How to Get Free Stuff

Three Methods:Getting Free SamplesGetting Free FoodGetting Free Entertainment

Everyone loves a deal, and what's a better deal than totally free stuff? Free samples, free food, and free entertainment are all available to people who know how to look in the right places. Stop paying unnecessary prices for things that you can get free elsewhere. Start looking in the right places and spend less.

Method 1
Getting Free Samples

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    Sign up for mailing lists to get free promotions. If you want to receive free samples of new products from your favorite companies or retailers, the best way to make sure you never miss out is to sign up for their mailing lists. It's tough to keep track of all the different products available without helpful reminders, which is why online mailing lists help to keep you up to date on the newest offerings and deals that companies offer to try to hook consumers.
    • Generally, you might get a free coupon, or a code that will allow you to to redeem for a free sample of the new product. You might have to jump through a few hoops, but there'll be free stuff at the end of it.
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    Take online surveys. Increasingly, online start-ups and other companies know the value of consumer data, and are willing to pay for it with prizes and cash compensation. One cool new way to get free stuff is to take online surveys that will take up a bit of your time, pick your brain, and give you some free stuff at the end, usually in the form of a gift card or other free company merchandise.
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    Keep an eye out for coupons. Looking for buy one-get one coupons or totally free coupons in the weekly mailers at grocery stores, retail stores, and other places is a great way to nab free swag. Clip free coupons and keep them in separate envelopes, marked by expiration date to make sure you can redeem as much free stuff as possible. This is a common way of marketing new products to consumers. Might as well take advantage!
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    Complain about a product. While it might take some acting, one of the oldest ways of getting stuff for free is to straight-up complain to someone in charge. Most of the time, rather than trying to reason with grumpy customers or offer refunds, it's in the best interest of most retail managers to just offer some free stuff and hope the problems goes away. If you're wiling to complain to perfect strangers, you stand a good chance of getting something for free.
    • If you're at a store, ask to see the manager and come up with a good reason that your product was unacceptable and perhaps dangerous. "I didn't like it" or "It didn't fit" isn't a good enough reason. If it's food, it's always best to go the insect or hair route. Bring up the possibility of calling the health inspector. You'll have so many gift cards you'll need another wallet.
    • If you get a product you're genuinely dissatisfied with when you get home, call the customer service number for the corporation or call the store directly and ask to speak with the manager. Explain your problem with the product, and most of the time you'll be offered recompense without having to ask.
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    Just ask. If you're at the store and want a sample of food, perfume, or some other type of product, most retailers are more than happy to offer them, especially if you're already interested in buying. Find a salesperson and let them know that you're interested in a particularly product, and ask if you could try a sample. Most good stores will offer samples outright, but you can always ask.
    • Remember, just because you've gotten a sample puts you under no obligation to make a purchase. You might be considered an annoying customer, but it's your money.

Method 2
Getting Free Food

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    Get free coffee at the bank. Free food and drink is available sometimes in the most unlikely places. Most big banks offer free coffee in the lobby, which you can load up on quickly and high-tail it out of there. If someone asks if you need help, say that you've got a check from a different bank that you need to deposit and you want to know if you can deposit it here. When the employee asks if you're a member, say no. No transaction required.
    • You can also get free coffee at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Caribou Coffee by enrolling in their rewards program, which is free. Sign up, print the coupon, and redeem it at the store for some coffee on the house.
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    Hit up the continental breakfast with the "other" guests. Time to polish off your acting skills again. Find a good hotel chain in your area and locate the continental breakfast room for a free pastry, piece of fruit, and maybe even a waffle if you're lucky. While some hotels keep the breakfast locked away in a room you've got to access with a key card, most of them have the breakfast out in the open, making it easily available to anyone who looks the part.
    • Don't worry too much about getting caught. Because most guests don't stay longer than a day, and because the front desk employee turns over each morning, it's unlikely you'll be caught. While it's not illegal, it's better to just leave quietly if someone catches you and threatens the cops. There's a difference between "against the law" and "against corporate rules." Still, don't make a scene.
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    Hit up the farmers' market just before closing time. One of the biggest secrets about farmers' markets is that most of the vendors are itching to get rid of everything before they have to pack back up and head home. Do a quick sweep through the market to see what looks good, then wait to approach any of the booths until 10 or 15 minutes before the end of the day. The less produce the vendors have to lug back, the better. Ask about two for one deals or whether or not they've got any overripe stuff to get rid of.
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    Head to a street festival for samples. Street fairs and other festivals will commonly offer free samples to try to hook passers-by, and these locations are also great places to nab a free energy drink, energy bar, or other new products, which will often send employees to give out free stuff to try to drum up interest in the products. Look for people carrying backpacks full of Red Bull, Yoo-hoo, or Luna Bars.
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    Get free tastes. Wine, beer, chocolate, fresh produce, and lots of other types of high-end goods are commonly given out as samples for no cost at retail locations. The presumption is that you’ll love it so much you’ll buy something for a hefty price tag, but there’s no contract involved, and no shame. Try everything and tell them you'll think about it.
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    Check the trash behind grocery outlets. If you're willing to get dirty, head to the alley behind a grocery store and find the dumpster. Legally, restaurants, grocery stores, and other food outlets are required to throw out a crazy amount of perfectly-edible food. It requires some digging (literally), but finding "out of date" canned goods and partially-bruised produce can be a great way of nabbing free food. Avoid meat and dairy.
    • In some places, this technically counts as trespassing, if you're wandering into or onto the property of the business. Be discreet and be careful.
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    Learn to recognize edible plants and other foragable food. If you're a fan of nature walks and free produce, learning to recognize edible plants in your area can be a great way of getting outside and enjoying the wider world, as well as finding free food. Greens, berries, and nuts are available if you know where to look. Invest in a good field guide in your area and learn to recognize the local edibles. Wash things thoroughly, make sure you're not wandering onto private property, and you'll be in good shape.
    • Euell Gibbons, a survivalist and writer, lived primarily off of foraged food for the majority of his life, and not just in places like Hawaii. He foraged extensively in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Ohio, finding plenty of unexpected food to sustain him. Wherever you live, there's food to be had.

