TurboTax / Tax Calculators & Tips / All Tax Guides / General Tax Tips / Tapping Your Inner Freeloader: 11 Tried and True Tips to Get Things Free

Tapping Your Inner Freeloader: 11 Tried and True Tips to Get Things Free

Updated for Tax Year 2016


Looking to get stuff for free? Become the ultimate Freeloader with these 11 tried and true tips. Learn how to score hookups from your friends, get free music, and score free money with our guide to freeloading.

1. Free Music

01-musicMany companies offer free downloads ... no strings attached. Few people realize that Amazon has offered free MP3 downloads for a while. Even MTV offers a few select free downloads that are updated monthly. If you are just looking for a great online playlist that can be customized to your liking, try Pandora.com or last.fm. All of these options are 100% free and can bring you the tunes that you want without having to spend a dime!

2. Free Movies & TV

02-moviesThe Internet has made it possible to easily (and legally) download full length programs and movies free of charge. So instead of paying high rental fees, or ridiculous cable television subscriptions, watch online at sites like Hulu.com, where you can legally watch hundreds of network television programs and full length movies.

The majority of cable stations offer full episodes of their main shows. These do feature commercials, but don’t feature any cable bills. A few cable stations that offer full episodes of their original programming:

3. Getting Free Hookups from Your Friends

03-friendsIf you think about your friends, you probably have a few that work at jobs that provide them with some really great perks. Usually they are more than happy to share these perks, especially if you can reciprocate.

Here are a few examples: 

  • Radio Industry: Know anyone that works at a local radio station or college station? Many artists give out promotional copies of albums before the full album is released. Stations usually give them away. Many of the copies have special remixes and other tracks that might not be on the full album.
  • Bouncers: Bouncers are often given a great deal of discretion on who they charge covers, and are usually more than happy to let their friends in for free.
  • Clothing Retail: Friends who work in retail clothing get a sizeable employee discount. Most stores have a special “Friends and Family” discount that can save you some dough.
  • Auto Industry: Having a friend who can demystify buying or repairing a car can easily save you thousands of dollars. With a friend in the biz, you can be sure you aren't being scammed.

4. Free Live Entertainment

04-jambaseThere are often many opportunities for great live local entertainment that is free or extremely cheap. Check out Jambase.com for local musical acts in your area. Local theater is also an excellent opportunity for free or cheap entertainment. Community theaters often put on well-known plays, with very talented actors and actresses, so give them your support and have a great time in the process.

5. Free Prizes From Contests

05-contestDid you know that you can use the power of the Internet to find contests that you can actually win? Try searching for "contest" using Google's Blog Search . Local college radio stations, company blogs and individual bloggers use contests for publicity, often times only a handful people enter these contests. Give it a shot, you will find a huge variety of prizes being offered. From free concert tickets, to iPods, to flat screen TVs.

6. Free Education

06-educationMany colleges and universities now offer their classes online, some going as far as making them freely available to the general public. While you can't earn a degree by taking these online classes, you can learn a great deal on a wide variety of topics, and maybe make yourself more marketable to employers. Here's a quick list:


7. Get Paid By the Casino

07-casinoMost casinos use incentives in the form of "free plays" or vouchers of varying amounts ($20-$100) to acquire new member players. If you can avoid the temptation of gambling, you can usually cash out these incentives and go home with some free money. Once you're a casino member, be sure to keep your eye out for future monetary incentives in the mail.

8. Free Boxes and Shipping Supplies

08-boxesThe United States Postal Service and other shipping companies will provide you with shipping material... for free. Just please be respectful and don’t create an entire FedEx furniture collection like computer programmer Jose Avila did when he created a couch, dining room table and a desk out of FedEx cartons. So if you do a lot of mailing, sell anything on eBay, or just need a few boxes USPS, FedEx and UPS offer complimentary shipping material.

9. Free Samples Galore

09-samplesCompanies are eager to send out sample products or coupons to consumers in a position to publicize their products or services. If you have a blog or own a website, write to the companies whose products you enjoy and ask for samples in exchange for a review of their products. It's a win-win situation. You get free stuff, and they get a little bit of publicity. It's part of what they do to maintain good customer relations. Don’t have a blog? Write in directly to the company and express your opinions on the company's products … many times you could receive freebies for your valuable feedback.

If you love reviewing products, Amazon offers a “Vine” program that allows the best reviewers to receive free merchandise in return for an honest unbiased review. Currently it is “invite-only,” but many reviewers have been accepted after reviewing less than 30 products. So post a thoughtful review of current items you own for your chance to score brand new items for free from Amazon!

10. One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

10-treasure-1There are several great services that eco-minded citizens use to recover products before they are hauled off. Freecycle.org is an online community of more than 6 million members that are giving and getting free stuff in their home towns. Similarly, the "free stuff" section of craigslist offers all kinds of free items including televisions, clothes, furniture, and excess building materials. Just go to yourcity.craigslist.org/zip.

