that coupon until CVS is offering a $3 ECB when you buy Huggies.  Use that free package coupon and you get a free product and still get the $3 ECB.  So not only did you get free diapers but you made a profit!

I also love to use these coupons as fillers for store coupons.  For example, my local grocery store offers store coupons for free products when you spend a certain amount (CVS and Rite Aid also offer these types of coupons with $5 off $20 purchase coupons or $3 off $15 purchase coupons.)  So for example I might need to spend $20 at that store and if I do, I get a free package of cereal.  Now I just have to hit $20 before coupons so if I had a coupon for a free pack of Huggies diapers- well that is likely going to get me almost halfway to the $20 mark.  So if I am smart and hold onto those free item coupons until I have a little stash of them, I can use them at the right time to get the best possible deal.

Hopefully this is clear and I would love to hear from you guys that actually do regularly contact companies.  What has your experience been and do you have any other suggestions?

You can read more articles about learning to coupon:

Extreme Couponing: Where to Begin

Extreme Couponing: Understanding coupon matchups

Extreme Couponing: Ready for Action

Extreme Couponing: Determining a Realistic Savings Plan

Extreme Couponing: Understanding Buy One Get One Free Coupons

Extreme Couponing: Organizing Your Coupons

and you can get even more information from the Where to Begin section of my blog!

 

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

mo177o June 16, 2011 at 12:02 AM

Wow, thank you for another great article. I love your blog!

Tara June 16, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Thanks for posting this! I actually started Emailing companys last night in hopes of some high value coupons, so far, Amy’s has responded and said they were sending me some coupons and Annie’s responded and thanked me for my Email (wonder if I will get any coupons.) I did not request any, maybe in my next emails I will request some like you did.

melissa June 16, 2011 at 4:25 AM

Excellent points. I regularly contact companies to let them know about issues I’ve had with their products as well as to compliment them. I guess the squeaky wheel gets the oil because I usually receive coupons when there’s been an issue and rarely receive any when I compliment. But at least half of the reason I contact them in the first place is because I legitimately have an issue or a compliment and I want them to know. A coupon (especially a freebie) is always a bonus. I have thought about using my coupons in BOGO situations, but most of my stores ring up BOGO items at half price, so that wouldn’t really work for me to get two free. But I have used them in the other ways you mentioned.

Another thing is that sometimes if you contact a company about something, they’ll send you a coupon for a different product that they want you to try. I contacted Ore Ida to compliment them on something and they sent me a couple low value Ore Ida coupons, but also a Heinz Simply Organic ketchup coupon as well.

Smita Arun June 16, 2011 at 5:17 AM

Very well said and beautifully written article. I too have had pretty good experience in getting free product or cents off or Dollars off Coupon by writting letters to companies. Once my Salad had some funky matter in it so I wrote to them and they sent me coupons to get some free salad. Then there was a time something wrong with Crackers, I purchased less sodium Crackers but there was a packaging mistake and the crackers inside the box were regular so i wrote to them about it and I got some Coupons to try the Crackers for free. We live in technology world that has indeed made our lives so much easier than before. We can but don’t have to send any complaints by snail mail and spend money on postage, e-mails are so much easier in getting the message across and also you have a proof with you what you wrote and how the company or manufacturer responded which according to me weighs a ton. Thanks MFA for making it so much easier for us newbie couponers by giving us so much useful information and tips on saving money.

Sara June 16, 2011 at 7:19 AM

I am fairly new to couponing, and while I feel like I’ve got a pretty good start on it, this article you wrote really put things into perspective! I have a 2 year old and a newborn, and while time is something I’m always running out of, I’ve found that your site is always the first place I go to when looking at deals each day! Thank you so much for what you do and the time you spend writing your blog!!

Lorena June 16, 2011 at 7:36 AM

wow, thank you for the informative speel. I had been wondering how to get those free item coupons and now have a better idea. I have been lucky enough to score the free iced tea and a small handful or the free coffee coupons so that has been a treat!
I too want to thank you for all the information you post it is always so infromative, I have learned so much about couponing that it has made things so much more comfrotable on our budget.

carmen @ life blessons June 16, 2011 at 7:44 AM

This was SUCH a helpful and insightful article. I really appreciate you taking the time to put this together and share it with us. I’m still kind of new to couponing, and so getting tips from the “pros” really helps me go about it more strategically. I especially appreciated your tips about when to use the freebie coupons. I never would have thought to use them like that!

