How to Get Almost Anything for FREE

Having tons of money would be frigging sweet, but if you’re reading this post, I have a feeling you don’t.  So below are a few ways you can get almost anything you could possibly want, for free.  Some people call it a Gift Economy.  I just call it awesome.

The Really Really Free Market:

The RRFM is like a broke-ass holiday where everyone gets a present. Think of it as Christmas but you don’t have to buy people shit, look at stupid snowman sweaters, or end up getting drunk and screaming, “Fuck you dad! You don’t even know me!”

Flyer by Kirsten Brydum one of the founders for SF's RRFM. While I didn't know her personally, she touched a lot of people's lives in the city. She is missed. Click to see a larger version.

The way it works is that everyone brings a bunch of stuff they want to get rid of to a central place like a park. Then they lay it all out and give it to whoever wants it. To quote an esteemed scholar named wikipedia, “It holds as a major goal to build a community based on sharing resources, caring for one another and improving the collective lives of all. Markets often vary in character, but they generally offer both goods and services. Participants bring unneeded items, food, skills and talents such as entertainment or haircuts.” If free stuff is something you’re into (and I know it is) find out where your nearest RRFM is by going here.  They have them all over the country and in other countries like Australia and Brazil. They even have one in Flagstaff, Arizona! I didn’t know they tolerated that kind of anticapitalist shit there.

For even more info check out this page.

Free Stores:

Yeah I know that sounds like a contradiction but there really are such things as free stores. They are places you can visit and then go home with pretty much anything not nailed down, for free. As far as I know the first free store was started by the Diggers in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district in the 1960′s and now there’s a respectable number of them throughout the world.

From the NYC pop-up Free Store that existed in 2009

Before you get all crazy and start running around and screaming like some white trash lady who just won a Sea-Doo on the Price is Right, I’m gonna warn you that you’re not gonna be finding expensive ass designer clothes at the free stores. Luckily you’re not into that kind of shit. Right? The stuff you do find there is gonna be more on a garage sale kind of wave length, but hey, did I mention it was free?

Look, capitalism is pretty fucked up. It’s got us all chasing our tails and trying to feel complete by consuming products we don’t really need. Free stores are a reaction to this. While some require you to drop something off every time you pick something up, most of them just let you have what you want. At the time I’m writing this there are free stores in Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon and in foreign countries like Germany and the Netherlands. To find the one nearest you, go here.

How to Get FREE Anything:

The Freecycle Network is a network of nearly 8 million people devoted to keeping good stuff out of landfills and in circulation. Their mission statement says, “Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.” Consider it a digital version the Really Really Free Market.

I wonder if this poster is free.

The way Freecycle works is that you go to the site, plug in where you live, and then join the Freecycle network nearest you. At the time I’m writing this, all the Freecycle networks are yahoo groups where people post a message describing what they have to give or what they’re looking for. Then other members in the community can respond. It’s a good way to get pretty much anything. You can find anything from lunch boxes to refrigerators to books to clothes. Unfortunately no plants, animals or small children are allowed to be given away.

The best part is that it only costs $3000 to sign up. Nah, I ‘m just fucking with you, it’s totally free! All the things your get or give through Freecycle are 100% free with no strings attached.

Some other sites that have similar goals are: FreeSharing.org, OnlineRecyclers.com and free-economy.org. Who said there was no such thing as a free lunch…box?

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About the author

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".

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