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Trade shows and homeshows are one of the absolute best places to find freebies. Whether it’s an industry-specific trade show like for model railroading or farm equipment, there are usually lots of vendors offering samples, or branded freebies to people at the home show. Most of these events are free, and even the top ones have just a $5 entrance fee or so, which will more than cover the free stuff.
Here’s some of our favorite things we’ve gotten for free at these shows:
-Golf gear: for some reason, there’s an unspoken rule about trade shows that golf ones always have the best gear. You wouldn’t believe the hauls we’ve had, from golf tees, to free caps, to actual rangefinders. The cool thing about those is that even though they’re expensive, companies want someone to be on the course showing one off. That’s supposed to drive up their sales in the long run. But as far as you’re concerned, you’re ending up with one of the best on the market for free. Just put on your best golf enthusiast face, and pretend you're an important person who writes lots of laser rangefinder reviews. It’s also a good bet that you’ll get free rounds at local courses, or at least significant discounts.
-Tools: Home shows especially are absolutely full of tools. Now, you’re not going to get a full power drill for free, but you’re almost guaranteed to find free T-squares, edges, tape measures, wrenches, and handy multitools. If you can put up with a bit of branding, you can do pretty well outfitting your toolbox for free.
-Gadgets: Home shows are also great places to find nifty gadgets that you wouldn’t necessarily want to spend money on, but don’t mind owning. We’ve found half a million random kitchen doohickeys, from avocado “keepers” to veggie peelers, to those little rings you put around eggs to make breakfast sandwiches. There’s also a whole range of weird cleaners and tools for cars and houses, usually free to sample.
-Air fresheners: say no more. There are SO MANY air fresheners out there, just waiting to be had.
-Shoe horns, nail files, and back scratchers: These should probably go in the gadget category, but for some reason we see literally thousands of these at homeshows and variety fairs. They seem to be a favorite for local companies looking to get their brand out there. Again, this isn’t stuff you necessarily need, but who cares? It's free!
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