Got a tight budget? Create some wiggle room in it without drastically scaling back your lifestyle by replacing things you currently pay for with free alternatives. Trust me–you are going to be surprised by all the things you can get for free.
50 Things You Can Get For Free! Reduce Your Budget–Not Your Lifestyle–With These Free Products And Services
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information)
1. Free Music Lessons
Music lessons are expensive. These free sites might not make you the next famous classical musician, but they can at least help you get a good grasp of the basics and help you decide if you want to invest your money into further lessons.
Take free violin lessons at Violin Lab
Take free piano lessons at Hoffman Academy
Take free drum lessons at Drum Ambition
Take free music theory lessons at Music Theory
And of course, don’t forget to search for music lessons on a thrifty person’s best free resource for just about everything–YouTube.
2. Free Language Translator
Are you traveling to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language? Or perhaps you are making friends with someone new to your own country that doesn’t speak the same language as you. Don’t buy a translator app or book, instead use the free Google Translate to get to know a wide variety of languages.
3. Free Diet And Fitness Trackers
Are you wanting to lose weight, exercise more or just live a more healthy lifestyle? Try out either MyFitnessPal or Lose It!.Both make it easy to keep a food and exercise journal as well as help set weight loss goals.
4. Free Entrance To National Parks
5. Free Museum Entrance
Many museums offer reduced admission days, but some even offer free admission days or partial days. Sometimes it can be hard to find out about the free days. When my children were little I would spend a little time each January searching the websites of museums near us for a list of free days and if that failed, I turned to blogs that covered local events. If you live near or in Indianapolis like I do, here is a good listing of free days for museums in 2018 and my guess is this blog will list a new one each year. Big cities near you should have similar blogs listing their free museum events.
If you happen to be a Bank Of America cardholder, you receive free admission to a long list of museums on the first full weekend of the month.
6. Free Fishing
No need for a fishing license when you fish during National Fishing And Boating Week at locations on their list.
7. Free In-Person Hobby Lessons For Children And Adults
Williams and Sonoma offers free cooking classes for both adults and children.
If you love all things outdoors, REI offers free classes and events that you are going to love.
Apple stores offer workshops for both adults and children on topics such as photography, video editing and more.
Adults can learn how to DIY various home improvement projects and children can become comfortable with simple hand tools at workshops held at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Don’t forget to check and see if your local library offers free workshops. I know ours offers a free kids craft each month and a free knitting gathering where members are more than willing to help you learn to either knit or crochet.
8. Free Streaming Hobby Lessons
A great place to find free video tutorials on just about any craft or DIY project is YouTube.
Craftsy offers over 50 free video tutorials for everything from quilting to how to take family portraits.
Creativebug also has a section of free video tutorials that cover a wide variety of arts and crafts.
Skillshare has many free video tutorials on creative topics such as drawing, character animation and more. You do need to sign up for a free account, then head to the bottom of the home screen and click the free classes tab to view what is offered for free. I, unfortunately, couldn’t figure out a way to screen out the free classes into topics, but there are over 1,900 free video-driven classes and many cover creative hobbies.
9. Free Streaming Of Movies And TV Shows
Our family bought a Roku Express last year and have discovered all sorts of free channels to add to it. We are so happy with how easy Roku makes it to enjoy free streaming sites, including YouTube, that we are seriously thinking of upgrading to the Roku Streaming Stick+.
Once You buy a Roku and connect it to your TV, you can have fun exploring all the free streaming channels out there. Here are a few free channels you can add to it: Sony Crackle, PBS Kids, PBS, plus several major TV networks offer free older episodes of popular TV shows. Roku also has a free channel called the Roku channel and my husband watches it quite often.
If you have a library card, you may be able to use the Hoopla app to borrow up to six movies a month free (or a combination of movies, ebooks, audiobooks, and music albums). You can download these movies to the device you use the app on. How long you get to keep them depends on a few factors.
Redbox offers free codes all the time. To find out about them make sure to join their Redbox Perks program. Another great place to find out about Redbox free codes is over at Money Saving Mom.
And of course don’t forget your local library, many of them have DVDs that you can borrow.
10. Free eBooks and Audiobooks
I LOVE to read, yet only once and a while do I actually pay for a book and even then, most of the time it’s just a few dollars for a Kindle edition. Why pay when there are so many free places to get ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and even paperback books?
