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The 6 Best Things You Can Get Absolutely Free

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Student life is expensive, right? And with the popularity of 99¢ Iphone aps and Kindle ebooks, it’s easy to fall into the rut of paying at least a little for everything. Thankfully, there’s still a lot of fun out there to be had for free. In fact, with modern technology, there’s more than ever. Let’s look at some student-tested favorite freebies that can make your life better—and cheaper—today:

1. Phone Calls Skype is a student’s best friend, and so is Google Voice. While they might not meet your phone needs 100% of the time, using free calling services on the internet can definitely eliminate most long distance charges and save an enormous number of minutes on your cell phone.

2. Online Storage Not only are many online storage services free, they can eliminate the need for physical back-ups of your data. Try Dropbox and access your files from any computer, any time. Especially if you keep your number of photos modest, you’ll be saving for ages before you hit the capacity of a free account.

3. Novels and Movies Hello, it’s called a library. Old-school free stuff! Most colleges and universities have at least a small collection of entertainment materials, but your average public library has quite a bit more. It’s normally no problem for a student to get a public library card in town, and then the novels, ebooks, and movies of the collection are at your disposal! Bonus: you can cultivate relationships with the librarians, who are experts at finding material. Having an extra librarian in your corner is never, ever a bad thing when you’re a college student.

4. Food All sorts of restaurants and food businesses offer free meals and treats on special days of the year. Put the following ones on your calendar and never miss an opportunity to fill your tummy for nothing:

  • February 23rd National Pancake Day at IHOP. Hop on over and get you some.
  • March 23rd Starbucks Free Pastry Day. Why? We don’t know. Just eat your scone and be happy. (Note: you must purchase a small coffee and get there early in the morning to take advantage of the deal!)
  • April 26th National Pretzel Day. Get a free pretzel at Pretzel Time, Pretzelmaker, or at many independent pretzel purveyors.
  • First Friday in June: National Donut Day. The best deal is at Krispy Kreme (free donut, period) but Dunkin’ Donuts will give you a complementary donut with a coffee purchase, too.
  • May 28th National Hamburger Day. Check at your favorite hamburger joint to see if they’re participating.
  • August 21st National Spumoni Day. Yes, spumoni.
  • Your birthday. Nearly any restaurant worth its salt offers a free meal or at least a free dessert for birthday boys and girls. Research what’s in your area, bring your ID, and enjoy!

5. Music If you’re willing to bypass a certain degree of convenience, you can listen to nearly anything you want online through Grooveshark.com. Want some great music without picking all the songs yourself? The music stations offered by NPR.org are one of the internet’s best kept secrets. No, it’s not all classical—their hip-hop station is some of the best, most cutting-edge play ever to come America’s way. Try Microphone Check for the hip-hop you wish other stations would play, or opbmusic for more indie than you can shake a stick at.

6. Education No, not your college credit classes, but just about anything else you want to learn is available for free somewhere on the internets. MIT OpenCourseWare, Khan Academy, TED talks… the list gets longer with every passing day. You never have to stop learning or spending time with interesting experts. No matter how far where you are in terms of school, you can always be learning, exploring, and cultivating your mind.


Elisabeth Bailey+

Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

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