Monday, October 4, 2010

50 Ways to Get Free Stuff

We have had the opportunity in just a short few days to get many free things while we have been here in a new city which got me thinking about how many free things people can get on a regular basis if you just look around. Here's some ideas:
  1. Dumpster dive. You can come up with everything from food (I haven't tried this) to furniture and other items (I got a great desk this way).
  2. Free food samples at Costco (membership card sometimes required--or just walk in with another member).
  3. Many times people will leave stuff by the side of the road with a "free" sign on it. Hubby found a mountain bike with just such a sign, cleaned it up, and sold it on CraigsList. Yesterday, we saw people moving all of their stuff out of their house and when we went by in the evening, the leftover stuff was sitting by the curb with a big FREE sign on it.
  4. Community meetings often provide free snacks as an enticement for people to show up.
  5. Churches usually have free food of some sort after the service.
  6. Museums often have free entry nights.
  7. Community festivals often have free entry and free entertainment. We were walking down the road in Dacula, GA yesterday and came upon a tiny community event which featured free entertainment (those young pageant girls could really sing!) and free demonstrations of old time farm life.
  8. Community transit systems, usually in larger cities, often have "free ride" areas.
  9. A glass of water is often free at restaurants (which will save you $2 to $4 off the cost of ordering a beverage).
  10. Coupons found in your local newspaper or online often get you free products.
  11. Complaining can get you a free product. I have done this everywhere from Starbucks (my frap was practically melted before they gave it to me) to restaurants (my order was wrong or not cooked properly) to hotels (we were upgraded to a suite at the Palms in Vegas because we were disappointed with our room) and received wonderful free things (a great way for companies to keep their customers happy and coming back).
  12. If friends or family know you like hand-me-downs, you are more than likely to get lots of free clothing and other stuff from them.
  13. Vaccinations are given away free a couple of times a year through our local Health District office.
  14. Community events such as fairs, health fairs, and parades often have plenty of vendors who give away product samples (we have collected everything from condoms to T shirts to beverages to pens to Frisbees to mouse pads to bracelets to key chains and much more at these kinds of events).
  15. Free fire wood can be yours for the taking if you clean up downed trees (depending on the regulations of your area).
  16. Natural things to use for crafts can be found laying around on the ground (leaves, shells, sticks, etc).
  17. Some people enjoy wedding crashing, mainly for the free food and entertainment.
  18. Free software is available online (among my favorites: AVG, Open Office, and Onmi Format 995).
  19. Free personal websites can be had online at Blogger, FaceBook, etc.
  20. Free communication programs can also be found online at Skype and Chikka.
  21. Scholarships can provide free education for you--these can pay for everything from one class to an entire four-year degree.
  22. We've received a number of free items from utility companies (low flow shower heads, low flow faucets, etc).
  23. Our local fire department offers free CPR classes and free smoke detectors.
  24. Libraries offer a plethora of free stuff--everything from books, music, and movies to free internet and story time for the kids.
  25. I love free internet access. More and more places are offering this valuable service for free.
  26. Free help from your friends. We have friends who have provided us all kinds of free services (of course we return the favor), including fixing our car, towing a dead car, dental work, helping with building projects, etc.
  27. Free gambling. Hubby likes to play poker but doesn't like spending much money on this so he plays for free online and, yesterday, he played some sort of a tournament at a bar with the guys and won a $30 voucher for food, yet he didn't have to spend anything to enter the game.
  28. Casinos often offer free beverages.
  29. Nightclubs sometimes offer free dance lessons and free entry before a certain time at night.
  30. Banks offer free checking and savings accounts.
  31. Send in a rave. There has been more than a few times I have mailed a letter to a company telling them how great I thought their product was and received coupons for free items from them in the mail.
  32. Reality shows with great grand prizes are often free to enter, such as Amazing Race and Survivor.
  33. If you don't need the degree, you can "attend" free university classes online.
  34. Check your favorite restaurant for free promotions. Famous Daves offers a free lunch to people named Dave once a year. Baskin Robbins provides free ice cream cones once a year. Other restaurants offer free food on a random basis.
  35. AM/FM radio is still free!
  36. Many community health events provide free medical testing for things such as diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Some even offer free mammograms and PAP tests for women.
  37. Community parks and playgrounds are a great way to entertain the kids.
  38. Walking is a great free way to exercise.
  39. Some farmers open their fields free to gleaners after the main harvest is finished.
  40. Our county fair has a couple of free entry days and free activities for the kids.
  41. Window shopping is free, and so is trying on beautiful new clothes. Just don't buy anything!
  42. Our local home improvement store has free lessons on Saturdays for adults and kids which teach you a variety of "do it yourself" skills.
  43. College campuses often have free activities going on. Check the online student newspaper or the bulletin board for info.
  44. Our local military bases also have lots of free things going on, some just for those with base access but other events are open to the general public.
  45. Our local mall has a few annual events where there are lots of community vendors, food samples, and handouts, all free.
  46. Our community hosts "music on the pier" events each summer which provide a nice evening of entertainment that is totally free.
  47. If you like the outdoors, the US National Park Service offers free admission to the national parks a couple of times a year.
  48. Our county and state also offers "free fishing" days where you can go fishing without having to purchase a license which is usually required.
  49. Depending on where you live, camping can be a great free way to travel. Just pull over to the side of the road and set up camp.
  50. Our county garbage dump has one free day a year when you can dump big things that usually cost a lot to get rid of, like refrigerators, couches, etc.

I'm sure there is lots more free stuff to be had, depending on where you live. As we are trying to contain costs as much as possible during this vacation, you can bet that anything with a "free" sign on it is going to get our attention!

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