Different Uses for Sample-Size Products

posted by Andrea | 05/23/2012

Over the years, I’ve been known to stock-up sample-size products (see picture above)!

I’m positive I get that from my mom; but I just love the small sizes… and the fact that I get all of them completely free!

If you’ve ever followed any of the many coupon blogs out there, you know that there are tons of coupons for products that are valid even on sample/travel-size items, which means you should be able to stock up for free (and sometimes you might even make money!)

However, I don’t just stock up for the sake of getting free stuff. We do actually use our sample size products on a very regular basis… and I continue to restock them on a regular basis too 🙂

Anyway, last week I posted some pictures of My “Sample Size” First Aid Kit and explained how I used empty baby wipe containers and a handful of my sample-size products to create completely free first aid kits for both of our vehicles.

However, a first aid kit isn’t the only use for sample-size products.

No Way!

Some of my favorite uses for sample-size products are:

Travel with them.

OK, so this one is pretty obvious but I didn’t want to skip over this super practical option. Not only will sample-size products save a ton of room in your suitcase, the small sizes allow you to take them in your carry-on bag.

Donate them.

Homeless shelters, women’s shelters, or pretty much ANY other non-profit organization would love to have sample size products to pass out to those in need. I’m pretty sure you can even bring sample-size products to Goodwill and Salvation Army.

Also, many churches have “basket ministries” (or something similar) that are always in need of sample-size products to put in baskets for sick people, new moms, the elderly, etc.

Gift them. 

Don’t worry, I don’t give everyone sample-size products for birthday and christmas gifts, but I have created some fun “sample-size gift baskets” that I’ve included as part of another gift.

For example…

BABY GIFTS: before Nora was around, I would package up all my cute sample-size baby items and include it as part of a shower gift (perfect sizes for the diaper bag).

HOUSE WARMING GIFTS: I’ve packaged up sample size cleaning products and given them to college students moving into the dorms or young married couples moving into an apartment. They are the perfect size for small spaces — plus, do you know any college student who actually remembers to buy cleaning products!

DOOR PRIZES: I’ve been to many wedding showers, baby showers, and home parties — all of which need door prizes. Many sample-size lotions, body washes, etc. make excellent door prizes — especially if they are the fancy products from Bath and Body Works.

GAG GIFTS: A few years ago, we hosted a Christmas party and gave everyone a gag gift that included all sorts of sample size medicines, denture cream, muscle relaxers, etc. It was a fun gesture that didn’t cost me a thing 🙂

Use them yourself!

I once did laundry for an entire month with sample-size laundry packets I’d gotten for free! Dave and I also go in spurts where we use sample-size lotions, body washes, and deodorants to save money on buying the full-size ones.

Sometimes, if the bottle has a twist-off lid, you can even reuse the containers by refilling them from full-size products.

These are just a few of my favorite uses… and I just want to reiterate that the ONLY reason I use sample-size products at all is because I can get them completely free. Please don’t go out and start stocking up on sample-size items just for these purposes — full-size items are MUCH more cost efective!

What are your favorite uses for sample-size products?


Filed under: LifeFrugal LivingGoing Green

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  1. Cheryl


    I keep a whole drawer full of sample sized toiletry items in the guest bathroom. We live far away from our families, so we have visitors often. I always tell them not to worry about packing any bathroom stuff – it is all there for them to use, like a hotel!


    Andrea Reply:

    that’s how we use many of our toiletries now too. it’s nice for them and easy for me!


  2. Noreen


    Where do you get sample size cleaning products?????


  3. Julie


    I put them in a little basket and put it in the bathroom when we have overnight guests. That way if they forgot something they don’t need to buy replacements or have to ask. I have a little tag that says, For our guests


  4. Devon


    Hello! I love the ideas here! But I was wondering where you find so many coupons that allow travel/trial sizes? I’m really new to couponing and would love some advice from someone who is so on top of everything! Thank you very much for your time!



  5. Danielle


    This might seem wasteful but my girls LOVE to experiment and play- I let them have the sample size items for such playtime as: soap for polly pocket or plastic animal baths in the sink, outdoor messy play with bubbles and chalk, and crazy concoctions where they just measure small amounts of EVERYTHING (including expired food bits or crumbs or whatever in the kitchen). out and mix up in big bowls. Disgusting but oh so fun. Or something as simple as letting them have things in the tub. I do’nt like to let them have free reign of the real soap of course, but a sample size bar seems to be okay.


    Andrea Reply:

    I love this idea Danielle — much cheaper than buying toys for them to play with!


  6. Debbie


    My husband recently ran out of his favorite deodorant and luckily we had some sample size ones stocked up to tide him over until I could catch some sales.

    Another use is for our overnight guests. Sometimes they might have forgotten some of their toiletries, so I keep a small basket of our samples in the guest bathroom for them to take and use.


  7. Thrifty Military Mommy


    As always, Andrea, great ideas. I actually hadn’t known what to do with all of my samples until you posted this one. Thanks again, as usual 😉


  8. kristin


    When my kids were itty bitty we started taking them to the dentist with us, to get them used to the noise and being there. With every visit they got their own goodie bag of kid tooth paste and a brush and I stockpiled them until they were old enough to use them. Now I have a years supply of “mini” kids toothpaste. And my husband and I were able to go an entire year using just the sample sized adult tooth paste as well.


  9. Abra


    I am also curious to know how you get so many sample products with coupons. It seems companies are excluding trial sizes more & more. Of course, you can get some cool freebies and those are usually sample size. Thanks for sharing the ideas!


  10. Julie


    Last year my husband traveled a lot and he collected all the hotel soaps, shampoos, etc. at Christmas we always do a Chinese auction with my extended family, so this year we brought a 35 lb box of “goodies.” it was hilarious when my aunt opened it. They did put it to good use though. My cousin is in college and they took it to her dorm and gave it to her RA to have on hand for when the students need something. 🙂


  11. Katie


    Which coupon blogs do you follow that yield the best coupons for sample size products?