Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Free Stuff

I am a big fan of free stuff.  I was particularly happy to come across this list on reddit today.   My top ten favorite free things (which can be used for prepping or just every day use):

  1. Our library system.  I've downloaded thousands of free Kindle books, watched hundreds of movies, read tons of books, attended lectures/performance/classes at the library and they still seem to come up with even more great (free) stuff all the time.  All this with a free library card.
  2. OTA antennas.  Initially you pay for the digital OTA antenna (about $20 for each TV) but once you pay for the antenna you get free TV forever.  We get about 50+ free channels on our TVs and haven't had cable for years.
  3. Apps.  My free banking app saves me gas and time by allowing for mobile deposits.  Broadcastify provides free live fire/EMS/police feeds without having to buy a HAM radio.  The GPS app on your phone means you don't need to buy a stand-alone device.
  4. Birthday freebies.  By spending a couple of minutes signing up for assorted "birthday clubs" you will be rewarded handsomely on your birthday with more free stuff than you can possibly eat.  Obviously use a free, separate email account for this as you will receive a ton of spam but the week before your birthday you will see the free coupons piling in.
  5. Free stuff based on something about yourself.  Fourth graders get a free National Park Pass, the County Assessor offers a number of exemption programs if you fall into a specific category (this is free money to put towards your car tabs, property tax, etc).  Other cities and counties offer similar programs.  Veterans often get free stuff on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
  6. Free tourist attractions.  The first thing I usually do when planning a vacation is to Google "free attractions in" whatever city we are going to.  This saves a lot of money on our vacations and we have seen some pretty great things, all at no cost.  Here is an example of free attractions in Las Vegas.
  7. Foraging for free stuff.  Whether it is picking huckleberries in the mountains or blackberries around the city when they are in season, dumpster diving, picking up reusable/re-sellable items from people's curb-side trash piles, or hitting up Freecycle, there are a lot of good things that people throw out that can be had for free.
  8. Free stuff from credit cards.  So far this year I got 50,000 air miles for applying for an AmEx card (that was used for four free flights), $150 back after spending $500 from another card, a $40 credit at REI from using their card, and an unknown amount of money as "cash back" bonuses from other credit cards.  Of course I always pay the cards off each month and only use them to buy things I would otherwise buy with cash and things that are needed.
  9. Random freebies.  By checking a couple of links each day (examples here and here) I've come across some pretty great deals on all kinds of stuff.
  10. Kind of free stuff.  If you are going to do something that costs money anyway, you might as well sign up for some bonuses that go along with it.  Play poker (or other games) in a casino?  Get comps for food and other casino items.  Stay at hotels often?  Sign up for their rewards program and get some free night stays.  Buy a lot of office supplies?  Office Depot, Staples, and Best Buy all have rewards-type programs.

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