The 22 most unknown FREE things anyone can have.

Conventional wisdom holds that you only get what you pay for, but the real free geek knows that with the right knowledge (and maybe a charming smile) pretty much anything, even the good stuff, can be had for less or in the best case scenarios nothing at all. Despite this, there are a number of things out there that don’t seem to scream “free” majority of the time (MIT being one). Here’s a list of a few free things that might surprise you.

  1. Classes at MIT If you’ve ever wanted to know what it feels like to get a first class nerd education but never had the money or the grades, MIT offers a majority of its curriculum (graduate and undergraduate) online free of charge. On the downside, the quantum physics class you decide to take won’t count for any actual college credit, but free education is free education whether you get credit or not.
  2. Language Lessons The world is an increasingly smaller place, and the ability to communicate in a language other than your native tongue is an increasingly valuable skill to add to your resume. There are a number of resources available on the web to help you learn languages (everything from French to Urdu) via Podcasts. A good one to try is the BBC. There, you can brush up on your Spanish or learn something a more complicated. Best of all, you can load it onto your MP3 player and take it with you to listen to while you’re driving to work or running errands.
  3. Business Education Learning to run your own business can be a trying experience, but you can get a little help and advice for free from the Small Business Administration. Local business centers offer classes that can teach you how to write a business plan or even how to take care of all the tax details associated with business ownership.
  4. Computer Classes Technology changes so fast these days it can be hard to keep up. There is a solution to at least some of your computer and gadget illiteracy woes, however. Apple stores nationwide offer workshops on a variety of (Apple) software and hardware techniques as well as some computer basics. The classes might not do you a lot of good, however, if you don’t own any Apple products.
  5. Museum Admission Going to a museum can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re trying to bring a family along. Many museums offer free days or hours, especially during the summer (like the Art Institute of Chicago summer programs). Why pay $20 to see a Van Gogh when you can study his work for free?
  6. Concerts, Movies and Shows Many communities offer a wide variety of free entertainment through local park districts and organizations. While it may not always be the hottest new feature, taking advantage of free entertainment can be a great and cheap way to spend an evening. Many large cities, like Chicago, show series of movies for free during the summer in the parks. You can bring a picnic, refreshing beverages, and enjoy the weather and scenery along with your free movie. Check your local park district’s website to see if there are any events in your area. Certain reward credit cards can get you free VIP access to certain events as well.
  7. Pets Choosing to adopt or buy a pet can be a potentially costly endeavor, but there are ways to get around at least some of the initial costs. Sites like Craigslist and PetFinder often offer pets for free. You can find great animals whose owners can no longer keep them do to allergies or living situations. Make sure to meet the animal before you commit to taking it home, though, as not all posters might be as honest as they should be about the temperament of the cat or dog.
  8. Gym Membership While more long-term solutions to free gym membership may be more complicated, you can get free passes to visit almost any gym in your area. Beware, however, that you might end up listening to their spiel to sell you on a pricier membership plan. If you aren’t pained by the idea of a sales pitch, you could theoretically shop around at every gym in town to maintain the free access for several weeks, depending upon the size of your town. The best time for free trials is at the beginning of the year, as many people want to make good on their New Year’s resolutions.
  9. Photo Prints Many online photo album services not only allow you to share your photos with family and friends through the internet but they’ll give you free prints of your photos as well. Check out Snapfish, Kodak, dotphoto
    and Adorama to see about getting free prints when you sign up. Sometimes you can get anywhere from 15 to 50 prints of your photos depending on the site and the time of year when you register. The photos aren’t entirely free, however, as you do have to pay for shipping; but it’s considerably cheaper than having all those prints made at your local photo store, and usually amounts to mere pennies for each photo.
  10. 411 Service Need directory information but don’t want to pay for it? Simply dial 800-373-3411 (800-FREE-411).
    You’ll get free directory assistance from your cell or land line. The catch is, however, that you do have to listen to a short (only 20 seconds) ad before you can ask your question, but really, that’s a small price to pay for a free service.
