Downloading materials takes minutes. This nonprofit community group with an environmental mission lets users “recycle” unwanted items by posting ads on local online bulletin boards. Rules vary.
Find Out More: http://www.kidsnightonbroadway.com/kids.php.
o Museum visits. LA Fitness, Bally Total Fitness, the Sports Club/LA, and Gold’s Gym have a range of free-trial offers, from one day to two weeks, for prospective members, as do many other gyms throughout the country. You can find witty and well-designed cards at www.hipstercards.com, vintage ones at www.cardcow.com, and photographic ones at ecard.digiart.ee.
(RealSimple.com) — Sometimes you get what you don’t pay for. Small Business Administration. A newsletter highlights new offerings, from Quantum Physics to American Women Authors.
Find Out More: www.benandjerrys.com for stores.
All About Personal Finance o Financial Planning o National Economy
What’s the Catch? The free-admission times tend to attract large crowds; expect long lines and less of an opportunity to get up close and personal with a Cézanne.
Find Out More: Check out the Web sites of your local museums.
o 800-FREE-411. On one day every year (this year, April 17), all of the more than 600 Ben & Jerry’s stores worldwide offer free cones, with no limit — eat all the Cherry Garcia you’d like.
o Procter & Gamble’s Home Made Simple and Tide e-newsletters (www.homemadesimple.com, www.tide.com) entitle you to discount coupons and new-product samples. Take advantage of free days, half days, and nights that take place weekly or monthly at various institutions throughout the United States.
o Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The ones below are legit. Instead of dialing 411 and being charged 50 cents to $1.50, call this service, from a cell or a landline, for free nationwide directory assistance.
What’s the Catch? Popular fiction moves fast, while classic and esoteric titles may stay put for months.
Find Out More: www.craigslist.org (click on your city, then on “Pets”), www.craigslist.org (click on “Classified Ads”).
What’s the Catch? If you don’t have DSL or a cable modem, it may be more cost-effective (money- and sanity-wise) to dial up the old-fashioned way.
o Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day. Unlike shelters, most of which charge a small adoption fee, these sites feature numerous free-pet notices posted by owners, usually as a result of an impending move or an allergic family member.
What’s the Catch? You’re responsible for getting the stuff home.
o Memo to Me. There are also classes on how to use Apple hardware, like iPods. PaperBackSwap.com involves only paperbacks, which keeps shipping cheap, usually about $1.60 per book. The BBC offers top-notch online and MP3 lessons in languages familiar and obscure, including French, German, Portuguese, Mandarin, Greek, and Urdu. Mail your book to the person and you’ll receive a credit to choose your own book. Some gym companies may require you to prove nearby residence with a driver’s license.
o Sephora stores (www.sephora.com for locations) offer generous samples from the more than 150 cosmetics lines they carry. Learn how to write a business plan, register your company, and deal with the tax details of running a home business at your local Women’s Business Center evening classes (men are welcome, too).
Find Out More: www.memotome.com.
Free household items
What’s the Catch? You often have to tour the health club with a sales representative, which sometimes takes as long as an hour. Apple gives excellent classes on business and entertainment software, music programs, and computer basics, all remarkably free of sales pitches. E-mail to a friend
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What’s the Catch? Tickets go very fast, especially for the most popular shows.. All rights reserved.
o Start Sampling (www.startsampling.com) connects manufacturers with consumers who test products. Avoid visits to the “belated birthday” or “so sorry I missed our anniversary” section of your local card store. Each recording includes convenient pauses for your side of the conversation.
Free phone services
Find Out More: Go to the gyms for details.
Find Out More: 800-373-3411 (800-FREE-411).
What’s the Catch? Many parents have been taking classes together for a while, so they can be quite chummy. There are also Kids’ Nights for nationally touring shows throughout the year.
What’s the Catch? You have to pay for shipping, which usually isn’t more than a few dollars.
o Adorama, Dotphoto, Kodak, Snapfish. Download and install free Skype software and call other Skype users, computer to computer, at no charge, anywhere in the world. FrenchPodClass has easy-to-use, enjoyable podcasts that allow you to learn French while you do errands or go for a run.
Find Out More: www.paperbackswap.com, www.titletrader.com.
What’s the Catch? There are often long lines, and popular flavors, like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, run out early.
Tip: E-cards have gotten less corny. As an observer, you might feel left out and too shy to participate fully.
What’s the Catch? Classes are one size fits all, which fast learners may find sluggish (and slow learners may find difficult).
o Programs from American Consumer Opinion and E-Poll (www.acop.com, www.epoll.com) allow users to take product surveys to get cash ($4 to $25 per survey), samples (ranging from pizza sauce to even the rare flat-screen TV), or points (which can be redeemed for gift cards from retailers such as Amazon.com and Target).
