I love going to my mailbox and finding free stuff or high-value coupons! While it is always rewarding to find great deals through weekly newspaper ads or online, I have discovered that I can find valuable coupons and even free samples by contacting the manufacturer responsible for my favorite products.

Here’s how to do it:

Go to the company website and either click on the “contact” link to email, or get the address to send a letter by mail. Most addresses can be found on the company website or on the product itself. For example, this is what the contact page looks like for the Tom’s of Maine site.

It generally takes about 4 to 6 weeks to get the coupons in the mail. An email response usually arrives within a few days. Often, companies have a generic email they send within a few minutes to indicate they received the email. (A personal response follows a few days later.)

The response could include a simple “thank you” or an assortment of coupons. But some companies send samples of their products or high-value coupons.

I have contacted around 25 companies and have received coupons from many of them, including Windex (a coupon for a free product), Bar-S Hotdogs ($5 gift certificate and coupons), Chobani Greek Yogurt (coupons and a free magnet) and Pepperidge Farm (coupon for a free product valued at up to $3), and Sobe Beverages (a coupon for a free product). Of course, I haven’t received products or coupons from every company I have contacted; I have received coupons or samples from about 12. That's only half, but to me it is worth the extra effort since I only do it once every few months, and I spend less than an hour each time I write!

Here are some additional tips:

  • Start by contacting any company that makes a product you love.
  • Don't specifically ask for coupons. Instead, tell them how much you love their product and explain why. Offer suggestions on how to improve or change a product or suggest a new product.
  • Make it personal by explaining why you love the product. But don't say the same thing in each email. For example, I wrote Tom's of Maine and told them that I found their product when I discovered I was allergic to the aluminum in my deodorant. I wrote to Pepperidge Farm and shared that my mom taught me how to make sausage rolls with their puff pastry sheets and that I have taught my kids how to do it, too. It doesn't have to be fancy or long, but it should be personal and not sound like it was copied and pasted into the form.
  • Include your kids. If you have kids who are old enough to write, let them do the talking! A friend of mine who used to work for a major company said that she always tried to give extra products to the kids who wrote her. If your kids are too young to write, just mention that they love the product to add another personal touch to the note.
  • Know the company. As my friend said, "Don't write Tide and tell them how you like them better than Gain, and then write Gain and tell them how much better they are than Tide. The same company makes both, and chances are the same person will be reading both emails."
  • Make sure to include your mailing address. Most companies will make you fill out that information on their webpage, but if that isn’t a required field be sure to add it. Otherwise, they won't  be able to send those coupons!

It's so simple and doesn’t really take that much time. Companies love to hear from their consumers, so you are helping them by encouraging them to keep making great products. Try it and see what freebies or coupons you get.

 This has been a guest post by Chelsea from Washington, UT
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