Alert
Close

Multiemployer pension cuts and what you need to know about pension provisions in 2015. Learn more

13 Fabulous Freebies

Before reaching for your wallet, see what things you can get or do without spending a dime

Join the Freecycle Network

En español  |  This nonprofit movement consists of more than 5,000 local groups — and some 9 million members — all around the world. It's all about keeping good stuff out of landfills by allowing members to give away items they no longer need, as well as search for things they can use that someone else might want to jettison. And it’s all free, including membership.

Istock

Tour a Factory

Looking for a no-cost weekend activity or maybe some fun stops during a family vacation? Consider checking out factories and other businesses that offer free tours of their facilities — everything from chocolate and candle factories to breweries and the Spam Museum. Best of all, many offer free samples of their products as part of the tour.

Istock

Get a Library Card

And if you already have one, vow to use it more often. America’s 17,000 public libraries offer free access not only to books (and, in many cases, e-books as well), but to DVDs, computers and the Internet, and a host of programs and other services. What’s more, spending time at your local library allows you to turn down your thermostat at home in the winter (and air conditioning in the summer) and save even more!

Istock

AARP Offer: Protect your money, grow your nest egg

Take advantage of great information and tools to help build your future and prevent your money from going down the drain. Join AARP and start saving for your dreams today.

Getty Images

Snag Some Birthday Swag

You say it’s your birthday? If you must turn another year older, at least you can take comfort in a wide range of birthday freebies offered by many national and local establishments — and not just a free slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream (although, who's complaining?) but sometimes an entire meal or some pretty nifty swag. The Birthday Freebies website helps you find free loot in your area and nationwide.

Istock

Find Missing Money

There are a lot of scams on the Internet and elsewhere promising to help you find money that may be due you or a family member … for a fee, of course. But this nonprofit website is legit and costs nothing. It’s helped countless people — including me! — find “unclaimed funds” they are eligible to collect, including forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, inheritances and a wide range of other assets.

Istock

Take a Free Course

Did you know that you can attend online courses offered by many prominent colleges and universities for free? The only catch is that you don’t get credit toward a degree program. But if learning is your goal, the information and knowledge you’ll gain is all the same. Prestigious schools offering online courses gratis include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Istock

Volunteer at a Festival

Sometimes volunteering comes with some pretty nice perks attached, such as free admission to special events. Volunteering to be an usher at theaters or concert halls often gets you free admission to a show. Many film and music festivals — including the Sundance Film Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival — rely on a corps of volunteers, who often get free admission and access to behind-the-scenes events. Check the relevant websites to see whether they use volunteers.

Istock

Score Free Samples

For generations, manufacturers have mailed consumers samples of their products to attract new customers and build brand loyalty. Now, with the Internet, free samples are more abundant and easier to snag than ever before. Some of the most popular websites to help consumers find free samples are freesamples.org, mrfreestuff.com, sweetfreestuff.com, startsampling.com and getitfree.us.

Istock

Explore a National Park

Most people know that America’s national parks are among this country’s crown jewels. But did you know that 268 of our 401 national parks never charge an entrance fee? And every year there are special “free entrance days” at the parks that normally do charge for admission. In 2014, those free days include Aug. 25, Sept. 27 and Nov. 11.

Istock

Drop In on a 'Free Market'

So-called free stores and free markets are cropping up across the United States. The idea is to provide a gathering spot where people can drop off and “shop” for items that would otherwise likely be thrown away. The thing is, the shopping experience — and everything in the store/market — costs nothing, and some of these markets provide free repairs and other services, courtesy of skilled volunteers. Check out an online directory of free markets and stores around the country.

Istock

Hit the Stores on Tax-Free Days

You’ve heard the old saying, “Nothing in life is certain except death and taxes.” Well, if you’re a smart consumer, you can at least sometimes avoid sales tax by taking advantage of occasional “tax-free shopping days” offered in some states. Find a list of participating states and details about their tax-free shopping days online.

Istock

Get a Free Copy of Your Credit Report

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — is required to provide you, upon request, with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months. For instructions on how to order your truly free copy of your credit report from these three companies, check the Federal Trade Commission website.

Istock

Subscribe to The Cheap Life, Produced by AARP

The Cheap Life is a weekly Web show crammed full of money-saving tips, lots of laughs, and chances to win cash gift cards and other great cheapskate swag. It’s free and easy to subscribe to (just click on the “Subscribe” icon on the Cheap Life Channel page on YouTube so you'll be eligible to win prizes and be notified as soon as a new episode is released).

Eli Meir Kaplan

  • Pinterest
  • Google+

Jeff Yeager is the author of four books, including How to Retire the Cheapskate Way and The Cheapskate Next Door. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

 

More Articles & Slideshows

ways to save money shopping lawn home care dishes spa services credit cards cheap eats hobbies gas fuel bills finances home repair (Chris Gash)

99 Ways to Save Money
Tips and tricks to saving money on travel, health care, food and more

famous celebrities save coupon clip frugal life savings yeager cheap rich famous dollar stretch

Frugal Celebrities
You’ll be surprised how these wealthy celebrities stretch their dollars

 
Back to Article

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.