When you're trying to stretch your dollars, you don't have to give up on the activities you love. In fact, some of the best things in life really are free.
This spring, you can set your clocks ahead without setting your budget back. From sample products to overnight lodging, click through to discover ways to get free stuff.
1. Admission to Awesome Events
There are tons of free things to do and see near you — including events. Volunteer at concerts, festivals and other cultural events to gain free admission in exchange for your service. Head to VolunteerMatch.org and look under the Arts & Culture heading. You could volunteer at the U2 Concert at Rose Bowl Stadium in May or escort a senior to a cultural event in New York.
When you want to listen to a good book but don't have time to sit down to read, visit Librivox.org. The free audiobook site boasts more than 10,500 titles for download on to your computer or mobile device. Volunteers read and record the books, many of which were published before 1923.
Take a free brewery tour at Coors in Golden, Colo., and you'll score a free sample at the end of the visit. The experience includes a bus ride to the factory and a 30-minute tour covering everything from malting to packing, before the tap releases the icy golden liquid into your glass.
4. More Beer and Other Booze
What's better than free beer? Getting paid to drink it. Kyle Taylor of The Penny Hoarder suggests signing up to become an alcohol auditor for companies like Stericycle Expert Solutions, Sinclair Customer Metrics and The Source. You'll have to shell out money to pay for the booze as you audit retail locations, such as Walmart. However, after you submit a report, not only do you get reimbursed for your purchase, you also get paid up to $50 for the shop.
Also Read: Ways to Save Big on Booze
5. Birthday Food
Rise and shine on your birthday morning with a free Original Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's when you present your valid picture ID. You can also sign up for Johnny Rockets eClub to get a free hamburger on your birthday. Still hungry? Check out PennyHoarder's list of 100 places that have free birthday offers.
6. Other Birthday Freebies
Meals aren't the only things you can score for free on your birthday. Show your ID at a Harkins Theater ticket window, and receive a free, medium-sized popcorn to nibble while you watch the show. Additionally, you can become a Sephora Beauty Insider to get a free Jack Black moisturizer and cleanser set on your birthday.
Dispersed camping, also known as boondocking, offers a real back-to-nature experience. You can look for free campsites at the USDA National Forest site. You might not have facilities like fire pits or vault toilets, but you'll get what money just can't buy — full immersion into some of the country's most scenic natural areas.
See how a sea of caramel transforms into sweet treats or watch rivers of chocolate take shape as bunnies, baskets, bars and other ready-to-nibble shapes. Cerreta Candy Company in Glendale, Ariz., and Sanders Fine Chocolates in Clinton Township, Mich., are just two candy makers rolling out free tours that include sample products.
9. College Courses
If you have a voracious appetite for learning, you can take college-level courses without spending a bundle. Audit courses through some of the world's leading universities, like Harvard and Princeton, through EdX and Coursera. Although auditing classes won't cost you a penny, you'll have to dish out a fee if you want a certificate of completion.
10. Coloring Pages for Adults
Grab your colored pencils or markers and settle in for some relaxing coloring time. Create your own art with themed printables from Coloring Pages for Adults. The options are virtually endless, so let your inner child run wild.
11. Coloring Pages for Kids
Keep kids occupied with the free coloring pages at Crayola.com. Start little ones off with basic shapes in the First Pages category. Direct teens and young adults toward Art With Edge or pages that correspond with school social studies lessons.
12. Comic Books
Celebrate Free Comic Book Day the first Saturday in May. This year, the event lands on May 6, and you'll find comic book shops across the country hosting events in its honor. Learn more about the event at FreeComicBookDay.com and find a participating shop near you at ComicShopLocator.com
Enjoy free concert series at parks, civic centers and beaches during the warmer months. Check local community and chamber of commerce websites to find concerts featuring local musicians. Free music isn't always limited to summer; Club Free Time lists concerts and other free events taking place in New York City every day of the year.
Munch on free cookies when retailers give away the sweet treats to celebrate cookie-oriented holidays. Get complimentary cookies on National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on Aug. 4, National Cookie Day on Dec. 4 and during National Cookie Month in October.
15. Credit Scorecards
Whether you're considering taking out a line of credit on your home or buying a new car, it can be helpful to know ahead of time how lenders view you. Head to Discover's Credit Scorecard to find out. You don't have to be a customer to get the credit evaluation, which reveals your revolving utilization and other financial factors. The query doesn't ding your credit, and you can repeat it for free every 30 days.
