A few months ago I wrote a post about how to stock a stage management kit on a budget. One of those tips was to use freebie offers to stock your kit, but since then a few of you have reached out to find out more about exactly where and what you can find for free for your kit.
So I’ve gone down my kit inventory and noted some items I’ve picked up as freebies. Some are offered all the time and others you have to keep an eye out for. For this to be a successful technique for keeping your kit stocked, it’s best to just make swinging by freebie websites a regular part of your week (because that way you can also find some delightfully bizarre freebie offers).
This system really only works when you plan ahead rather than waiting till the last minute – especially since most free samples take 4-6 weeks to turn up at your doorstep.
Gel Book – To get a free Rosco gel book, use this link to find your nearest supplier. Show up on their doorstep and ask for one. Rosco cracked down on mailing out free gel books once photographers and crafters started requesting tons of them to use for free. You can still order them by mail, but they cost $7.50, a local supplier will be happy to provide you one for free. While you’re there you can ask them for a Lee and Apollo gel book too.
Lee will also send you a complimentary swatch book if you can’t find one through a local dealer. Just go to their website and use the Contact Us section.
Hand Sanitizer – Join the Bath & Body Works email list (scroll to the bottom). They will send you a lot of emails, but a coupon for free travel sized items are a regular offer on those emails. Snag ‘em. You can also like them on Facebook since they’ll occasionally offer a free travel sized item through there too.
Pads & Tampons – this includes you too, Gentlemen SMs, and by using this method you don’t even have to go into a store and buy them. Also, make sure you stock both of them in your kit. We’re pretty picky about which ones we use and you don’t want to mess with an actress on her period who is probably already a little embarrassed to be asking for one… well, maybe not. Actresses have no shame.
U by Kotex pretty much always has a free sample offering here; however, you can only pick one (again gentlemen, if you go with the tampon, pick the click one – it’s tinier and more discreet to hand over). That being said, it’s easier to find tampon samples, so you may want to get their maxi pad.
Other brands occasionally offer free samples, but if you keep an eye out on free sample websites like Go Freebies, they pop up pretty regularly.
Deodorant – this is another one that pops up with some regularity, especially when Walmart or Target are offering free samples (for instance, today Target happens to be offering a free sample of contact solution – another good thing to keep in your kit).
Tissues – Kleenex sometimes does a campaign where it lets you mail a package of tissues to a friend, so just be your own friend. Or ask other friends to do it for you.
Rubber Gloves – you can order a free sample of them here.
This seems like a good time to remind you it’s a good idea to set up a separate email address to use for all these free sample websites so you don’t get tons of ads because of them. It takes 5 minutes and will save you tons of irritation.
Aspring and Antacids – you can often find sample offers for brands like Bayer, Aleve, Bean-o, Gas-X and antacids. Go Freebies is a good site to keep an eye on, but AllYou also has a lot of medicine samples.
Band-aids – hey look, Canadians, you can get free samples here. Americans, you’re outta luck, although Nexcare often does have offers. You can also sign up for Band-aid’s mailing list to get coupons and notice of when free samples are offered.
Contact Solution – are you lucky enough to be a four eyes like me? Then just ask your eye doctor for an extra bottle or two when you’re there.
Toothbrush & Floss – again, most of us visit the dentist. Instead of tossing out that strange goody bag they usually give out, repurpose it into your kit. I can honestly say it’s been a rare day that a performer has asked for a toothbrush, but I did have one who was neurotic about brushing her teeth and I have also used them to clean tiny, ornate surfaces, like a gilded picture frame.
Tea – there is no shortage of free tea samples. Yogi constantly has this offer going and others like Bigelow, Twinnings and Tetley regularly show up on free sample websites.
For any sort of office supplies, I suggest joining Staples rewards club and checking out this blog – Stapler Confessions. Every week Rebecca checks out the deals there and teaches you how to maximize their rewards program and get lots of free stuff.
Here are a few websites to keep an eye on regularly since they list really great freebies:
- Beauty, Events and Free Stuff (especially if you’re NYC based)
- Snag Free Samples
- Totally Free Stuff
- Scam Free Samples
- I Crave Freebies