Method 3
Getting Free Entertainment

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    Use free Wi-Fi connections. If you're paying for the Internet, but aren't necessarily a heavy user, there's probably an easier way to watch YouTube and check your email. Most coffee shops and an increasing number of other retail locations offer free Wi-Fi to customers, and some towns are even undertaking free public Wi-Fi projects. Likewise, most libraries have free Internet connections that you can use. Stop draining your paycheck with Internet subscriptions you could get elsewhere for free.
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    Pick up free newspapers. If you're paying for the paper, stop. Getting access to the newspaper for free, or getting some variety of reading material doesn't require turning over your hard-earned money.
    • College campuses regularly make newspapers available in the entryways of certain buildings. They're supposed to be for students, but public campuses are easy to walk around. Get the New York Times for free, or the campus paper.
    • Free weeklies that focus primarily on arts and entertainment, or other niche markets, are available in most larger towns. Pick them up for free on the street, or in coffee shops, record stores, and other venues.
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    Go to the library. The best place for free entertainment has to be the public library. From Wi-Fi to the daily newspaper, you can get almost anything you want for free at the library. Check out the latest DVDs without having to pay for them, read the current issues of your favorite magazines, newspapers, and books, and check out free CDs and upload them to your computer so you can keep them on your iPod. Free stuff, as long as you return it on time.
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    Download free music. Downloading music for free doesn't have to be illegal, or throw you into the deep water of the shady parts of the internet. Learning to find free legal downloads is a great way of learning about new groups and hearing new stuff on the cheap.
    • Check out Bandcamp and Soundcloud for free singles, free downloads, and whole albums available for pay what you want plans. Enter zero and download albums for free.
    • If you're a regular user of YouTube when you want to hear a song, you can download the audio files from YouTube videos quickly with a freeware client like YouTube to MP3 or other free programs that isolate the audio and download it to your computer.
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    Watch TV in public. Got a big cable bill every month? Cancel it. Head to coffee shops or bars to watch the big game, or other places where the TV is on all the time. Watch TV while you're doing other things in public and you won't have to worry about paying for it at home. If you have access to the internet, watch your favorite programs on Hulu or other online venues for free instead of paying for 300 channels with nothing on.
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    Wait until closing time at venues. Getting in to a show for free? Why not! While it’s not the most reliable way of getting into an event (at least compared to actually buying a ticket), lots of places like zoos, museums, festivals and concerts will become a bit lazier about guarding the door in the last 20 or 30 minutes before the show's over. Some places, if you ask about tickets, might even just let you go in. Can't hurt to ask.
    • If you hear about an outdoor concert, don't bother with a ticket. Bring some lawn chairs and set up right on the other side of the fence. Free tunes on a nice night? Who cares if you can't see the stage.


  • If you visit certain shops often, you will find that they pop a sample into your bag without being asked.
  • Make sure you always smile when asking for a sample, a sullen face will not get you anything.
  • People who work at beauty shops might have free samples if you ask nicely. Do not visit one place too often or it may annoy the workers.


  • Never ask for a sample more than twice in a short space of time. It looks rude, and ungrateful.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Budgeting