There’s a favorite saying among the frugal: “Free is my favorite price.” Fortunately, there are countless ways to get free stuff, whether you want free food or are just looking for more fun despite a budget.
Click through to see some of the great things you can do for free all over the U.S.
1. Factory Tours
If you’re looking for some offbeat family fun, there are hundreds of companies across the country that offer free tours of their factories and other facilities. Often, they’ll even throw in some free samples of their goods. From ice cream and candy factories to breweries and guitar factories, you can find a nationwide directory of factory tours online at Factory Tours USA.
2. Italian Ice
For over 20 years, Rita’s Italian Ice locations have been giving away free Italian ice to celebrate the first day of spring, no purchase necessary. Unfortunately, the 2018 date has passed, but you can plan ahead for a visit in 2019 — or, if you don’t want to wait that long for free Italian ice, join the Rita’s Rewards punch card program and you’ll score a free ice, frozen custard or gelati on your eighth visit.
5. Vision and Hearing Tests
Although they’re not a substitute for tests performed by a qualified healthcare professional, free online vision and hearing tests can help you gauge your acuity while providing some valuable educational information and health tips. Plus, they’re kind of fun. You can take free tests on sites like FreeHearingTest and EyeExamOnline.
Take a free brewery tour at Coors in Golden, Colo., and you’ll get free stuff 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 ice cold beer into your glass — all for free. You can also check out breweries in other states to get free or cheap beer.
7. Comic Books
You can download and read over 100 free comic books from top publishers on Comixology. Also, the first Saturday of every May, is Free Comic Book Day, when more than 2,300 comic book shops will give away free comic books. You can find out where the free comics are that day on the Free Comic Book Day website. The next Free Comic Book Day will be May 4, 2019.
When you need firewood for your fireplace or wood stove, try calling local tree service companies. They often have logs and limbs from trees they’ve cut down that they’re willing to drop off at your house for free. Otherwise, they have to pay to dump them somewhere, particularly for companies in urban and suburban areas. Note: Some cutting and splitting might be required on your part once the logs arrive.
For people who love Microsoft Office but don’t love paying for the software — there’s a free alternative out there. Apache OpenOffice, at OpenOffice.org, offers a free suite of open-source software for word processing, spreadsheets, graphics, presentations, databases and more.
10. Hardware (the Old-Fashioned Kind)
If you’re handy around the house — or aspire to be — you can sign up for Ace Hardware’s Ace Rewards program. You’ll earn 10 reward points for every dollar you spend, and 2,500 points will get you a $5 reward credit, which is just like getting free stuff.
12. Event Admission
From county fairs to music and film festivals, most special events rely on a corps of volunteers to get the work done. As a perk, many of these events — such as the Central Washington State Fair — give volunteers free admission to the event in exchange for their service.
13. Designated Drivers
If you’ve had too much to drink and you don’t already have a designated driver, some nonprofit organizations in many areas will get you and your vehicle home safely, often for free or a nominal charge. DrinkingandDriving.org has a nationwide directory of designated driver services.
14. Online Personality Test
There’s a fun little online test at 16Personalities. It takes only 10 to 15 minutes and reveals which of the 16 distinct personality types best captures your true essence as an individual. The site promises to deliver a “‘freakishly accurate’ description of who you are and why you do things the way you do.”
15. Birthday Burger
Sign up for Ruby Tuesday’s “So Connected” emails and get a free appetizer for joining, plus a free burger or garden bar entree on your birthday. You’ll also receive other promotional offers, so you might score more free food throughout the year.
16. Online Jigsaw Puzzles
There’s not much point to buying a jigsaw puzzle if you’re only going to put it together once and then store it for eternity in the closet. That’s especially true when sites like TheJigsawPuzzles let you put together hundreds of online puzzles for free. Better yet, they’ll take up no closet space.
It’s confirmed that the next National Doughnut Day will be on Friday, June 1, 2018. What’s not yet known is which retailers will participate. In 2017, Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons and many others offered free doughnuts on this special day. So keep your eyes — and mouth — open as the big Doughnut Day approaches.
18. Tax Return Preparation
IRS-certified volunteers provide free tax return preparation and advice to qualifying individuals — including taxpayers who are elderly, disabled or lower income. The IRS offers a checklist to help ensure you have all the required documents and information so you can get your tax help.
