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17 Easy Ways to Get Free Stuff Every Time You Shop

Here's everything you need to know to score the best freebies.

Anyone who tells you there's no such thing as free lunch just isn't looking hard enough. Companies are always looking to sweeten the deal to earn customer loyalty, meaning there are tons of clever ways to score free stuff pretty much any time you open your wallet. By using these simple hacks, you can find fun freebies including cash back, major rewards, and in one case on this list, even a free puppy! Whether you're shopping online on cruising the aisles of you favorite store, here are all the best ways to land free stuff while you shop. And if you want to save money on things you buy every day, check out the 20 Best Generic Products from Target.

Look for BOGO deals.


"Buy one get one" deals are one of the easiest ways to ensure you're walking away with free swag. Not sure where to find them? Shopping promotion website Retailmenot currently has a wide range of BOGO coupon codes for products at popular stores and eateries, including burgers at Shake Shack, pizzas at Papa John's, trial size products at Bath & Body Works, and books for all ages at Barnes & Noble.

The best part? You can sort them easily by specific store or category, so the very best deals are at your fingertips.

Enroll in loyalty programs.

Man pulling loyalty card out of wallet

Rewards programs thank you for your loyalty with really great products for free, or discounts on future shopping.

For example, a Starbucks rewards card can quickly earn you free coffee drinks and meals, especially on "Double Star Days" when you can earn twice the points with your purchase. Parents and caregivers can join the Huggies rewards program, which lets you scan diaper receipts to earn free baby toys, formula, and more. Meanwhile, joining REI's co-op membership program  means you receive annual dividends (a.k.a. cash back) at the close of every calendar year.

These are just a few businesses with particularly generous loyalty schemes, but check in with your favorite brands to see what they offer!

Get your pet adoption fees paid for by Pedigree.

cocker spaniel puppy in food bowl

Considering adopting a pet? Well, Pedigree has a new promotion called the One True Loyalty Program that says they'll pay your pet adoption fees if you simply buy two 15-pound bags of Pedigree dog food and upload the receipts. Yes, you heard that right: you literally get a free puppy for buying a few helpings of dog food. And if you're thinking of adopting a pet, check out the 50 Most Popular Dog Breeds in America.

Join a sample box program.

Box of samples in factory

This has to be one of the easiest ways to get your hands on free products: join PINCHme, Influenster, Smiley360, and other sample boxes for free stuff delivered right to your doorstep. How does it work? Companies donate products to these services in hopes that you'll enjoy them and buy them later, or rave about them on social media. In some cases, the more you promote them, the more you get!

Right now, those sites are currently advertising samples from great brands: you'll find skincare products from Olay, pet food from Blue Buffalo, hair care from Moroccanoil, K-Cup coffee pods from Starbucks, and so much more. And for more great information delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Use your credit cards wisely.

stack of credit cards

Choosing the right credit card can put money in your pocket every time you shop. For example, the American Express Gold Card offers an accelerated rewards points plan, a $120 dining credit through Grubhub, Seamless, and select restaurants, and a $100 credit for airline tickets.

Another top performing credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card, earns you a $200 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months after opening an account, plus five percent cash back on groceries. And for more ways to save, check out The Best Way to Save Money While Shopping Online, According to Experts.

Download the Shopkick app.

jealous wife

Downloading the right apps on your phone can unlock some major perks. For instance, by joining the rewards app Shopkick, you can earn free points known as "kicks" that can later be exchanged for free gift cards.

Through their program, you'll earn rewards for completing tasks as simple as walking into a store (with the app on and your Bluetooth enabled, so it can record your visit), scanning barcodes of promotional items, or making in-store purchases. It really is that simple! Redeem your kicks with gift cards to popular stores like Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and more.

Take surveys in exchange for rewards.

Mature woman having online consultation with psychotherapist at home on laptop

Taking a few simple surveys can earn you lots of free stuff while you shop. Just head over to any reputable paid survey website to participate in a little incentivized market research during your online shopping!

Look out for sample products.

free samples

Grocery stores, pharmacies, cosmetics companies, and big box stores all have something in common: they love to give away free samples. Many businesses also extend their samples to online offers as well!

