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17 Things You Can Score for Free

From free food to free books, there's a lot of stuff out there that's free for the taking. You just need to know where to look!

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How to get free things

Who doesn’t love freebies? Even if you don’t need anything new, chances are good that you’ve spent some time trying to figure out how to get free stuff—I know I have. And let’s face it, it isn’t just you getting something, because retailers benefit as well. I can’t count how many times I’ve added that small extra something to my online shopping cart so my order would qualify for free shipping.

And then there’s the joy of discovering the best new thing. I couldn’t tell you how frequently I’ve tried a cosmetics or skin-care sample and fallen in love with the brand and become a loyal customer. And how many times have you shopped at a store giving out a free food sample and then ended up buying the full size? We all benefit from fun free things.

If you’re not an expert at the art of the perk, read on to find out how to get free stuff. While you’re at it, you might also want to learn how to save money, how to save money on groceries and how to make money fast.

And to stop spending for a while, check out these things to stop buying, read up on times you shouldn’t use a debit card and the bills you shouldn’t put on autopay.

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Free books

Love to read? I sure do! But buying bestsellers can be really expensive, and let’s face it, I love reading free books most of all. In addition to heading to the library, here’s how to get free books. From brushing up on 60-plus classics available at no charge from the Library of Congress to using Google books to get great quotes, there are a number of ways you can get books for free online and get free online books for kids too. Those who are dedicated e-readers will want to learn how to access free Kindle downloads.

Anyone who loves free stuff will want to learn about all the free things you can get just by using your library card. From movies to classes to career advice to museum tickets, your library card has the power to help you unlock loads of free services and more.

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Free audiobooks

If you prefer to listen to your books while walking, driving or just relaxing, you’ll love knowing you can easily access free audiobooks as well. For starters, those with an Audible subscription get two free books each month, and if you have a library card you’ll be able to download free audiobooks. Check out some more of the ways you can download and listen to free audiobooks.

Parents who are tired of reading a bedtime story to their kids every night will be happy to hear that there are ways to get free audiobooks for kids too. Your kids can listen to The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book and other kids classics for free, courtesy of Audible and other websites. For starters, here are some free audiobooks on Spotify to check out.  

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Free greeting cards

Forgot to pick up a birthday card for your friend’s party that starts in an hour? Don’t sweat it, simply download a free printable card. You’ll find them for every occasion, not just birthdays, including free printable Christmas cards and free Father’s Day cards as well. These cards are created by artists and stationery designers, so no one will be the wiser. And while you’re on the free card sites, be sure to check out the tips for customizing your design by adding your child’s fingerprints or tactile elements including ribbons.

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Free things on Amazon

If you already spend so much time shopping on Amazon, you’ve probably wondered how to get free stuff on Amazon as well, right? Check out this great big list of Amazon freebies, including trading in old tech for gift cards and free cloud storage from Amazon Drive.

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Free things on the internet

When searching for freebies, it’s always a good idea to browse a site thoroughly, since you never know when you can get something for free. When shopping for glasses recently I noticed the cutest page full of freebies with playlists, E-Cards, desktop/phone wallpapers and more. Leah Sushelsky, PR and communications director at GlassesUSA.com, said the page was created in the hope that “it brings more value to our customers and drives them to spend more time with our brand.” And if it turns visitors into customers, that’s a great thing too.

Ready for more? Here’s a giant list of free things you can find all over the internet.

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Free Wi-Fi

There is nothing quite as frustrating as trying to download an image or song or recipe and getting cut off by your phone service. Or maybe you prefer finding free Wi-Fi when you’re on the road? Well, did you know that most larger cities offer free Wi-Fi options? Whatever the reason, if you’ve ever wondered how to get free Wi-Fi, there are ways to do it.

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Free streaming services

Everyone keeps saying that you should cut the cord on cable television, but what if you really love binge-watching your favorite shows? Have no fear, there are lots of streaming services that are still free with no strings attached (though you might have to watch a commercial or two). Worth checking out, Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDB TV) has free original series including the Bosch spinoff Bosch: Legacy. And if you want to stop splurging on entertainment, we have a list of the best budget apps. Or read how to negotiate; you may just be able to broker a better rate on your streaming services.

