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How to Get Free Stuff with Minimal Effort

Updated on July 27, 2009

How do you get things without having to pay for them? No... nothing criminal! Something legal... very legal, and it's not very difficult to do. If anything, it takes time. This, you will find, is time very well worth your while. I'm talking about how we, as consumers, can go about obtaining goods and services for free!

The first place you can look for free stuff, is within your own circle of friends and family. Put the word out that you need/desire a certain item. For instance... maybe you need another sofa, because the one you currently have is falling apart. You call mom and let her know you're searching for a sofa... maybe something someone's getting rid of or giving away. When you see your sister, the next night, for dinner, make sure you mention it to her, as well. Don't overlook people in the community... people you have an ongoing, working relationship with. Maybe you chat with your mailman and even know him by name. You could mention to him that you're looking for a sofa (nothing fancy), but that it must be free. Ask your hairdresser. Hairdresser's are the epitome of communication! The same holds true for most other people who deal with the public... librarians, restaurant workers, city and government employees, and the list goes on and on.

Another thing you can do, is put a free ad in the newspaper or other periodical, such as... The Pennysaver (in our town, it's called The Bulletin Board), and other such publications. There are many people who buy these, just to see what's in them or to see what people need (or, both). They are a very good resource for low-no-income individuals. You will find the same things in here that you would in a store... clothing, books, t.v.s, computers, vcr's, dvd's, wedding dresses and other, related supplies, dishes, jewelry- you name it! It's in there.

After checking these, two resources, you can begin to look for freebies on the internet. Not only is this fun (like a treasure hunt;), but can really pay off- in a big way!- in the end. There are several places, on the web, you can check for freebies. You can do a random search for what you're looking for... i.e. "free food, freebies, free stuff, free books, free downloads, free computer software, etc." You will be surprised at how many things you will find just using this approach, alone! Those of you who aren't too familiar with online freebies... beware. Sometimes "freebies" aren't always free. If you see the words Step 2 on the page, it is NOT a free offer... even if it says so. Step 2 offers require you to submit all your personal information, then will switch to a second page where you will be required to join a club or a service, or otherwise purchase a product... all in an effort to get a "freebie." Don't mess with those.

You will also find "hidden" or tricky offers, that just sound too good to be true. If it says, "Your 24 kt. gold diamond ring is FREE... ACT NOW," etc... more than likely, this is FAR from a free offer. Don't waste time, or energy, filling out forms for these things, as well. Much of what you will find online, for free, will include the following:

product samples (food, drink, vitamins, pencils, erasers, pens, markers, paper, candy, coffee, tea, paints, crayons, deodorant, lotions, make-up, kids stuff, health/medical items/literature, laundry detergent/fabric softener, etc.)


games (video and board)

promotional items (water bottles, coffee mugs, pencils, hats, flags, keyrings, etc.)

magazines and magazine subscriptions (including, but not limited to: Elle, Woman's Day, Muscle and Fitness, Men's Health, Elle Decor, Living the Country Life, LEGO, Parents, SPIN, Woman, Teen Vogue, etc.)

books (parenting, fiction, non-fiction, children's, coloring, activity, historical, religious, popular)

I know, there is sooo much I am leaving out, but those are the primary categories I can recall. It would, literally, take DAYS for me to tell you everything I have gotten free! For most of the offers listed, all you have to do is, click on the link in the email, post, forum, etc., which takes you to the site where the freebie offer is located. You will then read what it says to do to qualify for the freebie. Most times, it's just a matter of filling out you name, address, email address, phone number (unless you want bombarded with calls, I would not put my real phone number) and, sometimes... age, income level, whether you have kids or not, etc. Either way, it's usually quite simple. Many times, after you submit your form, it will say that they are sending you a confirmation email and you must click on the confirmation link in order to process your request. So, if that's the case, be sure you keep and eye on your email, because if you don't click the link, your order will not be processed.