16. Annual Credit Reports
If you need more information than a credit scorecard reveals, head to AnnualCreditReport.com to get your free annual report from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Download the report to your computer, as you won't be able to access it through the free site again for a year.
17. Designated Drivers
If you aren't sure if you should drive home after a night out, opt to play it safe. Get a free ride home using the AAA DUI Justice Link "Sober Ride" page. The site lists free and low-cost rides by state. For best results, check your options before you leave home and download the contact info for a local ride to your smartphone.
The first Friday in June is National Donut Day. To celebrate, purveyors like Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are usually giving away freebies.
Looking for a good book to read on your Kindle, Nook or smartphone? Search for "free ebook" on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to get started. You can rediscover more than 50,000 public domain titles at Project Gutenberg or find up-and-coming authors at Free-eBooks.net.
Make any day special by sending an ecard to let someone know you're thinking of him or her. Visit 123Greetings.com to find free ecards for birthdays, holidays or "just because." You can also post the greeting on your special someone's Facebook wall.
Boost your immune system with vitamin C without having to swallow pills. Emergen-C will send you samples of its fizzy drink mixes, including Immune+, Emergen-Zzzz and original Emergen-C just for signing up on the website.
Discover up-and-coming comedians and other entertainers through open mic nights at comedy clubs, bookstores and coffee houses. Hop on to Time Out's website to find free comedy acts and other entertainment options in New York City, Chicago and other major cities.
Experience is the best teacher, and you can reap a wealth of hands-on experience by volunteering. Go ahead and dig up the past by volunteering at the Verde Valley Archaeology Center in Arizona. You can also go hands-on and learn to catalog ancient relics.
24. Factory Tours
If you're looking for family fun that's also educational, check for companies across the country that offer free tours of their factories. Find out about tours near you at Factory Tours USA. Some manufacturers even throw in free samples of their goods.
If you're handy with a chainsaw, you should have no problem scoring free firewood. Helping your neighbors remove downed tree branches after a storm can mean getting free wood as a thank you. And be on the lookout for dead or dying trees that could pose a danger in the future; just ask permission before cutting them down.
Learning to fish doesn't have to be a daunting task. Try it for the first time at free fishing days held in every state. Check out your state's free fishing days at TakeMeFishing.org to get all the details. Some states loan equipment and even provide free instruction on angling.
27. Fly Fishing Lessons
Learn how to fly fish for free at Orvis stores across the country. You'll discover the basics of outfit rigging and fly casting in Fly Fishing 101. After completing the class, you will receive a free Trout Unlimited Membership, a $35 value.
28. Food Samples
There might be no such thing as a free lunch, but at Costco and other warehouse stores, there's plenty of free samples to fill up on. Weekends and mealtime hours are ideal times to visit, as product demonstrators roll out goodies ranging from cheeses to casseroles.
29. Foreign Language Courses
Pick up a new language with a free BBC foreign language course. Learn language facts, key conversational phrases and travel-related conversation at your own pace.
30. Freezer Labels
If you're tired of pulling mystery items out of the fridge, sign up to receive free stickers and labels at FreezerLabels.net. You'll never have to wonder what that odd-looking casserole is again.
31. French Fries
Would you like fries with that? You'll definitely get a chance to score free Fries on National French Fry Day, July 13. In the meantime, munch on some free fries from Wingstop. The eatery will give you an order just for signing up online.
Enjoy free golf on your birthday at dozens of golf courses throughout the U.S. Discover which courses offer complimentary green fees on your special day at GreensKeeper.org's birthday golf specials listing. If once a year isn't enough for gratis golf, unearth giveaways by using the #freegolf hashtag on Facebook or Twitter.
33. Gondola Rides
Experience some of the country's most breathtaking vistas from high above the earth. Ski resorts such as Telluride and Breckenridge in Colorado are among those offering free gondola rides to visitors. Wear your hiking shoes in summer to explore the mountaintop before heading back down. And bring your berry buckets if you head to Whitefish, Mont. The mountainside brims with huckleberries at summer's end.
34. Health Screenings
Discover important information about your health at a free health screening. Check for screening dates and locations through your county health department or locate a free health assessment near you at lifelinescreening.com.
35. Hearing Tests
Free online hearing tests can help you determine whether you suffer from hearing loss. Go to Hear-It.org or Beltone to find online assessments. For an in-person evaluation, make an appointment for a free hearing test at a Costco Hearing Aid Center.