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19. Gym Membership Pass
Anytime Fitness, with over 3,000 locations nationwide, offers a free seven-day pass to check out their facilities. The offer is for new customers only.
20. Seeds and Plants
Gardening can be a fun hobby and save you a bunch of money on your grocery bill, particularly if you can get the seeds and plants for free. Find plant and seed “swaps” on PlantSwap.net, where you trade plants and seeds with other gardeners. If you’re a novice gardener without anything to trade, attend a swap and you’ll likely walk away with a lot of freebies.
21. Toy Libraries
At the rate kids lose interest in toys, it might make better sense to just borrow toys for free rather than buy them. Toy libraries have long been popular in Europe, and now they’re finally catching on in the U.S. You can find USATLA‘s nationwide directory online.
22. Birthday at Benihana
Register for The Chef’s Table loyalty program at Benihana, and you’ll get a $30 gift certificate from the restaurant during the month of your birthday. There are some terms and restrictions — including the need to purchase a full-priced adult entrée when redeeming the certificate — but it’s still a tasty deal.
23. Adult Coloring Pages
Coloring books have always been popular with kids, but now adults are using coloring as a way to reduce stress and anxiety while satisfying their creative side. Download free coloring pages for adults online from JustColor.
24. Coloring Pages for Kids
Adults don’t have to be the only ones who have fun. Kids can also find free coloring pages on a number of websites, including Crayola’s.
25. Free Samples
Websites offering free samples of everything from health and beauty products to snack foods and ballpoint pens abound on the internet. However, many require you to fill out a survey, send in receipts or clip coupons. Three of the better free sample sites are Women Freebies, FreeStuff and SampleADay, according to The Krazy Coupon Lady couponing website.
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26. Birthday Steak Dinner
Get a free steak dinner on your birthday and a free dessert at Black Angus Steakhouse by signing up for its Prime Club. Purchases are required with both free offers.
27. Movie Screenings
Enjoy the movies everyone will be talking about before they’re officially released. Find movie screening opportunities online at AdvanceScreenings.
28. Kids Meals
Just because you’re taking the family out to eat doesn’t mean you have to break your budget. In fact, many restaurants will let kids eat for free. The MyKidsEatFree website lists more than 5,000 restaurants where your kids can eat for free or at a reduced rate when accompanied by an adult.
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29. Free Fishing Days
Most states have a Free Fishing Day when anglers can cast their lines without needing to buy a fishing license. The exact dates vary by state, but in 2018, many states declared Free Fishing Days in June. TakeMeFishing.org has a complete list of those dates in the U.S. to plan ahead.
30. Pet Treats
Sign up for Petco’s Pals Rewards program — it’s free. You’ll receive special offers and discounts, earn reward dollars to use toward purchases and your pet will even get some special free treats on their birthday. It’s one of many affordable ways to spoil your pet.
If you have a bunch of things you want to get rid of, here’s one creative option. Listia online lets you give away things you no longer need in exchange for points you can then use to bid on other things on the site.
33. Kids’ Cards
American Greetings offers a really cool free tablet app — the Creatacard. It lets kids design their own greeting cards that the company can then professionally print and mail for them. Note that although the app is free and the cards are free to create, it costs $3.49 plus postage for printing and mailing.
34. Online Foreign Language Courses
The BBC offers free audio and visual tools that can help you learn dozens of different languages. It also includes a helpful section on foreign language mishaps, so you can avoid making those same mistakes. The site has been archived and is no longer being updated, but the language learning resources are still available.
35. Foreign Language Translation
You don’t need to speak a foreign language in order to communicate in one. Free online translators let you translate your words into dozens of different languages and translate foreign prose back into English. Some of the popular online translators include Google Translate, FreeTranslation and WorldLingo.
36. Birthday Ice Cream
Sign up for Baskin-Robbins’ e-club, and you’ll get a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday. If you join Cold Stone Creamery’s My Cold Stone Club, you’ll get a coupon for a buy-one-get-one-free for your birthday.
37. More Free Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry’s has a more than 35-year tradition of sponsoring Free Cone Day at all of its locations. The catch is that the exact date isn’t announced until closer to the annual spring/summer event, so keep an eye out for the big announcement. The 2018 date has already passed, but you can spend the next few months brushing up on Ben & Jerry’s new flavors so you’re prepared for Free Cone Day 2019.
