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Get Free Stuff

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Yes you can get free things online and off, and yes, sometimes there are strings attached. For example, when we were at universal studios I got a free backpack. The catch? I spent six minutes filling out a credit card application. On the other hand, we ate pretty well for free on free sample days at local food stores when we lived in Tucson, and there really weren't any strings attached. Here are some other easy freebies.

Free Vacations

Somebody in Hawaii, Costa Rica or Colorado is just waiting for you to come and stay in their house while they are away. You may have to water the plants, and even get the mail for them, but you get to stay in a beautiful home in a sunny place. Sometimes you even get paid for these vacations. The only catch is that to find these opportunities, you may have to subscribe to one of the newsletters that list them.

We camped in our van for ten days at Williams Landing, east of Tallahassee, Florida, on Lake Talquin. It's a beautiful place, with hot showers. Our cost? Zero, and you can stay up to two weeks. There are free campgrounds scattered around the country. Ask an RVer about this, or buy a Woodall's directory from any large RV dealer. Camping can be an essentially free vacation if you do it right, because you may spend less than if you stayed home.

Free Entertainment

Some libraries now carry movies on DVD, and most at least have documentaries. We have even seen music videos on DVD in one library. The only cost is the time to get a library card.

Want to go to free concerts? Most festivals have some free musical entertainment. The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, MI, for example, has free entertainment every night during the week-long festival, including many recognizable bands and (often) a Beatles tribute band. Go to any search engine and type in "festival" and the name of towns around you to find these freebies.

More Ways to Get Free Stuff

Most states give away free road maps. Some give away free legal forms too, like statutory wills. Check the state's online sites.

Free dental x-rays are available at some dental colleges. You have to be patient, as the students are just learning, but an experienced technician is always with them. You get the x-rays to take to your own dentist, which can save you $30 to $80. Some schools charge a small fee.

Some utility companies offer free energy audits. They come to your home and find the places where you are wasting energy. Some even give you a free kit for caulking windows and weather-stripping doors.

You can get free, confidential business advice from a business expert via email. Go to the website of "SCORE" (Service Corps of Retired Executives). These are successful business executives who volunteer their time to help others in business.

Some restaurants offer free dinners on your birthday. Others offer a free birthday cake. Many bars will buy your first drink for you if it's your birthday. How do you find the ones that do this? The same way you always discover how to get free stuff - ask.



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