money & Banking

Alex O'Brien

Clever ways to get things for free

Clever ways to get things for free

While it often seems nothing comes for free these days, a little bit of online searching can reveal plenty of opportunities out there for free stuff. Here are a few for starters:

FreeStuff Rewards – Billed as Australia’s premium source of free offers and competitions the site is Australian owned and operated, and offers free product samples, free competitions, paid surveys, daily deals and more. 

U-exchange This website is affiliated with Barter Australia and membership is free. At U-exchange it is also free to trade, post and contact other members. There are no hidden membership or transaction fees involved. It works by inviting users to post what they have to offer and what they would like in exchange. And it doesn’t have to be items that are swapped - users also swap services. A painter may offer to paint the inside of a home in return for accommodation in a holiday house.

The Freecycle Network is a global grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) all sorts of products for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and waste reduction. Most areas in Australia have a dedicated Freecycle group and membership is free. As a member you are notified whenever someone near you has something to give. The Freecycle goal is to reduce items thrown into landfill. It does this by finding people who are willing and able to use items that would normally be discarded. As well as being able to respond to items offered, members are able to ask for something they need.

SwapAce is a website similar to Freecycle in that it has a strong environmental message. Its point of difference is it enables members to swap item for item. They can also sell goods, buy items or trade. The website offers search choices like ‘free’, ‘swaps’, ‘money-only’, ‘haves’, and ‘wants’.  Its tagline is ‘Swap anything for anything’ and it boasts more than 80,000 items online and more than 200,000 members.

Gumtree Although known primarily as a place for buying and selling there is plenty of free stuff there too. Everyone has a different perception of value and worth. The trick is to find the person getting rid of something because they have bought something better, are moving or may have finished a renovation. To some people, offering something free is actually cost effective for them as it means the item is taken away quickly and saves them the hassle of waiting for a buyer, or having to pay tip fees.

Smartphone apps There is an almost endless range of free apps covering everything from recipes to games available from providers including Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Here are some great tips for saving money at the supermarket.