One question when you’re using one of those $4 off $20 kinds of coupons. If you’re planning on using additional coupons, do you ever have cashiers who won’t let you use that coupon first (when you’re over $20) and then all your other coupons afterward? I’m nervous about trying that because I don’t want to “get in trouble”!

Thanks again :)

Stephanie June 16, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Great article! I had a pack of Huggies that was missing some tabs too! Next time I guess I’ll have to follow your advice… This is a great idea. I love it. I currently have a box of trash bags from Costco that has two huge rolls. One roll from what I can tell the whole roll is defective. I was going to take it back next time we go to Costco, but maybe I should send an email to let them know too. The bags are all perferated down the middles so it tears in half and is pretty much unusable.

Rachel R. June 16, 2011 at 1:09 PM

Thanks for including examples of what to write to companies! I have been writing to companies online for a month or so and like you, sometimes get nothing in return and sometimes get a few coupons. I haven’t gotten any free coupons yet but have received some great coupons this way. It’s so easy to contact companies online now and only takes a few minutes.

karen henderson July 10, 2011 at 8:24 AM

great info! i look forward to learning from you!

Emilie July 23, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Would love to learn more. Thanks for the info.

angie July 23, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Thank you for the info. i have emailed companies and have received some coupons but you are right some do not respond at all. i had a problem printing a coupon for klondike potatoes it kept saying it printed and didn’t then it said i printed it the# of times allowed i emailed the company and explained the problem and asked if they could mail me the coupon still no response i guess some companies have enough business thanks again

Elaina July 23, 2011 at 7:50 PM

I have also contacted companies for issues I have had in the past such as Cascadian Farms and Pampers and they both sent me coupons for free products and $$ off. I haven’t tried just emailing to see what I can get! Thank you for the idea!

Smita Arun July 23, 2011 at 8:39 PM

I wrote to Bayer for their products and they sent me $20.00 Worth Coupons. i called Advil (Pfizer) and they are sending me 5 Coupons $3.00 worth ea. EOS also sent me Coupons for Shaving Cream and I got Two Containers for free from WAGS when they had a Super deal last week. So far I had contacted three companies and they all responded immediately. Can’t say i’ll be lucky with others too. :)

Kristi August 1, 2011 at 9:03 PM

Thanks for the info. Looking forward to checking back with you.
:o)

Teri October 11, 2011 at 10:49 AM

its great (: im trying this out hope it works

Dorothy jones May 21, 2012 at 10:42 AM

I am requesting coupons to be sent to my email or mailing address

fernando September 4, 2012 at 7:16 PM

i would like to get free coupons by email because i rally need them

dusty September 6, 2012 at 8:50 AM

need to save money

daren low September 19, 2012 at 8:59 AM

i would like coupons in the mail please

jennifer September 21, 2012 at 6:44 PM

i would like free coupons sent to me by mail please address 335 maple st po box 226 michigamme mi 49861 please and thank you

Rebekah October 23, 2012 at 6:30 PM

where can i find website that i can sign up to have then send me coupons in the mail ? I like old fashion because I can’t afford to buy ink all the time. u know what i mean?

Angel Yarbrough November 7, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Send coupons please! Thanks

stephanie sampson November 13, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Excited about getting free coupons

Almarosa Quevedo December 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

I’m going to try this… let see if I like it
I’m trying to save more money

Lydia M English January 3, 2013 at 12:51 PM

This is a great article. Thank you for sharing your information and adventures with us. Great results. I think this a fun thing to do and at the same time let know our degree of satisfaction to the companies we use products daily in our lives.

Thank you

Lydia

Muna January 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

HEllo how can i get coupons for free stuff Thank you

roy May 1, 2013 at 2:09 AM

Wow i need stuff and love a deal.

roy May 1, 2013 at 2:09 AM

did i get the coupon thing?????????????
can you email me back???????

Heather Gryga July 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM

please send them Thanks

trina October 20, 2013 at 1:25 AM

Me and my boy friend are trying to get are own apartment. He is tje only one that works I stay at home with my daughter. And we need to save.up so any advice u have on savong.money couponing pleasesend it to me

Ashley ODriscoll January 13, 2014 at 4:21 AM

I want coupons in mail

Teresa Blankenship February 8, 2014 at 6:59 AM

I love extreme couponing and can’t wait to get free coupns in the mail so I can start my extreme couponing…

Lucy April 3, 2014 at 10:45 PM

I would like to begin couponing. I have never used coupons before and have wasted a lot of money as a result. Please mail me some to my house.

jackie July 7, 2014 at 11:29 AM

i would like to recieve free copons by email or mail. thank you,

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