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Free meditation apps

Ah, free apps. Sounds like a great perk, right? But hunting them down can be really stressful. Well, we’ve done the work for you and found all the best free meditation apps to help you calm down. Headspace has free or paid versions that help you do everything from stress less to sleep better. And Aura offers personalized meditations, so your OM will be tailored to your needs.

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Camping for free

Love spending time in the great outdoors? Well, why should you have to pay for it? Here are some fantastic and sneaky ways to camp for free. You should know though, that many national parks or even wilderness areas require advance reservations. While you’re at it, read on for ways to save with free overnight parking. We have it on good authority that many full-time RVers use Cracker Barrel and Walmart parking lots for safe, well-lit overnight parking spots.

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Free stuff on vacation

What is it about a hotel breakfast that makes the entire trip better? Probably the free part!

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Travel freebies

The days of tiny toiletries may be long gone, but you can still find lots of fun free things while you’re on vacation or that next business trip. Wouldn’t it be fun to visit the best free tourist attractions in every state? Here’s a favorite tip: If you’re visiting Walt Disney World or Universal Studios on a birthday or an anniversary, Guest Services will give you a cute commemorative pin for free—just tell them what you’re celebrating!

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Free things on airplanes

While your flight is probably pricey (though who doesn’t wonder how to travel for free?), there are still free things you can get on your flight. From a full can of soda, to seconds on your in-flight snacks, to cockpit tours, check out these fantastic freebies.

make up and skin care products spread on pink background
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Free beauty samples

It’s entirely possible that I buy loads of cosmetics that I don’t really need just to get the cute tiny travel samples. Did you know you can get free perfume at Sephora? (And while you’re at it, ask how to sign up for the yearly free birthday gift!) If you’ve been dying to try a new scent, ask one of the people working in the perfume section and they’ll usually decant a small amount of scent into a sample-size bottle. It’s teeny but delightfully free! Did you also know you could get SPF and skin-care samples from dermatologists? I worked for a derm during college, and we always kept samples of new or popular products by our desk to hand out to patients. And here are some great tips for skin care on a budget.

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Free college courses

It’s amazing to think that you can access the best professors in the world and the most amazing courses for free. But it’s true! Check out these free online college courses. Not sure where to start? There is literally a class that will teach you how to learn how to learn. It may sound a bit confusing, but if you’re not used to e-learning methods, this will help you ease back into going to class again. Excuse me while I go sign up for Fairy Tales: Meanings, Messages, and Morals from The University of Newcastle offered on edX.

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Free food at Costco

You’re already getting the best prices possible at Costco, but did you know you could get free food samples at Costco as well? If you’ve made it your life’s mission to find out how to get free food, you’re in luck! And get this, Reddit users have confirmed that Costco food samples are unlimited, so you can build your shopping trip around the tasty snacks. No surprise, the busiest times for shopping—Saturdays and Sundays, specifically between 1 and 2 in the afternoon—are also the prime time for snacking.

Big Tall Stack Of Pancakes On Pink Background
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Free food at restaurants

Picture this: You’re out for dinner with your besties, wondering how to get some free things. And like magic, you find this list of ways you can get free food at restaurants! Whether it’s through loyalty programs (keep getting your cards punched) or by showing up on what seem like silly holidays like National Pancake Day (Sept. 26) for free pancakes at IHOP, you can score lots of yumminess without spending a dime. Now that you’re done noshing, this would also be a good time to brush up on how to eat healthy on a budget.

Blister pack of blue capsules with one pill missing on yellow background
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Free drug samples from doctors

So many of us worry about how to save on health care. One great way is to ask your doctor for free samples of a prescription drug they prescribed. You’ll have the best luck with newer formulations when companies are trying to entice new patients to give their product a try.

Rachel Weingarten
Rachel Weingarten is an award-winning freelance writer specializing in beauty, fashion, business and tech. She’s also the author of three award-winning books and the co-founder of a national nonprofit organization.