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50 Ways to Live for Free

50 Ways to Live for Free

How can you Live for Free (or at Least get Freebies?)

The number of free things available is incredible, especially in a country such as Australia.

While we might not have the extreme coupons Americans have, we still have access to numerous freebies.

I don’t get heaps of freebies because of my blog, rather our free lifestyle is based on things anyone can do.  

In my past, I felt pressure to do the work thing, was a multiple international award-winning CEO and felt I was subscribing to a life others expected of me.

After serious health issues, including paralysis, a break-up and a few other things, I decided enough was enough. I was living for me.

As a result, I took some pretty drastic measures and now we travel, I have a few income streams and we live a frugal lifestyle with a lot for free.

Here are 50 ways you can live for free too.

Note: If you like freebies and discounts, check out how to get a $100 cash bonus from ING, $14 from Up Bank or have a look at the full list of freebies, offers and discounts for every state.

50 ways to live for free
Image of white bike with brown basked on a street under a green street sign that reads Follow Your Dreams. Text reads 50 ways to live for free.

Disclosure – affiliate links are sometimes used for products and services I use and recommend. Read my full disclosure here.

General Freebies

Some freebie tips apply to everything in life. Here are some things you can do for most areas of your budget to get things for free and save more.

1. Cashback

With every purchase you make, you can potentially get cashback through various apps or programs.

There are 3 main sites I use to get cashback or ‘free money’ and all of them are free to join.

My favourite is Cash Rewards, I’ve used them for years and received thousands in cash back.

Payments are fastest, customer service has been excellent the few times I needed to contact them and they often have the highest cashback amounts.

Shopback is my next favourite with regular ‘upsized’ cash back promotions and other ways to get cashback. You can cash out in cash which takes a few days or gift cards which are instant.

Honey is slightly different and I don’t use it as often but I like to have it because if there are no cash back options, there are sometimes coupons or points you can get.

You can only use one cash back offer at a times but you can usually use them with reward programs wherever you are shopping.

2. Competitions/Giveaways

In 2024, I focused on entering competitions attached to things I buy. As a result, I won thousands of dollars worth of gift cards including travel, a day spa, petrol, photography and more.

One score I loved a few years ago was a Philips Air Fryer and around the same time a gorgeous set of kitchen knives.

My favourite three prizes from last year were a $1,000 travel voucher, a $500 day spa voucher and a $400 gift card for a beauty product website.

Another friend won the car in the Macca’s Monopoly game one year and a few have won holidays as well as loads of smaller prizes.

Check out the best Aussie giveaways and tips for entering here.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

3. Online Surveys

Many online surveys have sign-up bonuses, prizes, giveaways and cash-back programs as well as surveys to earn money.

If you want to make more money, check out this list of the best online survey sites for Aussies. Most readers make $2,000 to $5,000 a year extra with them.

My favourite and the highest paying is Octopus Group.

4. Mystery Shopping

Get freebies and get paid to shop! I haven’t done mystery shopping for a while but friends still do occasionally.

The way it works is you join the company, apply for shops, do the shop, submit whatever they ask then get paid.

It can be anything from fast food to clothes, test driving a car to holidays. Read more on how to be a mystery shopper.

5. Product Reviews

Numerous sites and companies will pay you for reviews and some will send you product to trial and review.

Products sent are usually minimal e.g. a block of chocolate, loaf of bread, packet of biscuits etc.

Payments on the sites take a while to do a few reviews and secure payments.

Tell Me Baby and Product Review are 2 sites that do this. Social Soup is a site you can try products with and write about it.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

6. VIP/Reward Programs

Birthday freebies, sign-up bonuses, VIP days and bonus offers as well as regular discounts are all on offer with reward programs.

What they offer will vary from store to store but it is usually free to sign up. We have a huge list of VIP/Reward programs here which is regularly reviewed.

Be aware, for the birthday freebies you will need to sign up at least a month before your birthday with many of them.

I also like to have a separate email address for these programs as they can send a lot of emails.

7. Market Research

You can make up to $100 an hour with market research plus get freebies. Learn more about market research in this article.

I often get text messages and the highest I have seen lately is $250 for 1 hour of giving your opinion.

8. Barter

Provided everyone is happy with the arrangement, bartering can work out great.

Swap what you have which someone else needs for something they have and you need.

I know many who have swapped produce, worked at each other’s homes, babysat etc. It’s up to you what works for you and what you want to offer with others.

There are entire Facebook groups and communities dedicated to bartering or paying it forward.

