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Getting free stuff may be easier than you think

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Lauren Winther
Collegiate Staff

Lauren Winther

Free products just taste, smell, look, and even feel better. However, not many people know how to get a hold of them. I started product testing and getting complementary items from websites about five months ago, and I’ll never go back.

It all started over Christmas break, which for me got old after two weeks. That’s when I noticed on my friend’s Instagram that she got free makeup. I was more than into that. So, I did what any rational but cheap person would do, I stalked her page endlessly until I found the source of these free little treasures. (Side note, for me it’s all about the beauty products, but all these websites are gender friendly, I promise.)

During the course of my mini investigation, I found the website Influenster.com.  Influenster will give you points based upon how “influential” you are on social media. Meaning, now’s the time you can brag about having 800 friends on Facebook and 600 Twitter followers, because they just helped you get free products. From this website you get badges. These badges are earned by completing surveys, which aid the Influenster team in determining which campaign you can participate in. There are literally badges for everyone, and seriously, I mean everyone. Parents, guys, girls, students, you name it.

Then, once you qualify for a campaign, you’ll get sent VoxBox. This is where your Facebook and Twitter friends come in; a small price to pay for free stuff. Your job is to post anywhere and everywhere on social media about what you received complimentary. I personally stick to Instagram, Twitter andTumblr. I love to post pictures of me trying a product or just the items that I have received. It’s really easier than it seems, and Influenster will even hold your hand and guide you through it.

Last month I qualified for my first VoxBox and let me just say, I was not disappointed. It had everything a girl need, A  NYC New York Color Expert Last Lipstick, Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation,  Broadway Nails impress Manicures, Pilot Acroball Pure White pen, RedRose Real Tea Premium Water Enchancers and other feminine products.Honestly, the majority of the products I recieved, I would not have sought out and bought them, but because I got to test them for completely free (shipping is free too!) I fell in love with all of the items and use them on a regular basis.

Through Influenster I discovered BzzAgent.com. Similar to toInfluenster, you take surveys to qualify for different campaigns. I’ll be honest with you, this website is easier to receive products from than Influenster, but they may not be as cool. (The firstBzzAgent box I got contained coupons for Glade air fresheners and, yes, they sent me a box with just coupons in it.) Just recently, I did qualify for a BuzzAgent Starbucks campaign where I was sent Starbucks Blond Roast coffee completely free. You can choose not to participate in these campaigns as well, so if air fresheners and coffee are not something you’re into, feel free to skip over it.
Now both these websites are great, but waiting around for campaigns just isn’t ideal for me. So, I switched gears and found Listia.com (I don’t want to show favoritism…but this is my favorite. It’s awesome. Do it. Just do it.) Listia is a glorified Ebay but with points. By listing things you don’t want, taking surveys, and watching videos, you earn points to bid for whatever your little heart desires.Typically it takes about anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to complete a survey. On Listiathe majority of the surveys are 600 points apiece, so it’s not hard to rack up the points! If you win the bid the product will be shipped to your house.
The bids I have won have strictly been high end makeup and when I say high end, I mean big name brands. I won a bid for a Sephora eye shadow pallet, Urban Decay eye shadow primer, Smashbox lipgloss, Organic Wear blush and an eyeliner, and mini mascara. Now what I get from Listia is a whole new world to me. This is makeup, as a struggling college student, I just cannot afford. I’m currently racking up my points in hopes to win an Urban Decay Naked Palette. Makeup is my thing, but Listia does offer so much more.
Another website I came across is called Swagbucks.com (I know, I know, but stick with me, the concept is cooler than the name.) Swagbucks is a search engine that will give you bucks for searching, watching videos, shopping at your favorite stores, taking surveys and playing games. (I told you it was cool.) Once you earn a certain amount of bucks, you can get gift cards or receive cash in your PayPal account. These gift cards include Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target and much much more.Swagbucks gives you goals each day, this week my goal has been to get 40 bucks. I typically spend 20 to 30 minutes to meet my goal; I however multitask when I do it. I’m sure it can be done faster!
My makeup needs are already met through Listia and Influenster, so I use Swagbucks to save up. I typically go the PayPal route, that way I can make a little extra money on the side and yes, it works! Just a month ago I received $25.
Lastly, for all my TV watchers, you can download an app called Viggle. Viggle has you check into different T.V. programs and once the show or movie is over, you get points. The catch? It has to be on the air, so sorry Netflix users. (Yes, I tried, five seasons of “Friday Night Lights” could have gotten me a ridiculous amount of points.) Viggle will also let you check in 20 songs from Pandora; each song is worth 25 points.
I have not won anything on Viggle quite yet (just wait, hear me out) There are prizes for lower amounts of points, like ITunes’ codes, Redbox codes, and Amazon gift cards. I currently have 26,326 points which I’m trying to save up for some of the larger prizes, like (you guessed it) a Sephora gift card.
With all these websites at your use, it’s important to make sure of a few things. First, make sure you have the time for this. Too many of my friends have quit because they did not receive products instantly. These sites may seem overwhelming, but it’s manageable even with the busiest of schedules. As a full time college student, with an active social life, I’m still able to participate. The rewards are also very beneficial for college students of all ages.
Second, you get a crazy amount of spam mail from surveys, I advise getting a separate email to use. I created lwfreebies@yahoo.com, not the most original, but hey it keeps my email clean and free of spam. Lastly, have fun with this. I do it because I like it and it’s fun, the free products keep me coming back, but it’s more fun for me to see what I can get.
Now that you all know my frugal tips, go out there and get yourself some products. It’s worth the time and effort that you put into it. The products I’ve received have actually saved me money as the majority of them I would have had to either buy or wouldn’t have the funds to purchase. Give it a shot, these websites and apps are completely free, no credit card information necessary; just an email address and patience.
You all have my freebie email, let me know what you’ve gotten and your success, I promise it won’t go to spam.