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 on a small 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. Ice Cream
Back in 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. This year, National Ice Cream Day falls on Sunday, July 15. Should history repeat itself, you can likely score ice cream — free of charge — at places like Dippin’ Dots and McDonald’s.
5. Wooden Pallets
Look for businesses in your area that have spare wooden pallets for free. Once you have some, get started on a fun summertime project such as building a tree house with your kids, creating fun patio furniture or building raised garden beds.
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.
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 what 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.
Entertain your family this summer with a real-life treasure hunting game by geocaching. All you need is a GPS-enabled device and the ability to log on to Geocaching.com, which has millions of treasure-hunting options.
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 after a summer rooftop party and you don’t already have a designated driver, 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.
Search for nearby trails in your state with TrailLink. Whether you like to hike, bike, run or horseback ride, you can find a trail perfect for your needs. Plus, the site has informative trail descriptions and user reviews.
18. Swimming Lessons
Summer is the perfect time to learn how to swim, and opportunities to take swimming lessons should be easy to find. Check with the nearest Y.M.C.A. or public pool in your area to find out about free swimming lessons that might be available.
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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, 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.
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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 its 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
If you can’t get enough free ice cream, sign up for Baskin-Robbins’ e-club. 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 receive a coupon for a buy-one-get-one-free for your birthday.
37. Free Family Summer Camp
Head to the nearest Bass Pro Shop to enjoy free family summer camp activities through July 22. Camps start at noon each Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Activities include free crafts, games and informative workshops for the whole family.
38. Public Library Programs and Passes
You’re probably familiar with the summer reading programs libraries sponsor. But, many public libraries now also have a supply of passes to local area attractions, like parks and zoos, that library patrons can borrow to gain free admission. Check with your local library for availability.
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. Kids’ Bowling
Register your child on the Kids Bowl Free website, and they can receive two free games of bowling each day — all summer long. Search on the site to see which bowling centers near you are participating. Shoe rental might be included.
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.
46. Movies at Home
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 and create games and apps while having 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. Free Character Building
Go to Volunteer Match to find opportunities in your area that will allow you to volunteer as a family and make a difference. Opportunities will vary by area but can include working with children, animals, technology, arts and culture, education, seniors and health and medicine.
53. Summer Movie Programs for Kids
When you want to get out of the house, take advantage of a free summer movie program for kids. Chain locations, such as Paragon Theaters and Showcase Cinemas, are offering admission-free entry to popular kid’s flicks, but check with your local movie theater to see if it offers this type of deal.
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 the shop’s 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.
61. Outdoor Concerts
Summertime is an excellent season to enjoy outdoor activities, and many cities recognize that by offering outdoor concerts. Pack some blankets, load up the family and enjoy listening to live music outdoors.
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 child will receive a free cupcake at the in-store cafe on their birthday. 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
If you have an active Bank of America, Merrill Lynch or U.S. Trust credit or debit card, you can get in free to over 200 participating museums and cultural centers the first full weekend of every month. All you need is your card and a valid photo ID.
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 on Craigslist or the Freecycle Network online community. Remember: Free things come to those who wait.
Click through to read more about the free things you can do in Las Vegas.
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