9. Let People Know 

Whenever you are looking at something or in need, let people know.

Many casual conversations I’ve had over the years resulted in items being given to me. One year I was even given a Nikon.

I was talking about the one I wanted and why when visiting a friend. She had a Nikon which was perfect to learn on plus 2 lenses and some other gear

She was happy for it to go to someone who will love and use it. I was ecstatic to save a few thousand.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

10. Freecycle/Facebook Marketplace/Gumtree

Anything you are looking for could be listed by someone else as free simply because they want to get rid of it.

Check out Freecycle, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace,  your local buy sell swap groups and pay it forward groups.

When being involved in these groups, try to give as much as you receive as well. That’s how it all keeps working.

When we repatriated and had to set up a new home in 2020, it was through Marketplace we managed to furnish our home for almost nothing.

We picked up a BBQ, some furniture, home decor, rugs and more.

11. Keep Your Eyes Open

You will be amazed at what is out there, from things placed out as hard rubbish (check the laws in your area before picking things up) to items in the gutter.

My eldest is incredible at finding things everywhere, whether we’re walking down the street or swimming at the beach.

Look around, there is a lot out there. Of course, if the item is of high value or is a wallet or similar, hand it into the police.

More often than not when we took things to the police, they’ve contacted us 3 months later to pick it up as it wasn’t claimed.

They also gave my kids badges, chocolates and other things to thank them for their honesty which was nice.

12. Grab Discounts

Technically not a full freebie but definitely something that can sometimes lead to a freebie or work out free.

Australia has so many discounts and sales happening all the time plus there are heaps of little tricks to help you get discounts on everything.

Read our 12 tips to get discounts on everything and these tips to combine discounts and coupons to save even more.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

Housing

One of the biggest expenses for most Aussie households, the rent or mortgage payments alone can take 30 to 60% of the budget for many.

Depending on your lifestyle choices, it doesn’t have to cost so much.

What We Have Done

Previously, I rented my places on Airbnb or had boarders to offset the cost of a mortgage/rent.

At another time, we travelled full time so often had free accommodation through my work or housesitting.

We sold off almost all of our belongings in May 2019 and travelled until we repatriated mid 2020. During that time, we rarely had to pay for accommodation.

Check out how to make money travelling for more on how we did that.

13. Make Your Home Pay for Itself

This is surprisingly doable with the right home, whether you rent or own but if you are renting, you will need permission.

A few of my homes I have listed on Airbnb when I was away for a week or so, even when I was renting it and not the property owner.

I got from $600 to $1,300 over 5 days depending on the time of year, for my tiny 2 bedroom apartment when I paid less than that in rent.

Other times I had a boarder or two, rented out the garage and used my front room to run classes sometimes.

I shared how to make your home pay for itself here.

14. Housesitting/Pet Sitting

Easier for those who are single, house and pet-sitting can even be a paid gig. Get free accommodation and some cash for doing it.

With pet sitting, you obviously need to like animals. Sign up to one of the housesitting sites or join housesitting groups on Facebook to find places.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

15. Couchsurfing

I did this years ago through the site and met some great people.

Since we travel to visit friends and family, we usually have somewhere to stay.

However, people are travelling the entire world using couchsurfing. Again, this is easier if you are single.

Please be careful if you choose to do it though, check reviews, let people know where you are and what you are doing.

16. WWOOFING

Willing Workers On Organic Farms is what WWOOF stands for. A worldwide opportunity for working on organic farms.

You can travel around, stay on farms and take care of the land.

The goal of the organisation is to provide people a cultural and educational exchange where people can connect, learn and further sustainability.

It can be a great way to live for free and gain interesting skills.

17. House Swap

If you own a home, you could look into house swapping, which can be really popular for holidays.

Do it through a website or arrange it through friends and family so there is more protection though..

House swapping for holidays is quite popular and a great way to see somewhere new without the huge accommodation costs.

Some homeschooling groups make it easy to do within their communities as well.

18. Accommodation With Your Job

Numerous occupations offer accommodation for example caravan park caretakers, au pairs, working on farms etc.

Sometimes it means lower pay because it includes room and board, other times you can still get great pay with perks.

Various rural jobs offer accommodation as it is hard for them to secure certain workers so if you have a specific skillset and can move, it might be worth looking into regional areas and if there are any grants available for moving.

19. Solar Panels 

Obviously, they aren’t free to install (unless you win them or are given them or something) but if you are staying in your home, they can pay for themselves.

It will depend on where you live, how much electricity you use etc.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

20. Water Tanks 

Again, they are not free to start with, but they will save you money over time by providing you with free water.

