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How To Get Free Stuff

Updated on February 8, 2016
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Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

How To Get Free Stuff!
How To Get Free Stuff! | Source

How To Get Free Stuff!

If you are reading this, you are clearly interested in getting free stuff. How do you get free stuff? One way to track down good free stuff is to understand why people give away free stuff.

Why Do People Give Away Free Stuff?

Free Samples

Businesses often give out free samples of their products with the goal of finding new customers. People are very receptive to trying out free samples, and they just might start buying the product. Another reason that businesses give out free samples is to build loyalty. It creates a strong positive perception when a customer perceives that they got something of value from a business. They are likely to come back and do more business.

Make-up For Mistakes

Another reason that companies give out free stuff is in response to a complaint. It is common at restaurants for some sort of coupon or discount to be offered if there was a serious problem with the food or the service.

Unwanted Items

People often give away free stuff simply because they don't want it anymore. Once when I lived on a farm, I had a couple sheep. My neighbor had about 50 bushels of wheat that was left in a container and he didn't need. My sheep like wheat, and my neighbor was happy to give me the wheat. It would have been more trouble for him to throw it away or take it somewhere, so it worked out great for both of us.


Moving often triggers giving away free stuff. People sometimes end up with things they don't want to move, and often try to sell these things up to the last minute. But eventually the time comes for the moving truck to pull away, and you might find a pile of stuff by the curb with a sign that says "free" on it.

Easier to Give Away Than Throw Away

One of the best free items I found was a pile of really good fencing panels that someone had out by the curb with a cardboard sign that said "free". I was driving my pick-up truck, so I pulled over and loaded up the fence panels. I made a kennel for my dog out of these and saved hundreds of dollars on fencing.

Another great find was a free basketball hoop and backboard that my wife spotted. It was a few blocks away, and I no longer had my pick-up truck so I walked over with my sons. After double-checking that it really was free, we picked it up and carried it home. After sanding it down and painting it, it looks great! I think it looks even better since it was free.

Large items like the fencing panels and basketball hoop were easier to give away than to throw away.

Get Companies to Send You Free Stuff

Sometimes you can get free stuff just by asking. Perhaps the least awkward way to do this is to simply write a letter to a company you like and ask them to send any free samples or coupons that they have available.

Susi10 here on HubPages has a nice article that explains how to ask companies for free stuff. Susi10 was able to get free samples of products such as office supplies as well as some stickers and coupons.

Another interesting example of getting free stuff simply by asking is The $39 Experiment. Tom Locke wrote to 100 companies asking for free stuff and recorded his request and the response from each company. He got much more free stuff than the $39 that the postage to send 100 letters cost.

Both Susi10 and Tom Locke have notes in their articles on which companies provided them with free stuff, and what free stuff they got. You could try your luck with these companies, or try writing to other companies that you like and see if you can get any free stuff this way.

Be Nice- People Might Give You Free Stuff!

It doesn't cost anything to be nice to someone, and it might do some good. Sometimes people even give you free stuff if you are nice to them. This sounds too good to be true, but sometimes it works. Just the other day, I was very happy since I got several free things and I realized a common theme- I was nice to people and they responded to this.

Free Coat Repair

The first example: the zipper on my son's coat broke. I bought it on clearance in the spring, and it was several years old. I took it back to the store, with no receipt of course. I realized this was a bit of a stretch, so I was very polite to the person at the customer service desk and asked if there was anything the store could do. As we talked about the coat and how much my son liked it, I asked if it could possibly be covered under warranty. The person started looking in drawers and came up with a mailing address for a repair department at the coat company. I mailed the coat to the address with a nice letter describing how much my son liked the coat and looked forward to wearing it again. They repaired it for free! I think being nice to people helped reach the happy conclusion of getting the coat repaired for free.

Free Coffee

The next example involved coffee which I like, and getting something free, which I really like. I was at Hardee's for breakfast while my car was being repaired. I usually avoid eating out, especially fast food, but getting my car repaired was sort of a special occasion and I was stranded next to a Hardee's for a couple hours while my car was on the lift. Since I rarely eat out, the options for the breakfast platter confused me. I went with sausage-bacon platter and coffee.

Now, the guy at the counter was confused. "You mean sausage, or bacon?"

"Oh, it's sausage OR bacon... I'll go with sausage."

The coffee was lost in the shuffle and I noticed this after I had already paid. The guy just gave me the coffee for free. I think the fact that I was pleasant and nice to the guy probably impacted his decision to give me the coffee. He could have easily made me pay for it.

Free Patio Door Repair

Another example of getting something free by being nice involved my sliding patio door. This is a heavy glass door with rollers on the bottom. It is hard to slide, and I wanted to replace the rollers. I looked at the door and found the manufacturer so I could order replacement roller hardware. It turns out the manufacturer is here in Iowa, and as I was calling them up, it occurred to me that that they know a lot more about patio doors than me. I decided to describe the problem and ask their advice instead of asking how I can order parts. After some discussion, they asked me to call back with a serial number found on a sticker. They determined that the door was under warranty and offered to send a field service technician out to repair the door for free. This was a much better outcome than buying parts- I not only saved money on the hardware, but time on making the repair as well. In this case, I think the customer representative appreciated that I valued his expertise and he ended up helping me a lot!

Free Stuff from Rewards and Loyalty Programs

I get free stuff all the time from rewards and loyalty programs. My local pizza shop has a buy 10, get 1 free program with a coupon built-in to the pizza box. Tonight I got my 10th coupon, so my next pizza will be free.

The grocery store where I sometimes buy milk has a punch card- buy 10 gallons, get one free. Each punch is worth about 35 cents and adds up to a free gallon of milk. This grocery store also gives points based on how much you spend, and you can use the points to get free stuff. Last month, you could trade points for a free large jug of orange juice. I took this offer several times and had free orange juice all month.

Credit cards often offer points or rewards programs. This can be a good deal if you pay off your balance every month. My credit card gives points that can be used to buy anything on amazon. I used this to get a very nice travel coffee mug and the sleeve to install my free basketball hoop in the ground.

If you fly, you can get free trips using frequent flier miles and travel rewards programs. Hotels also offer programs to earn free hotel stays after paying for some nights.

Get Free Stuff on Craigslist and Frecycle

Craigslist is a free classified ad network that has local listings of items for sale. Craigslist also has a "free" category under "for sale". I have seen items such as bikes offered for free- but they go fast! You can search for the craigslist site for your town from the link below.


Find Free Stuff on Craigslist
Find Free Stuff on Craigslist | Source

You can find free things on Freecycle. Check the site below to see if there are free items offered in your area.


Find Free Stuff on Frecycle
Find Free Stuff on Frecycle | Source

Where Do You Find Free Stuff?

See results

Check out the Penny Pincher Journal eBook for more ideas on finding cheap products, making money, and saving money every day!

Free Stuff Is Great!

When you get free stuff, it feels like getting a present. Sometimes you can find free stuff very close to home and it is actually more convenient than driving to buy something and hauling it home. Of course, the best part is that free stuff costs nothing. If you have room for it and the free stuff is not something dangerous, there is no downside to picking up something free. You can always give it away later if you don't want it. Keep your eye out for opportunities to find free stuff.

© 2014 Dr Penny Pincher


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