11. Miscellaneous Freebies

11-free-1Other sites aggregate free stuff on a daily basis like new product offers and product samples. Some of the bigger “free stuff sites” are:


So head on over to grab your share of freebies!

Get every deduction you deserve

TurboTax Deluxe searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits so you get your maximum refund, guaranteed.

For only $54.99*
Start for Free

Looking for more information?

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.

Security is built into everything we do
Here's how
* Important Offer Details and Disclosures

  • Try for Free/Pay When You File: TurboTax online and mobile pricing is based on your tax situation and varies by product. Absolute Zero $0 federal (1040EZ/1040A) + $0 state offer only available with TurboTax Federal Free Edition; offer may change or end at any time without notice. Actual prices are determined at the time of print or e-file and are subject to change without notice. Savings and price comparisons based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Special discount offers may not be valid for mobile in-app purchases.
  • TurboTax Self-Employed ExpenseFinder: ExpenseFinder™ is available year round as a feature of QuickBooks Self-Employed (available with TurboTax Self-Employed, see the “QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed” details below.) ExpenseFinder™ expected late January (late February for mobile app). ExpenseFinder™ not available from within TurboTax Self-Employed for people with certain types of expenses and tax situations including paying contractors or employees, home office or vehicle actuals, inventory, self employed health insurance or retirement, asset depreciation, sale of property or vehicles, and farm income. Availability of historical transactions for import may vary by financial institution. Not available for all financial institutions or all credit cards.
  • QuickBooks Self-Employed Offer with TurboTax Self-Employed: File your 2016 TurboTax Self-Employed return by 4/18/17 and receive your complimentary subscription to QuickBooks Self-Employed until 4/30/18. Activation required. Sign in to QuickBooks Self-Employed by 7/15/17 via mobile app or at https://selfemployed.intuit.com/turbotax; e-mail address used for activation and sign-in. Offer valid only for new QuickBooks Self-Employed customers. See QuickBooks.com for price comparison.
    • When you use TurboTax Self-Employed to file your 2017 taxes, you will have the option to renew your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription. If you do not purchase TurboTax Self-Employed by 4/18/18, you will have the option of renewing your QuickBooks Self-Employed subscription by 4/30/18 for another year at the then-current annual subscription rate. You may cancel your subscription at any time from within the QuickBooks Self-Employed billing section.
  • Pays for itself (TurboTax Self-Employed): Estimates based on deductible business expenses calculated at the self-employment tax income rate (15%) for tax year 2016. Actual results will vary based on your tax situation.
  • Anytime, anywhere: Internet access required; standard message and data rates apply to download and use mobile app.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • TurboTax Expert Help, Tax Advice and SmartLook: Included with Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed (via phone or on-screen); not included with Federal Free Edition (but available for purchase with the Plus bundle). SmartLook on-screen help is available on a PC, laptop or the TurboTax mobile app. TurboTax experts provide general advice, customer service and product help; tax advice provided only by credentialed CPAs, enrolled agents and tax attorneys. Feature availability varies by device. State tax advice is free. Service, area of expertise, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice.
  • Tax Return Access, My Docs and My Analysis & Advice features: Access to all tax-related documents we have on file for you is available until you file your 2017 tax return or through 10/31/2018, whichever comes first. Terms and conditions may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Most Popular: TurboTax Deluxe is our most popular product among TurboTax Online users with more complex tax situations.
  • CompleteCheck: Covered under the TurboTax accurate calculations and maximum refund guarantees.
  • #1 rated online tax prep provider: Based on independent comparison of the best online tax software by TopTenReviews.com March 13, 2017.

  • TurboTax CD/Download products: Price includes tax preparation and printing of federal tax returns and free federal e-file of up to 5 federal tax returns. Additional fees apply for e-filing state returns. E-file fees do not apply to New York state returns. Savings and price comparison based on anticipated price increase expected in March. Prices subject to change without notice.
  • Fastest refund possible: Fastest tax refund with e-file and direct deposit; tax refund time frames will vary.
  • Pay for TurboTax out of your federal refund: $X.XX Refund Processing Service fee applies to this payment method. Prices are subject to change without notice. This benefit is available with TurboTax Federal products except TurboTax Business.
  • About our TurboTax Product Experts: Customer service and product support vary by time of year.
  • About our credentialed tax experts: Live tax advice via phone is included with Premier and Home & Business; fees apply for Basic and Deluxe customers. State tax advice is free. Service, experience levels, hours of operation and availability vary, and are subject to restriction and change without notice. Not available for TurboTax Business customers.
  • #1 best-selling tax software: Based on aggregated sales data for all tax year 2015 TurboTax products.
  • Data Import: Imports financial data from participating companies. Quicken and QuickBooks import not available with TurboTax installed on a Mac. Imports from Quicken (2015 and higher) and QuickBooks Desktop (2011 and higher); both Windows only. Quicken import not available for TurboTax Business. Quicken products provided by Quicken Inc., Quicken import subject to change.