Why look for free stuff? Several reasons:
- Who doesn’t love a cheap thrill?
- The potential savings could be huge if you’re in the market for books, clothing, baby stuff, pet products or, in some cases, big-ticket items like electronics, furniture and appliances.
- It helps prevent waste.
Sometimes it’s as simple as filling out an online form to get things like over-the-counter medications, toiletries, wildflower seeds, pomegranate sweetener, antioxidant skin serum, incontinence pads, COVID-19 test kits, Miracle-Gro fertilizer or Breathe Right nasal strips.
Other so-called “freebie” sites are more about items that are free if you:
- Use coupons and rebates.
- Pay upfront and then get a loyalty program credit or an online rebate.
- Jump through multiple hoops, such as creating an account, installing an app and linking your social media account.
- Enter a drawing for a chance at getting the free item.
- Take surveys and then use the points you earn to get “free” stuff.
Hey, there’s nothing wrong with taking surveys; it’s one way of earning extra cash. Nothing wrong with rebates, either. But sometimes you just want to click it and claim it.
Keep reading to see some of the sites for finding freebies.
1. Buy Nothing
The Buy Nothing Facebook group mission is simple: “Give where you live.” Groups are set up neighborhood by neighborhood, which means you’re helping someone who lives near you — and, maybe, making new friends as a result.
The offerings vary, of course, but some pretty swell stuff goes up for grabs in my own working-class neighborhood. Appliances, toys, furniture, outdoor gear, clothing, food, pet items, Halloween costumes, Christmas trees … I check the site daily and am often surprised by the variety — and the value — of the freebies.
Of course, “value” is in the eye of the beholder. More than once people have offered old pallets or a pile of dirt and are swarmed by requests.
Learn more at “Need Something? Buy Nothing.”
Goodreads, an Amazon subsidiary, stages frequent giveaways of physical and digital books. Visit their giveaway tab and see what’s being offered. Note: Although you aren’t guaranteed to score a book, if you get one, it will be free.
Speaking of Amazon: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, check out the “Prime Reading” feature, which gives members access to a changing catalog of e-books and audiobooks.
Not a Prime member? Try this: Search for “free” in the books section and sort by “price, low to high.” Some free e-books will pop up; look for the ones marked “available instantly” as opposed to the ones that are free with a Kindle Unlimited or Audible membership.
Note: A sure-fire way to get free reads is to visit the Project Gutenberg website, which has more than 60,000 e-books that you can either download or read online, as we detail in “9 Sites That Offer Free E-Books.”
3. Facebook Marketplace
But isn’t Facebook Marketplace for people who want to sell stuff? Not always. The Marketplace has a “free” section, and free stuff can sometimes be found in the regular listings too.
Erin Huffstetler, who blogs at My Frugal Home, has scored some great freebies there for her family. Two of her best finds are more than $1,700 worth of shiplap siding (for a DIY project) and a hand-tufted wool rug that retails for about $2,000 (and exactly matched the linens in the master bedroom). See those two items plus another great vintage finds on her website.
“You need to check frequently and be quick on the draw,” Huffstetler tells Money Talks News. Since lots of other folks want free stuff too, offering to pick the items up within an hour (or as soon as possible) could tip the scales in your favor.
Along the same lines, you should also check the “free” sections of Craigslist and OfferUp. But no matter where you search, be sure to read the descriptions carefully. Someone in my town listed a “used (normal wear)” stove on OfferUp. Scroll down a bit further to the actual description box and it says, “Oven part doesn’t work.” Dealbreaker!
Hip2Save is one of two freebie sites that Huffstetler checks every morning. Yes, the offerings really are good enough to keep her coming back for more.
Some are evergreens, such as “free 30-day trial of Amazon Kindle” or “free wedding website and concierge” from Minted. But others aren’t.
Some recent examples: Liquid IV, vitamin C antioxidant skin serum, incontinence pads, COVID-19 test kits, infant formula, SPF moisturizer, soft pretzels, liquidless laundry sheets, Gatsby chocolate, subscriptions to Vanity Fair or Elle, an 8×10 photo print, N95 masks, disposable diapers and toxin-free bamboo toilet paper.
5. Free Stuff Finder
Free Stuff Finder is the other site that Huffstetler checks daily. Some are ask-and-get offers while others tell you how to “stack sales, coupons and app deals,” she says.
A recent peek at the page showed freebies for coffee, wine, sunscreen, a pregnancy test, toothbrushes, hard seltzer, cleaning supplies, ice cream, various kinds of makeup, a Salonpas pain patch and a free Taco Bell Mexican pizza.
Two more freebie-site contenders:
- Just Free Stuff, which has been around for more than two decades
- Munchkin Freebies, which has sections for free stuff in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand
6. The Freecycle Network
An oldie but goodie, Freecycle.org got a lot of folks through the recession of 2008 with its offerings. It’s also a boon to those who want to live the minimalist life, because it lets you give away your excess — or outfit your life with only the things you need.
“A great way to snag free things that might be of interest to you but are no longer needed by someone else,” consumer shopping expert Trae Bodge tells Money Talks News.
The pickings vary widely, depending on where you are. And while Freecycle was a new idea back in the day, it’s been overshadowed lately by things like the Buy Nothing Project, Facebook Marketplace and OfferUp.
Still worth a look, though. What someone else no longer wants might be exactly what your household needs.
A few pro tips
Some freebie sites are rip-offs in disguise. Back away from any “free” item that requires a credit card number. What’s likely is that you’ll be billed for items or services you didn’t order, or maybe even become the victim of credit card fraud. (It’s pretty easy to slap together a website in order to steal payment info from unwitting consumers.)
Say it louder for the folks in the back: If it’s free, you shouldn’t be asked to pay for it.
A few more best-practice tips:
Start a new e-mail address. You’ll likely get regular notes from these sites after you sign up. Prevent inbox clutter by having it sent to a separate address.
Check sites frequently. Supplies may be limited so keep an eye out for things you need.
Think about sharing. Some people donate freebies they don’t need to charity. You can also share with family or friends.
Pick your spots. If you’ve got a limited amount of time to spend on freebie sites, go for things you (or someone you know) can really use. Scented candles or stickers are fine, but free coffee and pet food provide more bang for the buck.
Keep a calendar. As noted, some “free” stuff means getting store credit to reimburse you for the price of an item. These do expire so set yourself a reminder to use it before that happens.
Have fun with it! For example, snag every free pet item you see and then deliver it to a no-kill shelter. Send away for as many stickers as you can, then drop them off at a child-care center or afterschool program. Set yourself a goal and start searching.