15 things you can always get free

By Lindsay Sakraida

Few things are more thrilling for a deal shopper than getting something for free. In fact, freebie deals are often the most popular offers on our DealNews site. We can always count on a wide range of product categories to be flush with free-of-charge promotions.

But while we see some of these freebies regularly, the obvious caveat is that they might not be exactly the items you want when you want them. If you're open-minded and patient, you're bound to always find free things you'll like.

Check out the list of categories below, and then be sure to also visit our freebies hub, which has all our resources for finding free deals year-round.

MP3 downloads

Getting a full album for free can be difficult, but with the number of music credit freebies we see bundled with Amazon deals, you should be able to amass a stockpile of credits to purchase a number of MP3 downloads that tempt you. Plus, Amazon and other vendors tend to distribute select free songs on a daily basis.

Sometimes a band just releases content for free of their own accord, and there are plenty of free ways to stream music, if you don't mind listening to ads.

A month of Amazon Prime

While you can't get a full Prime subscription for free, Amazon is very generous when it fails to deliver packages on time to Prime users. If the store is even a few hours past its "guaranteed delivery date," you can email customer service, and Amazon will add an extra month of Prime to your account for free. We've tested it ourselves, and many of our readers have had a similar experience. So, it pays to keep a close eye on those delivery times.

Unfortunately, it seems that as awareness of this feature has grown, Amazon has become less generous with the free months of Prime, and has even suspended some users over "Prime abuse." So be warned.

Smartphone apps

Free apps are everywhere. In fact, we round them up every day! And while some are more enticing than others, at some point even the typically expensive titles see a temporary price drop. If you're particular, set up an email alert and wait patiently for the app of your choosing to fall in price.

Magazine subscriptions

Companies want to know more about you so they can market to you. If you're willing to give up some information about yourself -- like your career title or location -- you can get a free year's subscription to a variety of magazines. In recent months alone, we've seen popular titles like Taste of Home, Family Circle, Field & Stream and more, all for free.

Books

Besides going to the library (which is obviously the first place to start for free books), there are lots of ways to get free digital titles. You can find fiction in various ways, including browsing through Project Gutenberg (which has more than 54,000 free eBooks), or downloading the Free Books app for iOS and Android devices. And of course, we list free eBooks on a regular basis here at DealNews.

If you've got bookcases full of physical books that you'd like to swap out, sites such as PaperBack Swap and BookMooch allow you to mail your books to members who request them, and then you can request books from others. The more books you give, the more you can receive. These sites are free to join, but the sender does pay postage.

Antivirus software

We regularly see Newegg offer free antivirus software. The caveat is that you must buy it, and then redeem a rebate to make it free. Paperwork is a small price to pay in the pursuit of a good deal. If you're averse to rebates, there are also always-free options like Avira.

Movies and TV

While cutting the cable cord entirely may not be for you, there are definitely ways to consume movies and TV without paying a cent. Naturally, you could check out the offerings at your library, and if you have an Amazon Prime subscription already, there's a wealth of content at your fingertips.

Moreover, keep an eye out for free movie screenings in your area. Large studios will frequently try to give a film early buzz by showing it for free. Additionally, Fandango frequently offers buy-one-get-one-free ticket deals for certain credit cardholders. And now that it's summertime, many parks nationwide have regular movie nights scheduled.

Road trips

If you want to take a drive across the country, but haven't got any wheels (and don't want to rent a car), websites like Auto Driveaway will help you find a car to drive for someone who's moving and doesn't want to drive their own car. For the return trip, find a car to drive back or book a cheap flight home. It's a great way to see the country if you have the time.

Photo prints

While they might not always come in the exact dimensions you'd like, you can pretty regularly find some sort of freebie photo print deal from the likes of SnapfishWalgreensCVS and Shutterfly. Note that shipping may tack on a small fee.

Dining out with kids

Many restaurants offer free meals for kids if they're accompanied by a paying adult. However, some do so only on certain nights, so it's worth checking MyKidsEatFree.com to find restaurants in your area that offer free kids' meals. (This site could also be handy for diners without kids who want to make sure they don't go out when a crowd of children is likely to arrive.)

Food for everyone else

Did you know that Aug. 3 is National Watermelon Day? Or that June 2 was National Donut Day? Almost every day of the year is some type of national food day, and certain restaurants regularly offer deals for diners. While you might not be able to score freebies regularly enough to avoid ever paying for food, you can certainly get at least monthly free food, drinks and the like.

Birthday treats

It's a given that your friends should buy your drinks on your birthday. But before you get to the bar, keep in mind that plenty of businesses offer free things on your special day as well. The trick is to plan ahead and hit as many of them as you can. Check out our birthday freebies master list to find what's free near you.

Travel-size toiletries

Many health and beauty companies offer free samples, and like free magazines, you'll have to offer up some personal information to get the goods. Keep an eye out for free samples from Target and Walmart because we often see complimentary toiletries and the like from these merchants.

Individual brands also offer free samples of new products they're trying to promote. But if you want to skip the customary six to eight weeks for delivery, you can instead scout out free samples at drugstore counters and Sephora.

Shipping

While you can't always wait around for free shipping when a special promotion is on the table, everyday orders that aren't time sensitive can benefit from waiting for a shipping discount. We frequently see a variety of popular vendors offer some sort of shipping deal, which makes it hard to justify spending your cash on the service for an average order.

Everything else

As a society, we often dispose of perfectly good items in the pursuit of finding something newer or better. So before you make any large purchases, be sure to check Craigslist and Freecycle for free goods.

Often, people just don't want to make the effort to move or properly trash things, so you can sometimes get something substantial -- like a wardrobe or shelving unit -- without paying a dime. It goes without saying though that you should make sure any and all items are in good shape first -- you don't want to be hauling away another person's junk, even if it is free.

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