Another good way to locate freebies online, is to join a freebie group (or two, or five;) and they will post freebies in the group messages. Like freebies, freebie groups can be great, or bad... depending on who runs the group and what freebies they post. If you join a dud, simply unsubscribe and join another one. It's that simple!

Not to be outdone by freebie groups, are freebie forums. Forums are like a huge bulletin board where members of the forum can post freebies, offers, deals, links to coupons, etc. There are several forums which I use, but one of the first I came across (and, the best;), is FatWallet freebie forums. The email address for FatWallet is

Another, excellent resource for free stuff, is Freecycle. If you haven't heard of, or don't know about, Freecycle... listen up! Freecycle has groups all over the United States, so... chances are, there's one in your area! Go to the Freecycle's main site to see if there is a group in your area. If so, join the group. I belong to a Freecycle group, and it covers an entire county. When you join your, local group... people will postĀ items they have to offer. You can also post items you want. Be reasonable in your wants. Some people are not, and that can be annoying to the members who are being reasonable. Here is just a small list of some of the most recent postings to our group:


OFFER: beagle dog- good with kids

OFFER: 20" woman's bike- needs new tires

WANTED: Cozy Coupe kid's car

WANTED: t.v.

WANTED: computer (is o.k. if it doesn't work)

OFFER: leftover yard sale items

OFFER: educational materials

WANTED: dining room set

Hopefully, that will give you some idea of the things people post.

One, other, often overlooked, freebie resource, is... are you ready?... the TRASH! Yes, I said it! The garbage. Now... by trash/garbage, I do NOT mean stuff that's covered with icky, gooey, nasty, moldy cheese, splatters of tomato sauce or peanut butter that reeks like Jimmy's gym socks! Not at all!!! What I'm referring to, is... when people have put out, let's say, a couch or a blender, or a box of books, then- once they put it out for the trash man- it's usually fair game. If it's something you see they've put out, but it's closer to their house, and you just don't feel comfortable taking it, by all means, walk up to the door, knock and ask if it's something they're getting rid of. If so, tell them you'd be more than happy to take it off their hands. I would say, about 99% of the time, you'll take it home!

This, last suggestion is ONLY for those of you who are comfortable with this option. Some people are not, and that's o.k. It's called... dumpster diving! Yes... it's just what you think;) People actually go out to dumpsters (behind shops, stores, offices, etc.) and look through the containers to see what's available. Many people either know or ask an employee of the store (or they may have simply observed this on their own) when the trash is taken out. Let's take Long John Silver's (seafood restaurant), for instance. You may know that someone takes the trash out, nightly, from 6:30-6:40p.m. Equipped with that knowledge, you want to be certain you're in the vicinity, of the restaurant, at that time. That way, most of what is in the "trash" will be somewhat fresh and clean. As soon as the employee leaves, simply walk up to the dumpster and obtain the bag. All you have to do is open the top of the bag to see what's inside. Sometimes, you will hit pay-dirt! Other times, it will be trash.

Most stores are putting up (or have already put up) fences or gates with padlocks, so no one- except for an employee with a key- has access to the "trash." In these instances, you may be able to hang around for the employee to bring out the trash and nicely inquire what's inside the bag. If he/she won't tell you, drop it. It's not worth causing a scene over. However, if you are able to discover its contents/or even see what's inside, tell the employee that you will take the "trash" with you... as you are actually going to save what's inside. Again, they may/may not comply, and if not... let it go. If so, you've done it again;)

I was once sitting in the parking lot of a local Dollar store, waiting for my sister to come out. I don't know why, exactly, but something told me to go over to the dumpster and just look inside. Boy, am I glad I did! Inside the dumpster sat a very neat-looking box. The top was closed, so I opened it up and looked inside. There was about half a box of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, toothpastes, razors, shaving cream, after shave, etc.!!!!! I could not believe it, but... guess what? That was one load of freebies that went right home with us;)

As you become more and more experienced at requesting and obtaining freebies, you will learn new ways of getting free stuff. Have fun, and... happy hunting=)


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