No need to spend your hard-earned money on food, haircuts, and more when you can get it all for free! FIRST polled the pros for tricks to save hundreds.
1. Set alerts on Craigslist.
“Your local Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace pages can yield lots of fruitful results. Simply set up alerts for specific items you’re looking for. Then, when an item that matches your alert is posted, you’ll get an email. You just want to be sure to act fast since most items get snapped up quickly. You’d be surprised what you can find — everything from appliances to home décor, clothes, and more.” — Dustyn Ferguson, money-saving expert at DimeWillTell
2. Receive presents on your birthday.
“Your birthday is one of the best times to nab freebies! At Ulta, you get a free beauty item and earn double points your whole birthday month, which you can use for a future purchase. Starbucks also offers a free birthday drink if you sign up for their rewards program. Just be sure to sign up well before the big day.” — Sara Skirboll, shopping expert for RetailMeNot
3. Cash in at your favorite restaurants.
“Restaurant chains like Outback, TGI Friday’s, Red Robin, and California Pizza Kitchen will give you a free appetizer or meal when you sign up for their loyalty program or download their app to your phone. By being on the list, you’re privy to lots of special discounts. Many restaurants also let kids eat for free — no membership required — on certain nights of the week. Just do a quick online search to see which places near you offer free kids meals.” — Trae Bodge, money-saving expert at True Trae
4. Score a professional haircut.
“You can get free haircuts and hair care just by being a hair model. Check out sites like SalonApprentice.com or go to Craigslist, click on the beauty category and search ‘hair model.’ Lots of opportunities will come up for salons or beauty schools near you that will give free haircuts, blowouts or color — it can end up saving you $30 or more per haircut.” — Marilyn Anderson, author of How to Live Like a Millionaire When You’re a Million Short ($19.95, Amazon)
5. Check out introductory deals.
“Companies work hard to get your business for the first time, then hope you love them and come back for more. And you can find amazing deals by searching online for ‘free introductory offer.’ Eyeglasses are a great example: I got a free pair of Nine West frames, which can cost more than $100, at Coastal. Before you take advantage of these offers, check the company’s rating at the Better Business Bureau or do a web search of the website name and the word ‘reviews’ to make sure they’re legitimate.” — Carrie Rocha, founder of Pocket Your Dollars
6. Sign up to sample beauty products.
“There are tons of ways to find free personal-care products. For example, you can sign up for Jergens’ email list to receive free samples, offers and promotions. Or you can become a ‘Beauty Insider’ at Sephora to receive free beauty classes and other perks. Plus, the site has a whole section of gifts with purchase under ‘Beauty Offers,’ where you can get deluxe trial sizes, full-size products, or travel sets as gifts with a purchase.” — Chelsea Hudson, savings expert at TopCashback
7. Trade your opinion for no-cost travel.
“Most people wouldn’t believe all the free things — vacations around the world, concert tickets, five-star dinners, massages, and more — I’ve gotten over the past 14 years, thanks to mystery shopping! To find reputable companies to work for, visit the Independent Mystery Shopper’s Coalition or the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. To avoid getting scammed, never apply to companies that charge a fee just to apply. To get started, you simply fill out an application online. Mystery shopping lets me travel the world and live the high-life on a low-budget.” — Jennifer Hayes, coauthor of How to Become a Mystery Shopper ($9.99, Amazon)
8. Follow your favorite companies.
“It pays to follow your favorite brand on social media. Or just search a hashtag like #freebie or #freestuff and see what pops up. For example, HydroFlask asked followers to tag their best friend for a chance to win a pair of insulated water bottles on Instagram. You can also follow Twitter accounts that only tweet freebies, like Hey, It's Free!” — Chelsea Hudson
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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