Project Gutenberg is a great resource for free classical ebooks
A free subscription to Hoopla may be available from your local library. You are allowed to borrow 6 items in a calendar month including audiobooks, ebooks and movies.
Libby by Overdrive seems to be replacing the Overdrive app that most libraries offer to their patrons for free. It offers both audiobooks and ebooks and it looks like there is even a way to have the ebooks sent directly to your Kindle. Considering how much I love reading using my Kindle Paperwhite I might just have to try that option out soon.
Amazon often offers free Kindle ebooks, but what some people might not know is they also offer a free Kindle app so even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still take advantage of their entire ebook collection, paid and free.
NoiseTrade offers free ebooks and audiobooks in various genres.
If you love classic books, Digtalbook.io offers classic ebooks and audiobooks.
Loyal Books is yet another source of classic ebooks and audiobooks.
11. Free Music
I know I have mentioned the Hoopla app twice already, but full-length music albums are one more item you can download for free from Hoopla using the free membership available from most libraries.
NoiseTrade offers a wide selection of free music downloads covering various music genres. The downloads could be just a few songs or a whole album.
I use and love the Pandora Radio app. I love that I can create various different stations suited to my mood. There are some ads in the free version, but I don’t mind listening to a few ads to avoid the cost of a subscription.
iHeartRadio allows you to stream your favorite radio stations from wherever you are for free.
I have yet to use Spotify, but it sounds like it works very similar to Pandora in that it offers a free service with ads.
12. Free College Classes
Through Saylor Academy, you can receive 97 college credits for free. However, you do have to pay a small fee for proctoring (around $20), transcripts (around $25) and perhaps a transfer credit fee depending on where you transfer your credits to.
13. Free Computer Classes
Khan Academy offers a small selection of computer classes in coding, programming and computer science.
Codecademy offers a large selection of free coding classes.
On Coursera all the courses are free, but if you want certification you do need to pay for that. They have numerous computer courses in computer science, coding and programming.
Edx is an open-sourced higher education program. I punched in computer courses and it gave me a selection of 598 to choose from–that could keep one busy for a long while.
Free Code Camp offers thousands of free lessons to help you learn and improve your coding skills.
14. Free Language Courses
Want to learn a new language? Gone are the days of having to buy expensive software to make your language goals a reality.
Open Culture offers lessons in various languages.
Duolingo offers a wide variety of ways to get deep into the language you want to learn. Beyond regular vocabulary lessons, it also offers an area to set up in real life discussions with others learning the same languages, a story area and a podcast area.
15. Free Cash Back On Your Purchases
Earn money back on all types of purchases with these websites and apps.
Ibotta—Use Ibotta to collect cash back on groceries, clothing, pet supplies, home decor, entertainment and more in-store and online. Chances are the stores where you shop work with Ibotta. Go here to sign up for Ibotta.
Ebates—I use the Ebates Chrome extension to make sure I never miss a chance to earn a cash back through my online purchases. It is so simple to use, it pops up at the top of the tab you are about to shop at and lets you know there is a cash back available, all you have to do to activate it is click on the button. Go here to sign up for Ebates. When you use this link, you get a $10 gift card after your first purchase of $25 or more (offer could change at any time).
TopCashBack—TopCashBack has no minimum payment threshold–meaning even if you just earn $1 back, you can cash out. Go here to sign up for TopCashBack.
MrRebate—MrRebate has a website, app and Chrome extension button making earning a cash back simple. You can request a cash back once your account hits $10. They offer cash back at thousands of stores. Go here to sign up for MrRebate, this is my referral link and when you use it you get $5 (offer could change at any time, certain terms apply).
16. Free Gift Cards For Walking Into A Store
Shopkick–There are several ways to earn gift cards with Shopkick, but my favorite way to earn is through their walk-in points. Simply open the app while you walk into a qualifying store and earn points. For more ways to earn, check out my post all about Shopkick here.
17. Free Gift Cards For Submitting Receipts
Receipt Hog–Receipt Hog has to be the easiest money earning app to use out there. Simply upload a receipt and earn spins or coins. You can upload all kinds of receipts, including those for restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and more. Earn free spins when you use my referral code YECT1667 when signing up.
Fetch Rewards–Fetch Rewards is another super simple app to use. Upload your grocery receipts and earn points. Earn additional points when you buy products from a select list of brands. Use my referral code RE9FU at sign-up and receive 1,500 points when you complete one receipt (that puts you halfway to your first cash out right there).