38. Annual Credit Reports
Under federal law, you can access your credit report for free from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus — TransUnion, Experian and Equifax — every 12 months. There is only one website, AnnualCreditReport.com, that is authorized to provide the free annual credit report that you are entitled to receive by law. Other sites might offer a “free credit report” with strings attached, so make sure you go to the right site for the no-strings-attached offer.
39. Storm Water Rebates
Rebates and other incentive programs to reduce stormwater runoff are increasingly common among municipal and county governments. Some locations might even offer rebate checks to cover the cost of a rain barrel.
40. Fly Fishing Lessons
Take a free fly fishing class at most Orvis stores and dealers across the country on select dates in April, May and June. Once you complete the classes, you also receive a complimentary membership to fishing conservation organization Trout Unlimited, as well as special in-store offers on Orvis products — a $35 value.
Own a Kindle or Nook? Then you can download tons of e-books for free through the parent companies behind those e-readers — Amazon and Barnes and Noble, respectively. The nonprofit Project Gutenberg has more than 57,000 e-books available for free downloading. You can also borrow e-books through most public libraries.
42. Audio Books
If you prefer listening to audiobooks rather than reading, you can download thousands of free audiobooks from the nonprofit website LibriVox. These are books that are found in the public domain. The recordings are read by volunteers, but the quality is generally high.
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43. Birthday Breakfast
Denny’s makes it super easy to score a free Grand Slam Breakfast on your birthday: You just show up with a valid I.D. and chow down.
44. Legal Assistance
People with low to moderate incomes can find free legal aid programs in their community, plus get answers to their legal questions through LawHelp.org. It’s sponsored by the national nonprofit organization Pro Bono Net.
45. Online College Courses
You won’t get college credit for participating in these online college courses. But many prestigious institutions of higher education give you free access to their various online courses, including Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California, Berkeley and Tufts University.
Stream full-length movies for free with Sony Crackle. Create a free account using your Facebook profile, and begin streaming movies, TV shows and original programming through your television, phone, video game console or online. Sony Crackle is an ad-supported network, so you do have to watch commercials to access the content.
47. Microsoft YouthSpark Programs
Microsoft hosts free YouthSpark camps across the country to teach kids how to code, create games and apps, and have fun along the way. You can filter through a variety of programs by age, skill level and time frame.
48. Birthday Desserts
Many restaurants offer free dessert to customers celebrating their birthdays, including Applebee’s, Olive Garden and Chili’s. Most require you to sign up for their free e-clubs. In some cases a purchase is required, and other terms and conditions might apply.
50. Mulch and Wood Chips
If you see a public highway crew cutting down trees, brush and limbs in your neighborhood, stop and ask them if they’d like to dump the wood chips at your house instead of hauling them all the way to a public dump. Wood chips are great to use in the garden, flowerbeds and garden paths.
51. Lodging for Travelers
Couchsurfing online is a worldwide network of more than a half-million folks who will let fellow travelers crash on their couches or in a spare bedroom — for free. The robust website lets hosts and travelers get to know each other in advance.
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52. Savings Bonds
The Public Debt has over 35,000 savings bonds that have been returned to the U.S. Department of Treasury as undeliverable. You might be entitled to a matured savings bond you didn’t know you had, a bond that the postal service couldn’t deliver or an interest payment that was returned to Public Debt. If you believe your savings bond has been lost, stolen or destroyed, visit TreasuryDirect.gov and submit Fiscal Service Form 1048.
53. National Park Admission
The National Park Service opens all of its properties for free on four days throughout the year, and there are still two free entrance dates in 2018: September 22 and November 11. Plan your visit accordingly if you want to enjoy our national parks for free.
54. Loaner Tools
Tool libraries are springing up across the country, sometimes as part of an existing public library, where you can borrow tools for free rather than purchase or rent them. You can find a nationwide directory at LocalTools.org.
55. Birthday Pretzel
If you join Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Perks Program, you’ll get one of their signature or classic pretzels for free for your birthday. Your freebie will be automatically loaded onto your account on the first day of your birthday month, and will be available to you for 30 days.
56. 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.