  11. Phone Calls If your long distance charges are getting you down, stop using your phone to make calls and start using your computer. Sign up for Skype or Gizmo Project and you can make computer-to-computer calls for free to anywhere in the world. Hook up your Webcam and you’ll have an instant videophone.
  12. Email Reminders Have a terrible memory? Never forget a birthday again by using a free email reminder system like Memo to Me. Simply give them the date you want to remember and your email address and the system will send you a note that will gently remind you to remember your anniversary. Of course, you do have to remember to check your email in order for this to work. If you want to take preemptive action, you can also pick out free eCards to be sent at a later date. Hallmark carries a great collection of free cards, but you can also try out Hipster Cards or CardCow.
  13. Ice Cream There is nothing that cures a craving for Chunky Monkey except some actual Chunky Monkey. One glorious day out of the year you can eat all the Ben & Jerry’s you want and not spend a dime. That’s right, Ben & Jerry’s worldwide has a free cone day. The best part is that there is no limit, so you can come back for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  14. Used Books For some people (myself included), buying books is a ridiculous obsession. To find a way to somehow acquire more books for less money is a book lover’s dream. Try out PaperBackSwap or Title Trader. Both operate on
    the principle where you list books you don’t want (that horrible Oprah book club one you’re ashamed to have sitting on the shelf) and then wait for someone to request it. Once someone’s laid claim to it, you simply mail it out and you’re given credit towards getting a book you really want. You will have to pay for shipping your old books out, but on paperbacks it isn’t much and you won’t have to hunt through dusty bins to find the book you want in return.
  15. Household Items Have some junk lying around the house thatyou don’t want anymore? List it on Freecycle, a nonprofit community group that encourages users to give away old items instead of throwing them away. You can clean out your old stuff and replace it with new stuff for free. If you see a listing you want, simply respond to it. Keep
    in mind, however, that you are responsible for transporting, shipping, or picking up the items you want.
  16. Makeup Want to try out movie star makeup without having to pay movie star prices? Many beauty supply stores will give you free samples of their products to take home with you. Some stores, like Sephora, will offer a generous sample of almost anything in the store to try it out. This free supply might not last forever, but you can look good for at least a little while!
  17. Face Cream Want to prevent wrinkles without giving yourself new ones when you think about the cost of your face cream? Many department store brands will give away free samples if you ask nicely enough, but Oil of Olay has a sample program where you can try out their products for free. Any Oil of Olay fan knows that a little bit of this product goes a long way, so this is a great deal.
  18. Good Samples While it does require a bit of a time investment on your part, you have potential to get some decent free samples from product surveys. Programs like E-poll and American Consumer Opinion will send you samples of everything from spaghetti sauce to toilet paper to get your opinion on those products. Urban legends even tell of those lucky few who got free TVs to try out (don’t bank on this when you sign up).
  19. Comic Books For comic book geeks out there, I have something for you as well. At the beginning of May (the event was held on the 5th this year) you can head into your local comic book retailer and pick up some free comics. The titles range from Spiderman to Gumby, but with almost 30 different titles there should be at least something that you can enjoy for the summer.
  20. CPR Courses You may not think you’ll ever have a time in your life when you’ll need to know CPR, but it’s really better to be safe than sorry when it comes to first aid treatment. You can take free CPR classes through many local hospitals, fire departments, or even online. It might sound like a boring way to spend your evening, but your efforts could save a life.
  21. Legal Music Not all music available for download online is illegal, though you do have to be careful about what you choose. Many artists contribute songs intended for free download so that they can expand their audience. Check out this list of sites that offer free music. There is bound to be something that will pique your interest, and possibly open your eyes to new music you didn’t know about, without making you get out your MasterCard.
  22. Coffee Your morning pick-me-up can be a little cheaper at least a few days a year by taking advantage of free coffee. Starbucks sponsors the Starbucks Coffee Break on March 15th, when they offer free coffee between 10-12 am. If you’re lucky and Starbucks is generous, pastries may be available for sampling as well.