18. Free Paperback Books
My Reader Rewards Club–If you love Christian fiction or nonfiction, you need to join My Reader Rewards Club. You get free hold-in-your-hand paperback (and occasionally hardcover) books delivered to your door for free–you don’t even need to pay shipping. To earn points to cash in for the books you can take short surveys, sign up for their birthday club, sign up for email devotionals, review Tyndale and NavPress books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Christian Book Distributors, and share referral links. Here is my referral link. When you use it to sign up, you start your account with 25 points.
Little Free Library–Have you ever seen what looks like an elaborate mailbox full of books–that is quite possibly a Little Free Library. I love the Little Free Library program! Once I am finished reading the books I earn from My Reader Rewards Club, I put them in a bag in the back of my car. When I spot a Little Free Library box, I take a book or two that I want and replace them with the books I have already read.
If you have a child in the age range of birth to five you are going to want to check out Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program–members receive one free, high-quality children’s book a month.
19. Free Magazines For Learning About The Environment
I have received several free magazines every month through being an active member of RecycleBank. The program is simple, take a few minutes to learn environmental education and earn points that you can cash in for magazine subscriptions. It doesn’t take long to earn them either. Go here to sign up for RecycleBank.
20. Free Gift Cards For Surfing The Web
Join one of these programs below and download their search toolbars or search the web from their search areas within their home pages and earn points. It is that simple. These three programs also have several other simple ways to earn points that will help you earn a few gift cards each month.
Swagbucks–Last time I counted there were over 25 ways to earn points through Swagbucks–searching the web is just one of those ways. Go here to sign up for Swagbucks.
MyPoints—My favorite no-brainer way to earn points through MyPoints (in addition to performing web searches) is by clicking the emails they send you. Each one is only worth 5 points, but those few points slowly start to add up until they equal a cash out earned through very little time spent. Go here to sign up for MyPoints.
InstaGC-–The Insta stands for instant and that is one thing I like about InstaGC. The other thing I like is low cash out values. If you only have 100 points, you can still get a $1 instant Amazon gift card code (most other gift card options start at $5 and up). Go here to sign up for InstaGC.
For further help using these point programs read these articles:
- 10 Simple Ways To Earn Gift Cards With Swagbucks
- How To Earn Gift Cards With Mypoints
- My Favorite Ways To Earn Gift Cards With InstaGC
21. Free Food At Restaurants
I wrote a piece that shares over 50 apps for different restaurants that you can use to score free food!
You might also want to check out my list of free birthday offers for foodies.
22. Free Coupons
You do not need to buy the Sunday paper to receive free coupons, there are several online printable coupon sites where you can snag free coupons to help reduce your grocery budget.
23. Free Fruit
Here is a really cool freebie site for those who love fresh fruit. Falling Fruit shares areas where free fruit and berries still on the tree or bush has been found. I couldn’t figure out how up-to-date the listings are, but if there is one near you, it would be worth a shot to try it and see if it works.
24. Free Hotel Stays
If you use Hotels.com to book your hotel rooms, make sure to sign up for their free rewards program so you can earn a free night after every tenth paid night.
If you tend to use the same hotel chain over and over make sure to sign up for their rewards program, most have one.
25. Free Lodging
Couchsurfing–I recently read an ebook by a gal who has used Couchsurfing several times in her travels to find free lodging with great success. I don’t know if I would be brave enough, but I am an introvert and I think Couchsurfing is more for brave extroverts.
Try HouseSitting–People actually pride themselves on being professional house sitters. Those that do live virtually rent free and get to experience new areas and neighborhoods often. Now you do have to pay a fee to join some of these sites, but you easily make that fee up with one housesitting gig. You should also expect that most jobs will require you to perhaps care for the owners pet or other responsibilities while the owners are away.
Trustedhousesitters.com–This is geared for house sitters who love animals as the jobs include not just housesitting but caring for the owner’s pets while they are away. There is a $119 sign-up fee.
House Carers–I couldn’t find a fee for signing up as a house sitter, but I could have missed it.
Mind My House–The fee is just $20 to join this house sitting site.
Nomador–The fee is $89 for this house sitting site.
26. Free Campsites
Recently my husband and I converted our minivan into a minivan camper for weekend trips. Since then we have dived deep into the world of free camping and it is a big world full of fabulous views. These apps and websites listed below are all free and can help you discover thousands of free campsites across North America. They also list paid campgrounds.
Campendium–a website and an app.
iOverlander–a website and an app.
RVParky–a website and an app.