Check free sites all the time, I know a few people who have gotten tanks this way and have seen some in every area I’ve lived.

21. Collect water

If you can’t afford a tank, you can collect water in buckets, old bins and other containers to use in the garden.

Be careful though, stagnant water will grow all sorts of things and are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Groceries

Being one of the largest expenses for Aussie households, finding ways to save money on groceries can be amazing.

I have shared a list of ways to get groceries for free and super cheap already, here are a few tips from it.

22. Forage

The most expensive and exclusive restaurant in Melbourne bases its menu on foraging.

Look around your local area, use Google and learn about edible plants then go forage for them.

Be sure to check if they are sprayed by the local council though.

If you see any overloaded fruit trees, ask the owners if you may pick some. I know a few people who have done this with apricots, oranges and apples.

Take notes when out walking or driving around places where you see fruit trees and other edible plants. Only do it with permission though, don’t steal them!

23. Grow Your Own

It’s not free to set up a vegetable garden and fruit trees unless you are growing herbs from scraps in water.

Growing your own plants might costs money to water and take care of them but it’s pretty close to free once established.

Start with herbs, shallots, celery, lettuce and similar vegetables which you can grow from scraps with your groceries.

You can buy them from the supermarket, cut off what you will use then place the ends in water to make them sprout and grow then plant them.

It turns your scraps into more vegetables!

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

24. Food Banks

Only use this option if you are in need, not just to save money. Food banks are there for a reason, I have volunteered in a few.

They’re worth it and many have free meal days associated with them. If you’re on a really tight budget, utilising Centrelink or in a bad situation, they can help a lot.

25. Birthday Freebies

The amount of food you can get for free around your birthday is amazing. Check out this list of Aussie birthday freebies.

Food, beauty items, discount vouchers and more are available. If you plan it well, you can get freebies all month.

26. Fishing

You will need a rod, net or speargun and a few other bits and pieces to get started but it is incredibly satisfying catching and cooking your own fish.

We do it regularly and my kids will be learning to spearfish soon.

Entertainment

Depending on where you live, there can be endless free entertainment from concerts to libraries, trial classes to meetups.

27. Free Activities in Your Area

A simple Google search will tell you what is on in your area or check the events section on Facebook.

Various councils have free events at times which can include free pool entry, competitions, fireworks, BBQ’s and more.

Where I live there are free festivals and events every weekend.

28. Free Exercise

Utilise outdoor gyms, free trials to gyms and check out meetup or similar for free exercise groups.

Many major cities have free yoga, tai chi and similar in the parks on certain days.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

29. Use The Library

Libraries are an underutilized resource these days but they have so much more than books.

Borrow books and magazines, use their school holiday activities, access wifi and other activities to.

Or if you are after free books you can own, check to see if there are swap meets in your area or mini-libraries where you leave one and take one without needing a library card.

30. Free Wifi

Numerous cafes, Maccas, some city centres, libraries and other locations have free wifi.

If you’re on a budget or can’t afford the internet at home, these can be great options to help you get started with a business or doing studies.

Be careful of cybersecurity when accessing free wifi though.

31. Free SMS

You can send a limited number of free messages online if needed. Alternatively, use social media such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

32. Free eBooks

Amazon regularly has free ebooks and sales where some popular eBooks are free for a day.

Or head to the kindle section of the site and edit your search to go from lowest to highest.

This will show you all the free ebooks.

Clothing

I went through a stage where I bought a decent amount of clothing and had a huge wardrobe.

While I loved and wore most of the pieces, I’d rather not do that again.

Clothing doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Most of mine I buy on sale or it’s given to me but here is how you can get it free.

Check out this article with 9 ways to get free clothing.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

33. Clothing Swap

Organise a clothing swap with friends and family or look to see if one is happening in your area.

This goes for your clothes, your partner and kids clothes. It is amazing what people have grown out of or bought and never worn.

34. Refashion

Pull out your sewing machine and refashion some of the clothing you have.

It doesn’t have to be refashioned for yourself, you can turn old shirts into a dress for your daughter, capes for the kids to dress up with and more.

My kids get holes in the knees of everything they own, so now when that happens we cut them to turn them into shorts, which they love because they can be longer than most of the shorts available in stores for girls.

35. Free Clothes

If you are in need you can get free clothes from various charities or vouchers for their stores. But if you are just looking for free stuff, consider the local tip shop.

Many of them have free clothing. Some of my friends have really nice brand name dresses that came from there and you would never have guessed it.

