Want to get awesome free stuff online? Sure, who doesn’t? Of course, there’s no shortage of “free stuff” scams aimed at taking advantage of this natural desire. Other times, free giveaways are just a ploy to collect your personal information so you’ll be bombarded by email spam and telemarketing calls. But every so often, (say, once a year), a company or retailer will offer consumers a free product or service with no strings attached.
Usually, these no-strings-attached free giveaways correspond with a special event or holiday. After all, if Congress has declared a National Donut Day, then by gosh, every American is entitled to a free Krispie Kreme!
The dates of other “free stuff” celebrations are less obvious, but no less awesome — and if you know when to expect them, it’s a great way to treat yourself without spending extra cash.
Here are a few of our favorite free giveaway events:
Celebrate National Food Holidays with Free Eats!
If you love sugary treats and National Donut Day (the 1st Friday in June) isn’t enough for you, make sure to also hit up IHOP on Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras) for a free stack of pancakes, presumably a tribute to many churches’ tradition of hosting a pancake feast the night before Lent begins.
You can also score free or cheap caffeine on National Coffee Day on September 29th — possibly best food holiday of all. National chains and smaller shops alike participate, so check your favorite coffeehouse for a free cup o’ joe.
Then there’s also National Popcorn Day on January 19th. Many movie theatres will give away free bags of everyone’s favorite cinema snack on this day, so check your local multiplex and don’t forget about that fancy gourmet kettle-corn store in the mall!
Get Awesome Free Stuff From Retailers on Other Holidays
If you prefer freebies that aren’t edible, there are a few opportunities each year to score free stuff as well.
On Earth Day (April 22), retailers like Target, the Home Depot, and other purveyors of home goods give away sustainably-minded products like energy-efficient light bulbs and reusable seeds.
Then there’s Free Comic Book Day (the 1st Saturday in May), which is what it sounds like – comic shops across the country give away free comics. Some particularly ambitious stores will also host signings by writers and artists, hold costume contests, or arrange family-friendly activities.
While it isn’t tangible stuff, World Backup Day (March 31st) offers free or discounted online cloud backups. It’s also a great opportunity to get an important chore done by backing up your important computer data.
Or Have Some Free Fun
Thankfully, the National Parks in the U.S. will be open post-shutdown for National Parks Free Admission Day (Veterans Day weekend). The National Parks waive admission fees at other points during the year, like National Parks week (April) and the birthday of the Park Service.
Similarly, the Smithsonian Institution offers Free Museum Day (various dates in September). Or, if you’re looking for something more serene, see if your local Yoga studio is offering a free class in honor of World Yoga Day (February 23rd).
What Are Your Favorite Freebies?
For more freebies, check out the calendar the good folks at Lifehacker have put together – it’s an interactive and growing list of freebies nationwide.
Still, remember: even free stuff comes with a tradeoff. Make sure to read the fine print. For some specials, you may have to buy one to get one free. To avoid disappointment, check the business’s website or call ahead to confirm the special beforehand – businesses can change or discontinue deals like these with little fanfare.