Sunday, December 22, 2019

Save Money with Free Stuff - 10 Ideas to Help You Out

We all enjoy getting a freebie once in a while.  It is a great way to enjoy our lives while making our money go further. In some cases, getting something for free can even improve our health and the quality of our lives.  Whether we look forward to free stuff simply for entertainment, or whether we seek these benefits in order to maintain our health, there is sure to be something in the list below which will benefit you.

Check out these items and add your own ideas in the comments section.  Then, send this list to anyone you know who might benefit from some free stuff, too!

Free shopping at farmers' markets:  As of 2019, if you are a single person with an income under $23,000, or you live in a two-person household with an income under $31,000 (which applies to many retired couples), you can get free coupons from the federal government which can be used at authorized farm stands and farmers' markets.   Many young couples and retirees qualify for these benefits.  You can get the coupons by logging onto fns.usda.gov.  Click on Programs at the top of the page; then select Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program from the drop-down menu.  While taking advantage of the farmers' market, don't forget to also contact your local food bank for additional food to help you have a balanced diet.  (If you qualify for the farmers' market coupons, you might also talk to the Social Security office or your local Social Services office to see what other programs you may qualify for, such as SNAP food stamps, SSI, or housing vouchers).

Free rewards at franchises:  A number of franchises will give you free treats when you sign up for their rewards program.  You can earn credits towards beverages at Starbucks and other special offers at places like Baskin-Robbins or Golden Spoon.  If you patronize these places anyway, you might as well take advantage of any freebies they offer.

Free Meals for Youngsters in the Family  - Whenever you want to take your children or grandchildren out to eat, you can find a list of places where kids eat free with a paying adult at WalletHacks.com/kids-eat-free.  They have a list of over 100 places, including Carrows, Holiday Inn (while you are staying there), IHOP, Steak 'n Shake, and more.  Some restrictions apply, and many places only have the deal on certain nights of the week.  While you are at it, if you are eligible, never forget to ask for the senior discount when you are eating out.  Many restaurants offer it, but only if you ask.

Free Cancer Screenings - If you are like many people who are not old enough yet for Medicare, you may not have good health insurance.  The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program offers low income and under-insured women free screenings for breast and cervical cancer.  To find out if you qualify or to locate a provider, go to cdc.gov/cancer.  Then, click on National Programs.

Free Dental Care - Sadly, at this time most Medicare plans and other private insurance plans do not cover dental care.  Some plans may offer a discount, but treatments can still be quite expensive.  If you cannot afford the care you need, go to DentalLifeline.org.  They have a network of dentists who offer donated dental care for the elderly, disabled, medically fragile and other people who cannot afford dental care. The eligibility requirements vary by state.

Free Home Weatherization - Are high utility bills preventing you from being comfortable in your own home?  If you receive SSI or have a low income, you may qualify for the Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program which will cover the cost of making your home more energy efficient.  Eligibility varies by state, but if your utility bills are getting you down, see if you qualify at Benefits.gov/benefit/580.  Being able to run your heat and stay comfortable in the winter can be life saving.

Free Credit Monitoring - With identity theft occurring constantly, it is highly likely that almost everyone has had their identity stolen at some point in the past few years.  Credit card companies, insurance companies, department stores and Facebook have all been hacked, and the personal information of hundreds of millions of people has been stolen.  There are several free sites which will monitor your credit score at no cost and let you know if anything changes.  Check out sites like WalletHub.com, CreditSesame.com and CreditKarma.com.  I personally use Credit Karma, and have been very pleased with their service.

Free Legal Services - We all need legal advice from time to time, including people who have questions about their Social Security and Medicare.  If you have legal questions, but do not feel you can afford an attorney, click on ElderCare.acl.gov to locate legal aid in your area.

Free Repair Coaching for small appliances - Do you have a lamp or small appliance that has stopped working, and you really can't afford to replace it?  About once a month, Repair Cafe holds free events to teach you how to fix your own things.  You can find out if there is an event near you at RepairCafe.org/en/visit.  If you can't find an event near you, then go to Fixya.com to get advice from experts on how to fix all kinds of things.  Don't forget to look up YouTube videos, too. Our daughter has learned how to replace the headlights on her car and make other small repairs by watching YouTube. You could save yourself a lot of money by doing a little research.  

All kinds of free stuff - Twice a year, my community has a free goods exchange.  You can bring whatever you want to donate to this exchange and, for five hours, you can take away all the items you would like to have.  Anything left over at the end of the day is hauled off by Goodwill.  My grandkids have gone to the exchange and found little gifts to give their friends, nick-knacks for their rooms, books, CDs, DVDs, and even a couple of jackets. I have often seen electronic equipment, small items of furniture, small appliances, dishes, and more.  It's perfect if you have a young adult in your family who is setting up their first apartment.  If you want to find a similar free goods exchange in your area, go to Freecycle.org.

Finally, if you want to find even more free stuff, you may want to get the book, "How to Get Free Stuff: The Ultimate Guide for Getting Good Things for Free."  (Ad) This paperback book will help you take advantage of even more opportunities.   This is a great way to find free gifts for yourself and others, too!

The bottom line is that you should look for free services and items in your community.  There may be local websites which allow people to list things they are giving away online.  You may be able to pick up free books from a special bin at your neighborhood library, or your local senior center may give away free day-old bakery goods.  Keep your eyes open for ways to make your dollars stretch.

Disclosure: This blog may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase from an Amazon ad, I'll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.  

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1 comment:

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