12 Valuable Things You Can Get for Free

There are many things we purchase these days that we could never have dreamed we’d be paying for a few decades back: Television channels? Checked airplane luggage? Grocery bags?

But a savvy shopper still can find a way to get many valuable things free. From entertainment to education, knowing the tricks can help you save big — even on items for which your neighbors and friends are still handing over cash.

Here’s a look at some of the many valuable items that you don’t ever need to pay for.

1. Genealogy

Tracing your family tree has never been easier, thanks to online resources. And you can also do plenty of free research using the resources we detail in “11 Free Ways to Research Your Family History.”

For example, here are two favorites: Find A Grave lets you peer into cemeteries worldwide, and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation can provide information about relatives who came to America via that famed immigration gateway.

2. A birthday meal

No matter when your birthday falls on the calendar, there are restaurant chains with free eats for you. For example, you can get a free sub at Jersey Mike’s and a free burger at Red Robin — no purchase necessary.

3. Streaming video

Nowadays, families may pay for premium channels such as HBO, sports subscriptions like NFL Sunday Ticket or streaming services such as Hulu or Netflix. But there are places where you can stream movies and TV shows online for free.

We outline numerous options in our article on free movie streaming. And don’t forget your local library: It may offer patrons free remote access to a service such as Kanopy or Hoopla.

4. Credit scores

Yes, there are ways to get not just your credit report but also your credit score for free. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers a good summary of options: You might learn your credit score for free via your credit card company, for example.

5. Cloud storage

If you look in the right place, you will find free online file storage, aka cloud storage. We break down options in “10 Places to Get Free Online File Storage.”

6. E-books

Many libraries offer e-books for download — although just as with paper books, you can only keep them for a limited time.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble sell e-books, but both sites also offer some freebies, ranging from cookbooks to classics.

7. Magazines

You know libraries have print magazines available, but check your local branch’s website and you may find free digital access to magazines, too.

Amazon Prime members can read magazines and comics online, and many are free through a feature called Prime Reading.

8. Entertainment

Museums want visitors. And many of them offer free admission on certain days or to certain groups of people, as we detail in “5 Ways to Visit Top Museums Across America for Free.”

And every year, the National Park Service offers free admission to these protected federal lands and on certain days scattered throughout the year. Here’s the list for 2020.

9. Antivirus software

PCMag awarded its Editor’s Choice honor for 2020 to Avast Free Antivirus and Kaspersky Security Cloud Free.

Macworld points out that while Macs may be attacked less often than PCs, they need antivirus protection, too. That publication chooses Avast Free Mac Security as the best free antivirus software for Macs.

10. Education

Elite Ivy League universities — yes, even Harvard — offer free online courses you can audit. Also inquire at your own local library, which may offer online classes via LinkedIn Learning or another resource that would otherwise cost you.

11. Checked luggage

As if travel isn’t pricey enough these days, now many airlines charge for checked baggage. But there are ways to avoid paying that fee.

Fly Southwest Airlines, which lets each passenger check two bags for free. Also, consider an airline credit card, which often allows cardholders, and maybe even a companion, a free checked bag. And if you can pack what you need in a small enough bag, you can take it on board with you as a carry-on, which is usually free.

12. Pianos

Pianos can cost thousands of dollars new. But if you or someone in your family is itching to play, don’t sweat the sticker price. Here’s the musical secret: Many people need a piano for only a very short time — say, the grade school years when a child is taking lessons.

At any time of the year, people who have passed through the piano years are looking to get this large, heavy object out of their home — so much so that they’ll offer it free. Check Facebook Marketplace or the free section of Craigslist — but be warned, you’ll need a strategy to get that piano moved. It won’t just fit in a Honda Civic.

What are your favorite freebies? Share your tips in the comments section or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
How to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement in 7 Steps
How to Prepare Your Finances for Retirement in 7 Steps

Here is how to get your finances in shape for your golden years, one step at a time.

10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind
10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind

Here’s how to change those bad behaviors.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

11 Signs That You Chose the Wrong Place to Retire
11 Signs That You Chose the Wrong Place to Retire

Health and happiness in retirement rely on some key factors.

Big-Ticket Things You Should Never Buy
Big-Ticket Things You Should Never Buy

In this week’s podcast: Are you wasting big money on these common purchases?

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.