Other

So those areas are the biggest expenses for most budgets but there are so many other things in life you can get for free.

36. Samples

Walking down the street, I am regularly offered samples. It’s a common marketing tactic for everything from beauty products to food.

Some companies offer free samples from their Facebook pages or websites too.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

37. Free With Purchase

Technically this isn’t completely free, often there are deals where you get a free item with the purchase of another item, such as mascara or lip gloss on a magazine.

The value of the free item is sometimes more than the value of the item you need to buy (as is the case with mascaras and magazines.)

38. Be a Model for Hair, Beauty etc.

Many salons are looking for models for different treatments or services they offer.

It can be risky but if you aren’t overly committed to your hair or nails as they are, it can be a great way to save money.

As a model, you will be required to trust the hairdresser or beautician in training and allow them to do whatever they need to practice or what they want to experiment with.

Alternatively, you might be a model for a hair show or similar, where an experienced person is doing it but you still have to let them do whatever they want.

39. Carpool

Grab a ride with others to and from work. Either alternate who drives, try bartering for a different service or if you are good with cars you could service their car in exchange for rides.

40. Collect Points

If you have a credit card you can rack up travel points easily. Make sure you know where to shop to get bonus points and accumulate them for something worthwhile.

Check out this list of loyalty programs and see the difference between Flybuys and Everyday Rewards for more tips.

41. Free Photos

Look for free print offers, often available for your first 50 photos at larger stores.

Too often we keep all the photos on our devices now instead of printing them out.

Tale the time to choose your favourites and get them printed so you can display them.

42. Education

You can educate yourself on many things for free online, and if you aren’t specifically after qualification, but merely interested in the subject, some universities have their entire degrees online for free.

Scholarships are another option that usually require an application but can cover a lot.

Read how to afford education expenses for more ideas.

43. Drive Cars Back

If you want to do a trip, there is the option of driving cars and caravans back to locations they came from or to be delivered by people. I haven’t personally done it but friends have.

There are time limits you need to commit to but it can be a fun and even sometimes paid way to have a short trip.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

44. Share Economy

Check the share economy such as renting out your car, home or items as some of those provide free insurance.

Read the fine print though to see what is actually covered with it all and whether it suits your needs.

45. Blogging/Social Media

Don’t go into this just for the free stuff. It’s obvious, you won’t be able to build a following and is pointless.

Should you choose to do this, you need to build a brand, offer value through quality content and work with brands in a way that benefits everyone.

Read how to set up a blog and make money for tips on what to do.

46. Glasses

Zenni Optical is one of the places I have purchased my glasses from for years. Wait for their buy one get one free sales and not only will you get glasses at a deep discount, you get a free pair.

Firmoo offers these too. You will need your proper prescription to be able to order prescription glasses so ask for it at your next check-up.

47. Sign-up Bonuses

Already mentioned with the VIP and reward programs but others offer bonus sign-ups too from banks to health clubs.

Look at what you might need, do some research and if you find a good deal, jump on it.

I’ve been paid from $50 to $300 to open a bank account, $10 for joining online surveys, $50 for signing up to other things and none of it cost me any money.

Up Bank offers $14 instantly when you join and other perks as well. ING offers $100 with a few steps.

48. Swap Meets

Swapping items, similar to bartering, can be a great way to save money.

If you are collecting something specific there are usually swap meets which relate to it where you can swap instead of spending a lot of money on your collection.

49. Dumpster Diving

Not something I’ve done but many people do and they get great items. Shops throw away a lot of good food due to strict regulations.

If you choose to do this, be careful. Check the laws in your area and rules of the shops where you plan to go through their bins. Not everywhere allows this.

50. Follow The Thrifty Issue

When we come across great freebies and discounts, we share them mainly in our newsletter but also on Facebook and in our group.

Join all of them to get even more freebies. And check out our list of Aussie freebies here.

50 ways to live for free and get freebies

How close to living free do you think you can go? How many of these ideas do you do already, or would you like to implement them? What do you do that’s free?

Originally posted 8th Feb, 2014. 15 January 2024.

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J

Sunday 20th of November 2022

How disappointing this is. I don't want extras I need to pay bills.

Tatyana Gnet

Thursday 24th of November 2016

Wow! Amazing post, I love it! The best things in our lives are always free - love, happiness, friendship, memories...I absolutely agree that we stucked in consumerism and living our lives to raise more money and then spend more money.

Lianne

Thursday 24th of November 2016

Great tips - particularly like number 4 as it applies to so many areas of life, business etc.

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