What’s the Catch? You have to listen to a 20- second ad before receiving your number.
Find Out More: https://www.dotphoto.com/join.asp http://www.snapfish.com/registration
Many free-product programs come with hidden costs. Just plug in your e-mail, choose a password, and program the events you need to be reminded of and when you need the reminders. Sign up for one and your in-box may be inundated, but there’s also an outside chance you’ll end up with a flat-screen TV.
Find Out More: http://www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html (click on “Local Resources” for a nearby center and for financial and marketing information).
What’s the Catch? There’s some innocuous advertising on the Web site.
Find Out More: http://www.musictogether.com/ClassLocator.aspx, http://www.musictogether.com/ClassLocator.aspx, http://www.musictogether.com/ClassLocator.aspx.
Find Out More: www.skype.com.
Free (and worth it) samples
o Skype. If you have a webcam, you can see whom you’re chatting with, too.
What’s the Catch? You need to know beforehand that you’ll want rescuing and you have to be willing to break social graces by taking a phone call in the middle of a meeting or lunch.
What’s the Catch? Not all the owners who post notices are as honest as you’d wish. Just ask and a salesperson will hand you a packaged sample or fill jars with requested products for free.
o Apple Stores. Out-of-control animals can be listed as “friendly and calm.”
o Craigslist Community Pet Listings, Petfinder.com. Whether it’s Grandma’s 80th or your own anniversary, no one wants to be the one who forgets.
What’s the Catch? Users can’t enroll, take classes on campus, or earn degrees.
What’s the Catch? All classes relate to (often pricey) Apple products.
o Kiehl’s (800-543-4572) hands out samples of every product it sells approximately 10 million giveaways a year. It’s a great way to introduce your little one to the experience before shelling out $135 to $255 for a full term (generally 10 to 12 weeks).
Free used books
Tip: To find out about free movies and concerts in your area, go to Yahoo or Google and type in the kind of entertainment, “free,” and the name of your city.
o The Freecycle Network. Get your geek on: MIT offers a far more comprehensive selection of free online courses than other universities — nearly its entire undergraduate and graduate curriculum. Memo to Me reminds you before the event. TitleTrader also lists DVDs, CDs, and VHS cassettes and can rack up higher costs with heavy hardbacks, though shipping rarely tops $4 at the book rate.
Copyright 2007 Time Inc. Here are nearly two dozen of the best freebies and — most important — how to score them.
o The Popularity Dialer. If you see a chair or a computer that you’d like, respond to the ad. Once a year (this year it was in late January), children ages 6 to 18 can experience the Great White Way for free with a full-paying adult. Type in your demographic information and you’ll see a screen listing your free-sample options — everything from cleaning products to Harlequin romance novels to toiletries.
Find Out More: http://www.apple.com/retail/ (click on “Visit an Apple store”).
o BBC, FrenchPodClass. Or call Kiehl’s and tell the operator what you’d like to try and the company will send you up to three samples.
o Health-club trials.
o Kids’ Night on Broadway. The site is a great way to acquire a perfectly good coffeemaker or piano while doing your part to reduce waste.
Find Out More: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html
What’s the Catch? Novices and more advanced learners share the same classroom.
Find Out More: www.freecycle.org to find a group.
o PaperBackSwap.com, TitleTrader. These three companies all offer a complimentary peek at exactly what baby music classes entail (hint: plenty of drumbeating, rattle shaking, and scarf throwing). Request samples at a Kiehl’s store (where the selection is usually larger) or a Kiehl’s counter in a department store. While some museums don’t charge an admission fee, others can cost $20 and up (more than a movie!). Most of the company’s stores — there are more than 170 — offer several classes a day.
Find Out More: www.popularitydialer.com.
o Oil of Olay’s sample program (www.olay.com; click on “Samples & Offers”) gives away small sizes of its newest products.
o Music Together, Music for Aardvarks, Gymboree. List the books that you’d like to get rid of, then wait for someone to request one, which can take as little as eight minutes. Want to flee that meeting? Get out of lunch after an hour? The Web-based Popularity Dialer can place one of five fake calls: the boss call, the cousin-in-need call, the male-friend call, the female-friend call, or the affirmation call (reminding you that you’re wonderful). In addition to photo sharing and online albums, these popular services provide 15 to 50 free prints when you sign up.
Find Out More: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.html, http://www.frenchpodclass.com/
Free e-mail reminders
Free ice cream
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