Free Campsites–a website.
AllStays–has a free website and an app that you have to pay for.
27. Free Tours
Are you traveling to a popular tourist destination and would love a guided tour. Check to see if you can find a free one first.
iAudioguide.com–offers hundreds of downloadable audio city guides and many are free.
Global Greeter Network–Local volunteers willing to show you around their city for free.
And if you are into factory tours, check out this state by state listing of factory tours, most of which appear to be free.
28. Free Passport Photos
These services are free to use and help you take a proper passport photo. Of course, you need to pay the picture developing fees.
epassportphoto.com–offers hints for taking a good photo. Will help you crop your photo to the right dimensions for the needs of your country’s passport. They also offer a premium service for a low fee that will review your photo to see if it meets passport standards.
Passport Booth–plain and simple service, take a picture in the app and email it or download it so you can get it developed.
29. Free Paper Shredding Events
Our family has a paper shredder that has served us well for years, but sometimes you have so much to shred that it would be too time-consuming to do it with a home-sized paper shredder.
Call your local municipalities and see if they offer a free mass shredding event, many do. If yours doesn’t, check out Shred-it’s listing of free community events.
30. Free Phone Calls
If you use a budget-priced smartphone service like Ting, you may find yourself wanting to reduce talk minutes to save money. Here are two apps that can help you do just that. Of course, for this idea to work both you and the person you want to call have to have an account at the app you choose to use. These services are also a great way to eliminate long distance calling bills.
Skype–can be used on your computer or your phone.
Viber–can be used on your computer or your phone.
Whatsup–can be used on your computer or your phone.
And while we are on the topic of smartphones, our family uses and loves Ting! Not only does their customer service rock, but by using Ting we manage to keep our smartphone bills just under $20 per phone! Use my referral link to sign up for Ting and get $25 off a new phone or as credit towards your bill (offer could change at any time).
31. Free Texts
I use Facebook and Instagram messaging a lot to save money on texts or to text my friends and family that live in another country. I also have an iPhone so if I am on wifi, I use the message app to text other iPhone users for free. However, if you have an Android phone and don’t like social media, then these free texting apps will be a better fit for you.
Textfree–can be used on your computer or your phone.
32. Free Digital Storage Space
Need a place to store backups of PDFs and other files securely in case of computer failure or theft? Here are two free spots.
Google Drive–offers 15 GB of digital storage free. I am a huge fan of Google Drive as well as Google Photos where you can store backups of all the photos taken on your phone.
Dropbox–offers only 2 GB of storage free, but if you refer friends you get extra free storage, here is my referral link if you feel like sharing some referral love.
33. Free Photo Prints And Photobooks
Shutterfly often gives free codes away, here is a post I wrote that shares where you can find free Shutterfly codes.
34. Free Tools Available To Borrow
I found two auto parts stores that allow you to borrow tools for free. The terms of these programs differ, you may be asked to put down a deposit or pay a fee that will be returned to you when you return the tools in good working order.
Advance Auto Parts–enter loaner tools into the search bar of their website and that should take you to the landing page for their loaner tools program.
AutoZone–enter Loan-A-Tool into the search bar of their website, and you should be automatically taken to the landing page for their Loan-A-Tool program.
35. Free Makeup
If you love makeup, both of these companies listed below offer a reward program that has a free birthday makeup treat.
Sephora–the program is called Beauty Insider.
Ulta–the program is called Ultamate Rewards.
36. Free Samples For A Variety Of Products
When I was researching this article I found plenty of free sample companies, but not all of them looked reputable. So I decided to list only the ones I have used with success. If you have used others, feel free to list them in the comment section and I will try them out and add them if I find they work.
I have used and been very happy with PinchMe for years now. They offer a Sample Tuesday once a month where you can sign up for up to four samples if you qualify. To increase your chances of qualifying, make sure to fill out your profile fully and when you get your sample box make sure to complete the reviews for them. You can sign up for PinchMe here.
The websites Money Saving Mom and Freebies4Mom offer listings for free samples frequently. I have signed up for samples from both of these sites. A few have never arrived, but most do and really it isn’t the blogger’s fault when they don’t, they have no control over it.
Another sample company I am a member at is Daily Goodie Box, but I am still waiting to qualify for a box. I have seen reviews of people who have though and wow! The boxes are packed with great samples–some full sized. You can sign up for Daily Goodie Box here.