While not everything you want can always be free, there are a lot of free things out there for the taking if you know when to go and where. So take advantage of this list, and start getting all the free stuff you deserve (you’ve worked hard for it).



Koka Sexton

Koka Sexton is a renowned expert in social selling. Some would say Koka Sexton is the reason social selling exists, he would say that social selling existed once buyers went online. A recognized expert in social selling that has produced revenue for B2B companies, Koka continues to make generating new business the focus of social media. Finding creative ways to plan, develop and execute content marketing campaigns that break through the noise and provide value to buyers in excess of what they expect.

43 thoughts on “The 22 most unknown FREE things anyone can have.

  • February 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm
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    Great list with all the details! Some of these I never thought of!

    Thanks!

  • February 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm
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    Instead of using 1-800-FREE-411, use Google’s 411 service, which is free and completely without ads: 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-4664-411)

  • February 7, 2009 at 10:05 pm
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    1800 goog 411 doesn’t make you listen to ads, and they connect the call for you.

  • February 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm
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    Note on #10: I’ve never tried that particular phone number, but I do know that 1(800)466-411 (GOOG-411) works, with no ads. It’s on my speed dial as a token of my love for Google. Not really, but yeah.

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  • February 7, 2009 at 11:31 pm
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    This is a great list! I knew about a few of these, but I’m quite surprised at how many I had never run across. Another great one is Google’s 411 service.

    800.GOOG.411

  • February 8, 2009 at 9:53 am
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    Great list, Koka. One site I would mention for the book lovers out there is half.com (owned by eBay). You can buy and sell your books, DVD’s and CD’s on there using similar principles to eBay, plus other options, all while using your PayPal account. I’ve bought and sold entire collections using this site. Another great way to get free money, or money back, is by using ebates.com as a portal for all of your online shopping. It adds up over time…

  • February 9, 2009 at 3:11 pm
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    damn woman you nuts if you think shit is free

  • February 10, 2009 at 3:15 am
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    Some good stuff there. I knew about most but Freecylce sounds interesting!

    You did however miss out getting money for free through referrals to companies such as HSBC or Sky. Great way to get stuff free. Works for me!

    :-)

  • February 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm
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    DAMN WOMAN YOU NUTS IF YOU THINK SHIT IS FREE

  • February 11, 2009 at 7:18 pm
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    I’ve used Freecycle now for about 5 years – It’s great, and it’s not just in large cities, either! I live in the middle of nowhere, Idaho, and there are four highly active Freecycle groups just within short driving distance of me. I furnished my first apartment after getting divorced through listings on freecycle :)

  • February 12, 2009 at 5:39 am
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    Try Yourdaily freebies. This is also an open forum to inform you of the free samples\’s, or discount del’s availability, and authintisity. Costs nothing to join, do not have to sign up for anything and the freebies, discounts and deals. Yo do have to register, with a password if you want to supply posts, or comments, or get on their forum, but again this is also free, and private. You use only screen names, and your web address is never posted. Truly awsome site, basically run by hundreds of thousands of web browsers like us.

  • February 12, 2009 at 5:42 am
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    Please forgive the spelling, and errors of the above submission, I type like a plucking chicken. Maybe I should try to find a free typing lesson site.

  • February 12, 2009 at 8:50 am
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    Thanks for the list, I always interested in buying used book, I often find some cool books.

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  • February 13, 2009 at 9:37 pm
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    Dude…. WTF… You’re missing the LIBRARY!

    Free everything! Books, CDs DVDs, audio books, downloadable ebooks, homework help, Internet…

  • February 28, 2009 at 7:36 pm
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    Great list, and your attitude to life, art and money makes you sound like an ideal sorealist!! Join our nascent movement koka

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  • March 21, 2009 at 8:46 pm
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    hey these r the 2 best get along twins

  • May 5, 2009 at 5:59 pm
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    I agree Google 411 is the best. I got tired of paying .75 cents a call. Charges were adding up.

  • July 17, 2009 at 3:16 am
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    Amazing! Don’t think they are free even know them before. Great list!

  • July 17, 2009 at 8:19 am
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    “..on March 15th, when they offer free coffee between 10-12 am…” shouldn’t you be in work already??

  • July 21, 2009 at 10:20 am
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    That’s why it’s called a Coffee Break :)

  • July 27, 2009 at 4:12 am
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    Regarding:

    Phone Calls If your long distance charges are getting you down, stop using your phone to make calls and start using your computer. Sign up for Skype or Gizmo Project and you can make computer-to-computer calls for free to anywhere in the world. Hook up your Webcam and you’ll have an instant videophone.

    why come back to computer when skype is available for phone and if you have wifi you can call free from phone. there r much other similar services tht offer calling wifi for free and that too through mobile. currently i am using vopium for tht purpose…you can download it from vopium.com/get-started

  • August 20, 2009 at 8:17 pm
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    Hehe. Now THIS is a list I like to see! I am an avid freebies lover so from my heart I thank you!

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  • November 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm
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    This is a great article for reference. I will be keeping these things in mind for the future. Thanks for sharing.

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  • November 13, 2015 at 9:26 am
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