Sephora, for example, lets you choose two free product samples with every purchase. Similarly, Nordstrom lets you choose three free samples with any beauty or fragrance purchase. The men's skincare line Lumin will even ship you a full sample set of their products, hand-tailored for your skin's needs.

Practice extreme couponing.

white hand clipping coupons
Shutterstock/igor kisselev

Coupons: yes, they're a throwback, but they work—especially if you know where to use them. The key is to opt for stores that have generous coupon policies, meaning those that have no coupon limits, allow coupons for clearance deals, and allow coupon overages. With this holy trinity of couponing, you can cleverly combine store coupons with manufacturer coupons and apply them to clearance items to score free stuff! If you play your cards right, you can actually exceed the cost of the item and earn cash toward another purchase.

Sign up for free trials.

Man opening shipment box

Many companies offer a period of free product when you sign up for a trial, with no strings attached if you decide to cancel. Product subscriptions like Scentbird, media streaming services like Netflix, and startup businesses like Uber Eats all offer such trials. Just be sure to mark your calendar to cancel anything you don't want to continue—otherwise you may end up paying more in the long run.

Earn Amazon credits.

Amazon app on phone

If you do the bulk of your shopping via Amazon, this one's for you. By getting the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card you can actually earn up to five percent cash back by shopping at Amazon or Whole Foods Market (including Whole Foods 360)—all of which is redeemable in the form of Amazon purchases.

Not sure you're up for the commitment of another credit card? Instead, opt to turn in old electronics to Amazon in exchange for cash credits to cover future Amazon purchases!

Join mailing lists with rewards programs.

Man taking an online class

When you're checking out while shopping online, websites will often ask you to opt in to their mailing list. Not only do these often contain promotions and discounts, but they sometimes offer a specific reward for signing up for the mailing list itself.

For instance, in exchange for your email address, T.G.I. Friday's will give you a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert. Au Bon Pain will give you a free travel mug, along with discounted coffee!

Sign up for registries.

baby registry sign in store

Besides the obvious way that joining a registry can get you free stuff (thanks, friends and family!), signing up for registries is a great way to earn free product samples and promotional goods. For example, creating a baby registry at Target, Buy Buy Baby, or Baby List will all earn you generous "goody bags" that include essentials like diapers, bottles, and more. Refer friends to make their own Buy Buy Baby registries and you'll also earn $25 toward any $100 in-store purchase!

Bundle your shopping for free shipping.

free shipping on phone screen

Often online retailers will waive the shipping fees if you spend over a certain dollar amount. Be sure to look out for those offers and try to bundle your purchases so you never pay a dollar for shipping. Of course, you can also opt to shop at stores that always offer free shipping: for instance, Nordstrom, Apple, MAC Cosmetics, Crate & Barrel, and more.

Eat at places with free kids' meals.

Little boys eating in restaurant

When you head out to a restaurant with your family, this simple trick can help keep the check to a manageable low: go to a place where kids eat for free. For some eateries, free kids meals are an everyday policy, while at others, it's only offered on certain days of the week. For instance, Denny's offers two free kids' entrees for every adult meal purchased, and Chili's notifies members of their rewards program of frequent "kids eat free" loyalty specials.

Get a free makeover while you shop at Sephora.

Sephora Storefront {Return Policies}

Whether you regularly spend a mint at Sephora or only pop in once in a blue moon, you're likely to leave with some samples in hand. But spend over $50 on Sephora products and you can request something far more luxurious: a free, 45-minute Sephora makeover. Beyond the glow up itself, you'll gain invaluable tips from a trained makeup artist on how to apply products and style your look.

You can also score major savings by enrolling in Sephora's Beauty Insider Benefits, which can earn you cash back, free shipping, sample rewards, invitations to events, and more.

Rack up travel points by choosing a favorite airline.

Buying plane tickets booking cheap flights

Being loyal to one airline has major perks. If you travel often enough, it shouldn't take long to rack up some serious travel points by buying plane tickets—and that can quickly translate into promotions, travel upgrades, or even free plane tickets.

Though Delta Sky Miles and United MileagePlus both rank among the best frequent flyer programs, you can use this handy frequent flyer miles calculator to determine which one is right for you. And if you want to save big the next time you shop, There's a Secret Store on Amazon With Tons of Popular Items on Sale.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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