36. Home Improvement Workshops
You can save money on home improvements by learning how to do the work yourself. Home Depot offers free in-store classes to help you master projects ranging from building a vertical garden to changing out bathroom fixtures.
37. Hot Dogs
Celebrate National Hot Dog Day in July by noshing on a free dog. Last year Hot Dog on a Stick and QuikTrip were among the retailers offering these tasty treats gratis.
38. Ice Cream Cones
Get your taste buds ready for spring with a free cone from Dairy Queen on March 20. The ice cream icon is giving away a small vanilla soft-serve cone, complete with its signature swirl-top. Get more free ice cream at Ben & Jerry's on April 4. No plain vanilla there: customers get a choice of signature flavors like Cherry Garcia and Phish Food.
39. Italian Ice
Celebrate the first day of spring with a free Italian ice, courtesy of Rita's Italian Ice. You can score your frozen treat on March 20 this year.
40. Online Jigsaw Puzzles
You never have to worry about losing a piece when you solve puzzles at TheJigsawPuzzles.com. Whether you can't get enough of cute puppy puzzles or love piecing together exotic vacation destinations, this site has more than 10,000 puzzles that are sure to please.
Get out on the water in a kayak and see life from a unique perspective. Boston, New York and Columbus, Ohio, are just three of the cities offering free time on the water. Contact each city's parks and recreation department to find out more.
42. Kids Meals
Kids can be fussy eaters, so don't pay full price for meals they might turn their noses up at. Check out MyKidsEatFree.com, where you'll discover more than 5,000 restaurants with free or reduced fares for children.
43. Legal Help
Find free legal information and resources at LawHelp.org. Search the website's state database listings to discover the resources you need. In addition to free legal aid and low-cost legal help, the organization provides educational guides on a variety of topics.
44. Loaner Tools
Doing a home improvement project doesn't necessarily mean an expensive trip to the hardware store to get the right tools. If you live near one of the tool libraries springing up across the country, you can borrow the tools you need for free. Find a nationwide directory at LocalTools.org.
If your travel priorities include meeting locals and saving money, sign up for a free account on Couchsurfing.com. Check out host profiles in the region where you intend to travel to find an individual you think you'd mesh with. You'll also be able to assess the free sleeping accommodations being offered.
More Freebies: 50 Things Your Hotel Will Give You for Free
Get up to three industry magazine subscriptions free at MercuryMagazines.com. A short survey pairs you with publications available in your industry. You can receive your first issue in the mail in mere weeks.
47. Movie Screenings
Enjoy the movies everyone will be talking about before they're officially released. Find movie screening opportunities at AdvanceScreenings.com or GoFobo.com.
Check with your local landfill to see if it offers free mulch. In some cases, landfill personnel can help you load up at no charge. However, you should bring a pickup or trailer and shovels just in case. Remember to bring a tarp to keep your mulch from blowing down the road on the ride home.
49. Museum Admission
There are many free museums throughout the U.S., but you can also visit some of the paid ones for nothing, if you do your homework. Check the museum's website for free admission days throughout the year. Your local library system might also offer culture passes that let you access museums at no charge.
50. National Park Admission
Take a walk in the park — a national park. Currently, only 120 of the National Park Service's 400+ parks charge admission. If you have your heart set on going to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite or another park that costs money, plan a trip for a Free Entrance Day. National Park Week in April begins and ends with free admission weekends, and there's no fee to enter on National Public Lands Day and some national holidays.
51. Outdoor Instruction
Whether you want to learn how to make better camp food or hike the Appalachian Trail, you'll find free classes offering the secrets at REI's Outdoor School. Local REI Experts run the classes, which take place at REI stores around the country.
52. Pest Inspections
Don't lose sleep worrying about whether termites are chewing your house down. Get a free pest inspection from Terminix just by signing up on the website.
53. Photo Prints
Did you snap the cutest picture of your child or pup? Make a print to hang on your wall or display on your desk. Shutterfly gives you free unlimited prints in select formats just for downloading its app.
54. Plants and Seeds
Planting your own garden can be a fun hobby, but it will also help you save a bundle on your grocery bill. Check out PlantSwap.net to find events where you can trade plants and seeds with other gardeners.
55. Root Beer Floats
If you like root beer floats, you'll love celebrating Root Beer Float Day on August 6. Restaurants like A&W and Wienerschnitzel are just two establishments that will offer free floats to celebrate in 2017.
