Consumer Reports: How to Get Free Stuff Online

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If you think there’s no such thing as free lunch, think again. There are lots of products you can get online without having to pay a cent.

Consumer Reports ShopSmart magazine got free Gevalia espresso coffee fixings, Emergen C vitamins, all kinds of beauty products, and even free downloadable movies to keep the family entertained.

ShopSmart has a lot of tips on how to get tons of free stuff.

The first thing to do is look at websites that aggregate free offers.

ShopSmart especially liked Freeflys and got more free stuff from there than from any other website.

Some other aggregator sites worth checking out:

SweetFreeStuff—that’s where ShopSmart got the free movie.

ShopSmart was able to order more than 50 items in a few hours of online searching.

No-shows were a problem though. About half of the freebies had not arrived 10 weeks after they’d been ordered.

Another problem is a flood of e-mail marketing pitches clogging up your inbox. So set up a separate e-mail address just for freebie shopping.

When shopping for freebies: Keep your credit card in your wallet. Shipping should be free, so there is no reason to give your credit-card information. If a website asks you to give your card number, ShopSmart says don’t do it.

It’s also worth looking at manufacturers’ sites, such as Pillsbury or Walmart. You can sometimes get coupons for a free full-sized product. Be aware, if you score a free coupon, you usually have to pick up the item at the store.

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