Wednesday, 31 August 2016

13 Freebies that are Actually Useful

There are a tons of offers out there buzzing around the internet for free samples, cash for doing surveys, and various other freebies that end up being a big waste of time. I'm sure a lot of you are just like me and don't want to waste hours answering stupid survey questions just to potentially get a few dollars (or cents) or have to stalk all sorts of websites begging for free samples. If that's your thing, have at 'er but I need things to be a little more streamlined. Because of that I've rounded up a few resources for great freebies that you will actually use and are easy to get. 

1. Edmonton Public Library - If you live in Edmonton and don't have a library card I don't think we can be friends anymore. You can redeem yourself by going (right now) and signing yourself up. Even if you're not a big reader it's still worth it as not only does the library have books, they also have movies, TV shows, video games, magazines, digital database subscriptions, etc. It's free and easy to sign up, just stop in to one of their 19 branches and get started. 

2. SampleSource - I've been a member of SampleSource for a few years now and have gotten my hands on plenty of great samples. I'm kind of a sample junkie (you can ask my bathroom cabinet) and SampleSource makes it really convenient to get a whole pack of samples delivered right to your mailbox. They usually have campaigns a couple of times a year so I suggest signing up for an account and you'll get an email notification next time a sample box is available. After you've received a box they do ask you to complete a survey about your opinions on the products but I've found the surveys to be pretty straightforward and don't take much time. Below is a picture of what was included in the last box I got:

3. CBC Television - I watch quite a bit of television and there aren't that many options for free TV viewing. There's always free trials for Netflix, Shomi, and all those streaming services but those will only last you so long. One really good option to check out is CBC. You can get free (no cable login required) access to all their shows streaming on the CBC website. I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now thinking CBC has nothing you'd be interested in but don't be too quick to judge. Try out X Company, Republic of Doyle or Being Erica.

4. Project Gutenberg - Another resource for free books. Project Gutenberg is a collection of written works that are part of the public domain and includes many of the classic books you've probably always said you should read. You'll be able to find works by Jane Austen, Charles Dickins, Mark Twain, etc. I don't know exactly how the collection works but it has something to do without copyrights expiring after a certain amount of time.

5. OpenOffice - If you're like me you spend a lot of time on a desktop computer at work and next to no time on a computer at home. Almost everything I need at home can be completed on my phone or laptop (I've just got a cheap chromebook) but every once in awhile I do need access to Word or Excel. Enter OpenOffice, a free software suite that will give you all the components of Microsoft Office for none of the money. It works, it's not fantastic but for the limited time I need it at home it absolutely serves it's purpose.

6. Free Fitness - There's no need to get locked in to paying for a gym membership every month as there are tons of great workout videos available for free on the internet. YouTube will become your very best get fit friend and you can get your workout done in the comfort of your own home. Check out Fitness Blender for an extensive assortment of full-length workout videos that will get you whipped into shape or if you prefer the yoga route you should definitely check out Yoga with Adriene

7. Swagbucks - I've used Swagbucks for a few years now and have been rewarded with $250 in gift cards in that time, and that's not even trying to hard. Basically you earn swagbucks a variety of ways and then redeem them from gift cards from a bunch of places including Amazon and Starbucks. You can earn bucks by using the swagbucks search bar, doing surveys or just by online shopping. I used to do more surveys but now usually just get them via online shopping. After you sign-up you just go to the shop section and link to whatever site you're planning to buy from (there's lots of options) and you earn back swagbucks for every dollar you spend. Simple! 

9. Free Nights at AGA - The last Thursday of every month gets you free access to the Art Gallery of Alberta from 6pm to 9pm. It's a great time to check out the current exhibitions and perfect for a cheap date night. Check your local museums and art galleries to see if they have a similar program running. 

10. Provincial Parks - Want to get out of the city and enjoy the outdoors but don't want to fork over a bunch of cash for park entry? Check out a provincial park instead of a national park. There are lots of great provincial parks in Alberta and they wont cost you anything to get into. Plus, I've found they are just as well maintained and often quieter than the national parks. My favourite spot that is within day-trip distance of Edmonton is the Cooking Lake/Blackfoot Recreation area just East of the city. It actually borders on Elk Island so has a lot of the same wildlife and vegetation, lots of well maintained hiking trails and nice picnic spots. 
Cooking Lake/Blackfoot Recreation Area - October 2015
11. Home Depot Workshops - If you have some home renovations that need completed but aren't exactly the best at DIY it is worth checking out your local Home Depot. They often have free workshops that you can attend to learn a new skill and this could end up saving you a bunch of money if you no longer need to hire someone to do the job. 

12. Birthday Freebies - There's quite a few companies that offer birthday freebies so it's worth checking to see if your favourite stores or restaurants have any perks. My all time favourite has to be Sephora, if you are a Beauty Insider you will get a free product during your birthday month and they are usually full-size, actually good products. Starbucks will also send you a coupon for a free drink on your birthday if you are a member of their rewards program and if you're a fan of burgers you can sign-up to Red Robin Royalty and get a free birthday burger. 

13. Free Printables - Just type this into Pinterest and you will be overloaded with free templates and art work that you can simply print off to use to organize your life or decorate your house. Sure, it's not going to be the fanciest art work you've ever seen but it's better than bare walls and real art work is EXPENSIVE! I especially like the printable planners, as much as I am tied to my phone I still like to have a hard copy of my schedule at home and when you use a pretty template it even looks nice on your fridge. I like this print, these prints and this print and am currently using this weekly planner


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