57. Weekly Dessert for a Month
Sign up for Captain D’s Seafood Kitchen’s customer loyalty program, D’s Club. You’ll get coupons, special offers and be the first to know of future promotions.
58. Wilderness Camping
If you’re into no-frills wilderness camping, try camping for free at national forests and on public lands managed by a number of other federal agencies. The only requirement is that you follow guidelines for dispersed camping.
59. RV Camping
If your idea of camping involves an RV with all the luxuries, there are various places where you can park and camp overnight for free, including the parking lots at most Walmart stores. You can find other free options for RV camping and parking online at AllStays.
60. National Hot Dog Day
This annual celebration is held on July 23 and inevitably features a lot of free and discounted hot dog deals. Hot dog manufacturers and vendors have yet to announce their promotional plans for National Hot Dog Day 2018, but in 2017, Pilot Flying J offered free hot dogs, and Sonic and Philly Pretzel Factory served up hot dogs for a buck.
Ashley Jewels offers more than a dozen pieces of free jewelry online, but you need to pay for shipping. They also sell other jewelry at a significant discount.
62. Pre-Packaged Produce
You can always identify the highly money-conscious shoppers in the produce section at the grocery store, because they’re the folks taking a minute to weigh a few bags of pre-packaged produce — like bags of potatoes, apples and onions — before deciding which one to buy. With a little searching, you can almost always find a bag that weighs more than the minimum weight, but costs just the same, which means you essentially get some of your produce for free.
63. WiFi for Travelers
Getting online for free while you’re traveling is now easier than ever. Free apps, including iVanya, help you find free WiFi service wherever you are, including restaurants, stores, hotels and elsewhere.
64. Root Beer Float
If you’re age 13 or up, you’re old enough to join A&W Mug Club. You’ll get a complimentary root beer float on your birthday, as well as other monthly offers.
Karaoke enthusiasts and newbies can download the free KaraFun Player software. That way, you can practice your karaoke mix in the privacy of your own home before your debut at the local karaoke bar.
66. Apple Summer Camp for Kids
Every summer, Apple Stores host a free three-day workshop for kids age 8 to 12 where they can expand their digital creativity with hands-on learning experiences in one of three different areas. You can sign up to be notified when enrollment for the 2018 camp opens.
67. Birthday Burrito
Download the Moe’s Southwest Grill Rockin’ Rewards app and get a free burrito on your birthday every year. You’ll also get free nachos with the purchase of any regular or large drink when you sign up.
68. DIY Home Improvement Clinics
You can save money on home improvements by learning how to do more jobs yourself. The Home Depot offers free in-store classes to help you master a wide range of DIY projects, plus free workshops for kids.
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69. Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Sign up for Barnes and Noble’s B&N Kids’ Club and your children will receive a free cupcake at the in-store cafe on their birthdays. You’ll also get 30 percent off a kids’ book or toy when you join, and a $5 reward for every $100 you spend on kids’ purchases.
71. Senior Freebies
Age does have its privileges. Seniors — usually age 60 or older, but that can vary — can get a wide range of free stuff and discounts at many restaurants, hotels, retail stores and elsewhere. Some of the best sites for staying on top of the ever-changing list of senior offers include Free4Seniors and SeniorDiscounts.
72. Boating Safety Courses
Boating rules and laws vary by state, and the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation offers free online boating safety courses, based on the specific laws in each of the 50 states. You’ll learn a lot about staying safe on the water, and the online courses are pretty fun. You can find more info and take a course on the BoatUS website.
Join Einstein Bros. Bagels’ Shmear Society — perhaps the best name ever for a restaurant e-club — and get a free bagel and shmear for signing up. You’ll also get a free egg sandwich on your birthday. A purchase is required for each offer.
74. Museum Admission
Many public libraries now have a supply of passes to local museums and other area attractions, like parks and zoos, that library patrons can borrow to gain free admission. Check with your local library for availability. In addition, some of the world’s best museums offer free admission.
75. Just About Everything Else
If you’re still looking for a freebie to meet your needs, be patient and keep your eyes open. Whatever you’re looking for will probably eventually pop up for free under the “free” category on Craigslist or on the Freecycle Network online community. Remember: Free things come to those who wait.
Click through to read more about free things you can do in Las Vegas.
Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting of this article.