Free food is the ultimate in freebies: endlessly varied, always
useful, rarely much trouble to get. These are some of the best ways
to get food, ranked in order of the effort it'll take you to get
Write to companies for samples.
Hundreds of companies have standing offers to send samples of their
products or coupons for free products to anyone who signs up. You
may get extra junk mail afterward, but you'll also get useful coupons.
Find companies by searching for "free food samples," or
try a freebie directory like Totally
Hang around food kiosks at closing time.
Some stores, like Cinnabun, can't keep their stock overnight, so
they hand out boxes of leftovers to whomever's around when they
close. Keep your ears open and you'll learn which stores do it.
Ask local gardeners for their extra vegetables.
Toward the end of the growing season, gardeners are so desperate
to get rid of their bounty that they'll force you to take it if
you don't ask first. Start dropping polite hints near the end of
Attend boring college functions.
Department party? Guest lecture on Amazonian flooding with a reception
to follow? Evening of chamber music with refreshments? Yes, it's
as interesting as watching wet cardboard curl. But dude, free
Join focus groups. In return for
a few hours of your time and a couple of pages' worth of survey
questions, you'll get free foodeither because it's what's
being researched or because it's a bribe to get people to attendand
maybe a few bucks. Find focus groups and research groups in your
area through Google, or use a directory like Volition.com.
Enter restaurant contests. Many
restaurants have a weekly or monthly drawing for a free lunch, and
all you have to do is drop a business card in a bowl by the register.
Make up a few "business cards" on a printeryou don't
need to invent a company, just put down your name, phone number,
and one other way they can contact youand keep them ready
in your wallet.