37. A Variety Of Free Items
If you live in a larger urban center, check either of these websites below for free listings. I have a cousin who once got enough free yarn to keep her mom scarf knitting for a year or two from FreeCycle–so yes, people do list usable items on these free sites.
38. Host Swap Parties For Free Items
Swap parties bond thrifty families together. You can swap clothing, Halloween costumes, home decor and much more.
Here are two articles I have written that share more swap party ideas:
- 10 Money Saving Swap Parties Thrifty People Throw
- 7 Christmas Themed Swap-It Parties That Will Save You Money
39. Free Word Processing Software
I use the free Apache OpenOffice for making the simple, free printables that I use to keep my everyday life organized. I use Google Drive to keep my blog business organized.
40. Free Budgeting Software
I am a simple printable, a pen and calculator kind of gal, but if you prefer a computer software-based budgeting system, Mint is free.
41. Free Tax Software
Please note that free tax software is generally for super simple tax returns only and often only cover federal tax returns. One to try is the TurboTax–free edition.
42. Free Car Rental
If you have an excellent driving record, then you might want to check out Auto Driveaway (a vehicle transport company) before you rent your next car. Sign up to be a driver and you might find a vehicle that needs to be delivered to your desired destination.
43. Free Comic Books
The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book day where comic book stores give away comics to their customers. Go to freecomicbookday.com for details.
44. Free Treasure Hunting
Download the free Geocaching app to your phone and then get out there and treasure hunt.
45. Free Personality Testing
I took the free personality testing at 16 Personalities and found out I am an Advocate (INFJ -A/-T). Not sure what to do with the results yet, but when I read the description I felt it was pretty accurate to who I am.
46. Free Coloring Sheets
I researched free coloring sheets and found there are dozens of sites, but the most well-known site I found was Crayola. You will find the free coloring sheets under the Coloring & Crafts tab. They offer a great selection of free downloadable coloring sheets for children and adults.
47. Free eCards
DaySpring provides a large selection of free eCards that you can email to loved ones. You can also share them on Facebook and Twitter. They have a free ecard to cover just about every occasion.
48. Free Patterns
Do you want a sewing pattern? Check out Free Needle.
Do you want to knit something new? Look through the free knitting patterns available at Love Knitting.
Do you love to quilt? Find your next quilting pattern for free over at Free Quilt Patterns.
Wanting to try a new craft? Joann’s offers a wide variety of free patterns and tutorials.
49. Free Trials
Of course, if you decide to extend your membership beyond free trial offers, you will be spending money. However, I decided to include free trials on this list because they are a great way to try out services to see if they would be a thrifty fit for your family. For instance, our daughter, who is homeschooled, currently needs a few more electives for her high school diploma so we are thinking of signing up for a 7 day free trial of Bluprint to see if their art and fitness classes can help her reach those goals. If we find that Bluprint’s classes are in-depth enough to qualify for high school credit, then the $120 a year subscription price ($10 a month) is a thrifty win –as art lessons cost $40 or more a month in our area and are hard to work into our schedule. So sometimes taking advantage of free trials, even if you keep the product afterward, can be a smart money move. Now on to the list of free trials.
50. Free Store Credit
These store credits are going to save you some money off your first order, but they won’t lead to 100% free orders. Still, discounts are always nice, especially when you can get them on items you really need like clothes, food and personal products, which are things most of these companies below sell. These are all referral links, meaning you have to use the link to get the deal. When you do use it, you get the money towards your first order and I get some type of kickback on my next order. Please note that these offers could change at anytime.
ThredUp–use my referral link and get $10 off your first order.
PoshMark–enter the referral code SNAILPACER and get $5 off your first order.
Boxed.com–use my referral link and get $15 off your first order of $60 or more.
Hollar–get a $2 credit when you use my referral link and take the time to fill out your account in full.
Schoola–get $10 off your first order when you use my referral link.
Ting–use my referral link and get $25 off a new device or in Ting credit.
SkillShare–get two free months of premium membership free when you use my referral link, that is a $30 value.
Okay–I know I missed a lot of free resources out there, so if you know of other great free resources, please share them in the comments section.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
3 More Money-Saving Posts You Are Going To Want To Read:
- Live BIG On Little Cash With These 100 Ways To Save Money
- 41 Websites And Apps Thrifty People Use And Love
- 15 Websites And Apps You Can Use To Earn Gift Cards
Interested in saving or earning money? Join my Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook group.
My book Thrifty & Thriving: More Life For Less Money is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.