By Douglas Ehrman, Contributor
As the world becomes even more commercialized, an increasing amount of free stuff can be had through discount offers, recycling efforts and Internet loss leaders. Learning where to look for these deals and free samples can save you a significant amount of money on a variety of stuff. Below are the 31 best websites to check out for free stuff, although not in any particular order:
While Craigslist has a mixed reputation -- users need to use caution and common sense when interacting with total strangers -- it is also a great source of free stuff. As the phenomenon known as freecycling becomes increasingly popular, Craigslist can be a great resource for finding these offers. Freecycling is based on the idea that many people have used items that have remaining useful life but they are replacing those items anyway. Rather than throwing these items away, the owners offer them to the general public for free.
FreeStuff.com gives you access to free samples of common household items ranging from coffee to moisturizer. You can use this site to save money on many items you use or to try out new brands for free.
Yerdle describes itself as the "people-powered store." The idea of the site is that the more stuff you give away, the more credits you earn with which to buy other things you might want on Yerdle without having to use cash. While this might seem like it takes more effort than throwing things out, you can get something instead of nothing for items you were going to put in the trash. Using a service like this could be a good option for items that you feel are too valuable to simply give away or throw away but that you're not having success selling.
FreeSamples.org is a portal that gives you access to a variety of free product offers for things like household products as well as coupons for products and local restaurants. The offers are updated every day.
5. The Freecycle Network
The Freecycle Network is made up of nearly nine million members worldwide. It is dedicated to enabling members to get and give stuff for free in order to put goods to their most efficient use -- and keep usable items out of landfills. This nonprofit describes itself as a "grassroots movement," and local volunteer moderators help handle network activity to keep exchanges safe and posts accurate. Membership is free.
6. Woman Freebies
Offering people the chance to try before they buy, Woman Freebies supplies free samples, coupons and giveaways of products geared toward women, from candles and shoes to vacations. This site is a good place to look for fun stuff you need or even a cheap gift for your mom, sister, wife or girlfriend.
Drugs.com is an online resource that offers a drug discount program. The free membership card can save you as much as 80% at major pharmacies, according to the website.
8. The ReUseIt Network
The ReUseIt Network serves as a portal to give you access and information on hundreds of freecycling groups worldwide. The site focuses on directing you to freecycling groups and resources in your local area.
9. Free Stuff Finder
Free Stuff Finder shares deals, giveaways and discounts offered both online and at popular retailers. The site shows you both the original price of an item and the price after coupons and discounts to break down your savings for you.
Target has a free sample portal that allows you to try products for free. Furthermore, by signing for the store's Red Card, you can save 5 percent on every purchase. Know what you're signing up for before committing. Loyalty cards can come with perks but also typically track your purchases, which some consumer advocacy groups consider an invasion of privacy.
SweetFreeStuff.com offers an e-newsletter that includes regular access to great deals online and free samples. The website also lists giveaways and sweepstakes you can sign up for online.
Cardpoolis an online marketplace that allows you to purchase gift cards at a discount to use at your favorite stores. While the discount levels vary, there are some attractive deals to be found. You also can sell your gift cards for cash.
13. All You
Lifestyle website All You lists 59 birthday freebies. The site also provides coupons for groceries and household items as well as other exclusive deals.
14. The Penny Hoarder
In addition to listing 100 places that have free birthday offers, the Penny Hoarder offers advice on saving and earning money in unconventional ways.
Another site with a long list of birthday freebies, Hey It's Free also is a good source for free offers throughout the year. Find coupons for everything from free food and moisturizer to free comic books and codes for free rewards points.
16. Freaky Freddie's
In addition to deals on products for grown-ups, Freaky Freddie's has long list of free kids' stuff. Check out offers for books, T-shirts, coloring books and activities like roller skating.
17. Totally Free Stuff
Totally Free Stuff
18. I Love Free Things
I Love Free Things is another site with a diverse collection of free stuff for kids, from books to deals on fun activities like bowling. The site has dozens of other categories of free stuff for all ages as well.
Freeflys.com provides lists of free samples, coupons and coupon codes. You can search the site or look for items sorted by category or brand name.
Raise is an online marketplace that allows you to buy gift cards for products and services from over 1000 stores and restaurants at a discount. The site also gives you the option of selling unwanted or unused gift cards for cash.
21. Recycle the World
Recycle the World is another freecycling website that allows you to post and find free stuff. Whether you are looking to get rid of unwanted items or are looking for something specific, the site lets you target your local area. It also provides a search tool to help you find recycling centers near you.
Couponing has grown from a trend into a lifestyle for many people, and the number of websites dedicated to providing access to coupons has exploded in recent years. As a leader in the industry showcasing more than 2,000 brands, Coupons.com offers multiple ways to get coupons online. You can use the site to print coupons, find coupon codes and find discounts to specific retailers that you can add to your credit or debit card.
Another great source of free coupons, SmartSource.com can help you save money on everything from beauty products and groceries to weight loss products and sanding sheets for your DIY projects.
24. The Krazy Coupon Lady
Extreme couponing website The Krazy Coupon Lady
Freebie-Depot has "hot lists" for everything from everyday offers to birthday giveaways across a range of products and services from various brands and retailers. Among its many categories, the site features a wedding freebies section with deals for people who are getting married or are recently married.
While Lifehacker is known for unconventional solutions to everyday problems, the website often publishes articles on how and where to save money, such as a feature on the best retail and restaurant birthday freebies.
In addition to providing access to a variety of offers, Freebies.org offers tips and tricks on how to save money as well as its Complete Guide to Freebie Hunting.
28. I Crave Freebies
Similar to other online sources of free samples, I Crave Freebies offers links to coupons for discounts and free product samples. It also provides links to sites that pay you to take surveys.
Updated daily, GetItFree finds free offers for everything from food to household products. As you browse the site, you can add coupons, deals, freebies and sweepstakes offers to your basket just like you would when shopping online.
Freebies.com started as a print magazine more than 30 years ago. As a digital resource, it continues to provide a blend of both products and services that are offered at no charge from major national retailers.
Shop4Freebies catalogs offers for everything from free home care product samples and bargains to free cookbooks. Its list of printable coupons and other offers is updated daily.
Hundreds of sites offer consumers great ways to save. This list narrows down the options so that you can more easily find providers of freebies and deals that suit your needs. By checking out the features of these different sites, you can find the online resources that work best for you, whether you want birthday freebies, discounted items, coupon codes or free stuff year-round.
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 31 Best Websites for Free Stuff
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