Freebie Friday

Freebie FridayIt’s Freebie Friday here at Freebham!  Today we’re going to look at different ways you can get stuff for free from people and companies alike.  If you look in the right places, there are ways to get everything from phone service, entertainment, children’s items, beauty products and even restaurant food for free.

Ways to Get Stuff From Other People

One service I have been personally using for several years is Freecycle.  This is a non-profit, peer run trading community that operates branches across the country.  On Freecycle, you can either list items you are offering to others for free.  The idea here is to keep unwanted items out of landfills.  You can also do “wanted” postings for items you are looking for.  Volunteer moderators monitor posts to ensure they adhere to community guidelines such as not allowing posts about live animals, curbside pickups, or personal ads.  Participation in Freecycle chapters vary greatly, with membership and posts being greater in more affluent and populous areas.  In the Bormingham, AL area for example, there are chapters for Pelham, Hoover, and Birmingham but postings have been sporatic at times.  Compare this to the Suncoast area of west-central Florida where you could get as many as 20 or more postings in your in box daily.

There are other ways to get free stuff from folks other than Freecycle.  One is listia.com, which works much like eBay.  On Listia, you list an item you don’t want anymore and people bid on it and pay with credits.  You can then use these credits, and others you can earn on the site in a number of ways, to bid on items you want that are listed.  Swapmamas is a social community for moms to connect and swap stuff, no buying or selling involved.  On this site, think kid or mom stuff.  BookMooch works the same way for booklovers, you list books you no longer want, earn points for giving them away, and choose books you want with the points you’ve earned.  For the fashionistas there is SwapStyle.  On this site you can also buy and sell second hand, handmade and vintage clothing.  What also makes this site unique is that you can also swap cosmetics.  eBay also has a classified section where you can post items and search.  As with auctions on the site, you’ll pay for shipping unless you do local pickup.  Finally, there is also Craigslist, which most people are probably aware of.  Think of this as a giant newspaper classified ads section where pretty much anything can be, and is, listed.  There have been notable issues in the news regarding user safety concerns, so use this site with care.  If you do, ALWAYS meet in a public, mutually agreed upon place for item swaps or sales for your own safety.

Make A Connection

One of the best ways to get free stuff from companies to to write a letter to them.  Companies, especially manufacturers of consumer products you find in grocery stores, love to hear from satisfied customers.  Drop them a line letting them know how much you liked the new shade of hair color you tried and how many compliments you got when you went to work the next day.  You could end up getting a coupon from them for a free product or at the very least some amount off a future purchase.  If you’re on Facebook, “Like” the company or product you’re interested in.  Many companies using Facebook reward followers with exclusive offers, contests and even product samples.  Twitter users can also score similar perks by following products and companies.  One added bonus with Twitter is that due to the immediacy of the way it works, you could also receive notices for flash sales or limited time offers.

Loyalty to a company also has it’s rewards.  Think about drugstore chain CVS with it’s ExtraCare rewards program.  When you sign up and present your card at the checkout you can earn “extra buck” rewards that you can use like cash on future purchases.  Combine this with manufactures coupons and you could get your purchase for free if you play your cards right.  Grocery company Kroger, one of the largest in the country (but not currently in Alabama) has long offered shoppers a reward card program that offers no-clip coupons, limited time offers and special promotions such as free turkeys during the Holiday season if you reach a spending threshold. Many other grocers across the country also offer similar programs for their customers.  Regional operator Publix, while not participating in a customer card program, does run specials from time to time such as the recently run promo for an extra $10 on a $50 gas card purchase if the card was purchased at the same time as your grocery order.

One other thing you might want to consider when writing, liking, friending or following businesses is don’t forget those in your own area.  Many restaurants are actually not owned by the named company on their sign, but are actually franchised businesses with local ownership.  So that McDonald’s or Five Guys on the corner just might be offering something the parent doesn’t, so check and see if they have a separate Facebook page or Twitter handle, you won’t know if you don’t ask.

Use Freebham!

We have listed several of these such offers on Freebham previously for you to take advantage of.  Be sure to check here regularly or subscribe to our feed as we will continue to let you know what we find.

On our Home page there are tabs for Eat (restaurant freebies / club info and kids eat free info), Money (for business freebies, store freebies / savings, and more), and See and Do (free or cheap things activities).  We bring you the best of what’s on the web as well as original content to help you live a fulfilling frugal lifestyle.  Living well doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money.

Have an idea you’d like to share? Email us or leave a comment below.

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