Ten Things You Really Don't Need to Pay For
Entertainment for Free (Of course a donation would be appreciated)
Can You Afford to Waste Your Money?
If you feel that a few extra dollars in your wallet would come in handy, the following are some of the ways in which you can save on basic everyday needs as well as some of those things that are nice-to-have. Some of these ideas are well known but worth a reminder and some you might not have thought of. Yet. There are a truly amazing amount of goods and services to be had for free, if only you look around a little.
Free furniture is one of the easiest "freebies" around. Personally I have a much loved leather lounge suite that that was happily donated by the previous owners when they mentioned they were going to throw it out. While I understand that some people regard second hand furniture in a negative light, you have to ask the question. If second hand furniture is bad, why then are antiques popular when they have generally passed through the hands of multiple owners? So, if you are comfortable with the idea of second hand furniture, and considering the price tag of free, here are some options:
1. The good old standbys, Craigslist and Gumtree, both have listings of free furniture or you can of course put in your own ad. You have to be prepared to collect the furniture.
2. Freecycle.org - find a group close to you, sign up and you can choose free items. You can also list those you might like to unload. It's like the name says - recycling for free.
3. Liberalestates operates on a similar principle to freecycle, hosting offers and requests for free items to support reduction, reusability and recycling.
4. Sidewalk furniture. The principle is that people leave items they don't want out on the sidewalk in the hope that they will be collected by someone who does want them. Mostly it works.
2. Wrapping Paper
You have to buy it right? What about using something else instead, something you already have. For example, save the wrapping from your own gifts and reuse it. A child's drawing is a very personal wrapping paper for a gift. Newspaper or brown paper and string has a certain casual charm. Save small boxes and decorate them with paints or cutouts from magazines. Old linen, clothes and leftover fabric can be repurposed for wrapping gifts with minimal skills in sewing.
3. Phone Calls
Skype is one option. You can call other Skype users for free from your computer. You can also call them free from your mobile if you are in a free wifi zone. There are other options such as Windows Live Messenger, Google Voice and Yahoo Voice. Some require particular equipment and software downloads and the free service offers vary according to the country so it's worth checking what's needed and what particular services you get for free.
This one is really obvious but everywhere I go I see people with bought bottled water. If you live somewhere that the tap water is unsafe, then you don't have a lot of options. If however the tap water where you live is drinkable (or can be made so with a filter) then why not buy a reusable drink bottle, fill that with water and carry it with you? Public drinking fountains are another option - water being a basic human need, there are sometimes water fountains in major public areas and of course to find them there is an appropriate app.
There are numerous places to find free wifi. Libraries, coffee shops, railway stations, airports as well as some hotels and retailers. Many organisations have recognized that a free wifi service is a strong inducement for customers to frequent their venue, stay a while and hopefully buy and use more of their goods and services. This article provides some useful information. Some cities in the US are offering free wifi however almost anywhere in the world there will be some free wifi on offer.
Books you can borrow from your friends, and also from the library. Want the latest bestseller? Our local library will buy books (within reason) according to customer requests. If they don't have a book they can often order it in from other library branches. For free e-books there are multiple options, Project Gutenburg and The Online Books Page being a couple of examples.
7. Fresh Herbs
If you've got as much as a windowsill, you can grow at least some parsley and mint. If you have a balcony and some sunshine you can grow much more. This book by Indira Naidoo is an example of making the most of a small space to grow herbs, fruit and vegetables.
Homegrown Herbs are Delicious and Free
Yes, you can do them yourself. A slightly safer option is to visit the nearest hairdressing training school and offering yourself as a model. There are also sometimes ads in Gumtree for people to get free cuts and colors as a model for hairdressing practical examinations.
For something a little different you can be part of a tv studio audience in the US, UK and anywhere in the world really where the television station is looking for a bunch of people to fill up the seats. Tickets are usually free, though they can be hard to get for really popular shows (and ones where you might also be a contestant and win something).
Become a Volunteer. You could help out at sporting events, at zoos, historical sites, at conferences, film festivals or the local theatre company. The possibilities are endless, you're making a contribution, meeting people and being entertained as well.
Every city has some form of free entertainment. This might be museums, art galleries, musical events, community festivals, activities at the library or even street theatre. Check in newspapers, magazines and online for local events.