Tapping Your Inner Freeloader: 11 Tried and True Tips to Get Things Free
Many 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!
The 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:
If 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.
There 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.
Did 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.
Many 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:
- University of Washington : Greek mythology, American Revolution, Heroic Fantasy and more.
- University of Nebraska : Economics
- Michigan State University : Sign Language
- Covenant Seminary : Theology
- Whatcom Community College : Mathematics
- Carnegie Mellon : Biology, Causal Reasoning, Statistics, and more
- Stanford : Computer Science
- Full List
Most 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.
The 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.
Companies 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!
There 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.
Other 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!