56. Sales Tax
Depending on where you live, state and local sales taxes can add nearly 10 percent to your purchase. Residents living in Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon never have to pay sales tax. But for residents of 17 other states, tax-free shopping days roll around but once a year and are great opportunities to save on items you were going to buy anyway.
You can score free samples of everything from pet food to cleaning products at FreeSamples.org. The site provides a list of links to request the samples, as well as discount coupons and free products ranging from novels to pool test kits.
Get a "freakishly accurate" description of your personality in less than 12 minutes at 16 Personalities. Finally, you'll feel completely understood, if only by yourself.
After you take the test, visit the Country Personality Profiles page to see how your personality stacks up to others across the globe.
59. Senior Freebies
Growing old isn't easy, but it comes with privileges in the form of discounts on everything from restaurants to retail. Check out free items ranging from beauty products to road maps — and yes, even those dreaded adult diapers — on Free4Seniors.com.
60. Snow Days
You'll be singing "Let It Snow" if you happen to be in one of New York City's five boroughs during a snowstorm. NYC Parks sponsors free snow days complete with hot chocolate, sleds, music and snowman and snow-angel contests.
If you need Microsoft Office but don't want to pay for the software, consider one of the free alternatives. Download Apache OpenOffice at OpenOffice.org to create documents, spreadsheets, graphics and more. For online access to your work from any computer, use Google Drive for your files. You can even download or send your project in Microsoft formats.
Here's a sweet deal! Sign up on the Splenda website, and the company will send you a free sample of Splenda Naturals stevia sweetener.
63. Tax Return Preparation
Don't let filing your taxes overwhelm you. If you make $54,000 or less, you qualify for the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. The IRS-certified volunteers also help seniors field tax questions about pensions and retirement. Find tax help near you at IRS.gov.
From Turbo Tax to H&R Block: A Review of the Best Tax Software
If you're a little strapped for cash heading back to school, save money by checking for your textbooks online. Find free downloadable textbooks at Bookboon or hook yourself up with a hard copy at FreeTextBooks.
If your kids' rooms are cluttered with toys they rarely look at, let alone play with, spark their interest with different ones. Visit ToysToTrade.com to find and trade toys based on category, brand, character name or age group. You can narrow results to your local area and arrange to meet the swapper at a safe location to avoid shipping costs.
66. Turtle Races
Enjoy some unusual entertainment at free turtle races held in pubs and other gathering places around the country. At Brennan's in Los Angeles, there's no cover charge or drink minimum to experience the fun.
67. University Degrees
You don't have to go into debt to get a college degree. University of the People offers free accredited degree programs in computer science, health science and business administration. Although tuition and course materials are completely free, you will have to pay exam processing fees, which total about $1,000 for each year of schooling you complete.
68. Used Stuff
Before you shell out money for a purchase, check to see if someone is giving it away. Sign up with your local Freecycle Network and post a "wanted" ad if you don't see what you're looking for.
69. Veterinary Exams
Register at the VCA Animal Hospital website to get a coupon for a free pet health exam. The coupon is good at any of the company's 750 animal hospitals throughout the U.S.
70. Window Cling
Show your appreciation for our troops with a free window cling or sticker from MilitaryTimes. Just sign up on the "Support The Troops" page, and your sticker will arrive in two to three weeks.
Although many of the country's 8,702 wineries charge a tasting fee to sip the local vintage, you'll find plenty that give out the goods for free. In Sonoma County alone, you'll find more than 20 wineries that let you sample the fruit of the vine gratis.
72. Workouts for a Week
Get a free, seven-day pass to Anytime Fitness to start getting in shape. The company has more than 3,000 locations in 50 states and almost 30 countries. Sign up on the website to find the nearest location and score your pass.
73. Vision Tests
If it seems like your eyes are playing tricks on you, it might be time for a vision test. Head to FinestGlasses.com for free online tests of visual acuity, astigmatism, color blindness and more. Should you decide you need to see an expert eye-to-eye, visit AllAboutVision.com to find out where you can get a free exam in your neighborhood.
74. Wood Chips
Enhance your landscaping with free wood chips from your local landfill. Fargo, N.D., is one of many cities that gifts its citizens with free landscaping materials. Residents need to bring proof of residency to get up to one free yard of wood chips and an additional yard of compost each spring and autumn.
75. Zoo Admission
Some of America's best zoos don't charge a penny for admission. Watch Siku the Polar Bear splash in his state-of-the-art exhibit at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago or check out the fishing cats and giant pandas at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
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