FREE Things: A First Scoop Blog Mini-Series

MAIN_iStock_000068446445_Large-793x496There’s an old saying among fellow cheapskates: “Free is my favorite price.” Fortunately, there are many great free things to be had, you just have to know where to look. Within the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing a series of great freebies – subscribe to our blog by entering your email in the box provided at the top-right of the page. You don’t want to miss out!

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 on FactoryToursUSA.com.

2. Italian Ice

For the past 20 years, Rita’s Italian Ice locations have been giving away free Italian ice to celebrate the first day of spring, no purchase necessary. Just stop by your local Rita’s on Sunday, March 20, between noon and 9 p.m.

3. Parents Magazine Subscription

You can get a free subscription to Parents Magazine through MercuryMagazines.com. Beware, as websites offering free magazine subscriptions often try to sell you subscriptions to other magazines in the process. Just keep declining those offers and click on through. Bonus: Parents Magazine usually contains some good coupons for families on a budget.

4. Birthday Golf

More than 100 U.S. golf courses will let you play a free round of golf on your birthday, often in exchange for joining their free loyalty clubs. You can find a directory of participating golf courses on Greenskeeper.org.

5. Vision and Hearing Tests

Although they’re not a substitute for tests performed by a qualified health care 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.com and FreeVisionTest.com.

6. Kleenex Care Pack

Here’s a pretty clever — and free — way to tell someone you’re thinking about them. Rather than sending a greeting card to someone who’s feeling under the weather or a little blue, Kleenex will send them a free small package of tissues with a customized message. You can find it on Kleenex.com/messagesofcare.

7. Comic Books

You can download and read thousands of free comic books from top publishers on HelloComic.com. Also, May 7, 2016, is Free Comic Book Day, when more than 6 million comic books will be given away for free at participating retail outlets. You can find out where the free comics are that day on FreeComicBookDay.com.

8. Firewood

If 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.

9. Software

If you 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

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.

11. 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, most such events give volunteers free admission to the event in exchange for their service.

12. Designated Drivers

If you’ve had too much to drink and you don’t already have a designated driver, there are nonprofit organizations in many areas that 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.

13. Online Personality Test

There’s a fun little online test at 16Personalities.com. 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.”

14. Birthday Burger

Sign up for Ruby Tuesday’s free newsletter and birthday club, and you’ll receive a coupon for a free burger a week or so before your birthday. However, just make sure you sign up more than seven business days before your birthday, otherwise you won’t receive a birthday coupon until next year.

15. 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. Especially when sites like TheJigsawPuzzles.com let you put together hundreds of online puzzles for free. Better yet, they’ll take up no closet space.

16. National Doughnut Day

It’s confirmed that National Doughnut Day this year will be on Friday, June 3. What’s not yet known is which retailers will participate. Last year, Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Tim Hortons and many others offered free donuts on this special day. So keep your eyes — and mouth — open as the Big Doughnut Day approaches.

17. 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 has a checklist to help ensure you have all the required documents and information so you can get your tax help.

18. 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, and although passes typically last for seven days, it can vary by location.

19. 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.

20. 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 here in the U.S. You can find the nationwide directory on USATLA.org.

Stay tuned for more free things in our second blog post in our mini-series!

*Article source courtesy of GoBankingRates.com.

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