Coupon Mom: How to Get Free Coupons in the Mail
There are many different ways to get coupons. You can buy Sunday newspapers, you can print them off of the Internet, and you can even find them attached to products themselves. One of the best ways to get coupons, however, is surprisingly little known. You can write directly to the manufacturer and compliment their product and nine times out of ten they send you coupons. Some of these coupons are even for free products! Here is a guide to finding companies to write, what to write, and what to expect in return.
Writing companies can be fun and rewarding. I have gotten so many interesting things in the mail by doing this! I have been sent free razors, a baby toy, cat food, and coupons for so many free items I can’t even keep track any more! I have not asked for any of it either, and I will talk more about that in a bit. I wrote Ziplock the other day to ask them if their new vacuum seal product was as good as a Foodsaver. They sent me a coupon for free Ziploc VersaGlass products. Not exactly the answer I was looking for, but still awesome!
Where to Find Manufacturers to Write
There are several different ways to decide which companies to write. I have a friend who each day goes into her coupon binder and pulls out three or four coupons and writes to those manufacturers. This works well because she put those coupons in her binder for a reason—she likes those products and would like to get them for cheap or free. On a notepad she then writes down which companies she wrote and on what day. When she receives something, she also marks that down.
When I first started out, I chose my companies by what I had in my house. I started in the kitchen and worked my way through each room of my house. I wrote six companies a day because that seems like a good, even number. I would open my freezer, or pantry, or snack cupboard and choose six items I liked—or didn’t like. I would make a note of the companies, being careful not to choose products made by the same manufacturer, and go write them. I logged mine in a word document, using a table.
Earlier this year I stumbled across a blog that had a database of companies, down to links directly to their “contact” pages on their site. This was awesome! It makes it much easier to write to companies that aren’t in my kitchen or bathroom or closet. She also made the databases downloadable in several different formats—Word, Excel, PDF, and Google Docs. I downloaded the excel one and now enter what date I have emailed the company and I intend to start logging what I have gotten from them but I have been much too lazy.
To get one of these databases, click here. Keep in mind that this was made quite some time ago and as companies change their websites some links may not work. Most do though, and it is still a great starting point. Once you know the company it is not very difficult to Google and find that particular manufacturer’s email form.
What to Write
Now that you know whom to write, what do you write? Let me say this first, I never ask for free items or coupons. I personally find this rude that I should expect a company to give me something just because I say something nice to them. This is a personal choice, I just feel better about myself and less greedy for doing it this way.
You can write a manufacturer about every four to six months and they will (likely) send you products. Any sooner than that and you are just going to get ignored. If you keep good records, including the date and what you have received you will know who you want to write again when the time rolls around.
For each company I try to do three things: I thank them for making a quality product, I tell them what I like, and I try to relate an anecdote if I can think of one. If I have a complaint, I do it very politely and honestly. I never complain without an actual reason. I also try to tell them something good about the product when I complain even if it is as small as “It looks nice”. Here are several examples of letters I have written to companies.
To: Got2B Hair Products
Hi! I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for making your Luster Smoothing Lotion. This stuff does wonders on my hair! I have a problem that when I pull my hair back into a ponytail, little hairs stick up everywhere. I keep this by my hairbrush and once I am done styling I smooth it over my head and everything stays in place! It is so much better than hairspray that makes my hair all crunchy. The pump is great as well so that I don’t even have to pick up the bottle. Thanks again!!
To: Green Giant
Hello there, I just wanted to drop you a note and say thank you for making your Green Giant SteamFresh varieties, particularly the broccoli and cheese one. These are so easy to use, and I love that I can store them in my deep freezer and just pull one out when my meals need an extra side. I like the cheese one because we love broccoli and cheese but I hate cleaning the cheese off of the side of the pan afterward. This way there is no mess to clean up afterward! Thanks for a quick and easy product!
And here is an actual one that I complained about:
I just wanted to drop you a note about your Secret Gel Deodorant. I bought this deodorant rather than my usual one because it promised better things than the regular Secret deodorant. While it lived up to most of its promises, there was a problem. The gel is messy, and doesn’t dispense correctly. Sometimes I will get no gel, other times a huge glob will shoot up and my underarm becomes sticky. It smells great though; if this scent were in a stick I would definitely buy it. I do like that it stays completely clear, I just wish it wasn’t so messy. Thank you for your time.
Just as a side note to that last letter, Secret sent me a coupon for a free deodorant to replace the bad one. Complaining politely works just as well as complaining in an angry fashion.
What to Include in Your Letter
When you write a company to complain, be sure to have the product handy. Include as much information as you can, including the UPS number and the product code. This gives credibility to your complaint (A lot of people, unfortunately, complain erroneously just to get free things) and also lets the manufacturer know if there is a problem with a whole batch. Several different complaints and they may recall the item. Be as detailed as you can with your complaint, but don’t ramble on and on about how you hate it. If your actual problems are hidden in between a dozen comments like “this is stupid” and “I will never go near this product again!” then they may not get the actual point. We want the product to get better!
Even when you are writing a compliment try to include the product UPC and manufacturer code if you have one. If the company sees you actually buy their item you might get better coupons. I have seen a difference in what coupons companies send out. My friend and I both wrote a company in the same week. She included a product code; I was in a hurry and did not. She got three coupons for free products, I got three .50 cents off coupons. Lesson learned there.
Do you have photos that include the product? Sometimes a company will give you the opportunity to upload a photo. I imagine this is mostly for product complaints, but I have uploaded a few photos of their item at a barbecue or a birthday party. I have received free coupons each time I did this. Not fail-proof, but something to think about if you happen to have a photo anyhow.
It's Fun to Get Things in the Mail!
So in review, you can find manufacturers to write in your coupon binder, in your house, or in a database. Consider not asking for coupons but instead complimenting the product. Tell them how much your kid loves having Buzz Lightyear on their diaper. Or how your exhausted husband loves their frozen lasagna when he comes home from work. Complain only when you have a reason to. Keep your letters reasonably short, there are real people reading them.
Now, go out and get writing! Don’t make yourself crazy writing a hundred in one day. Choose three or six and do a few each day. It’s fun to get things in the mail!