Advanced Money-Saving Tactics to Get Free Food

Free Refill Sign for People Who Steal

Ignore signs like these when you're trying to save.

Look around you.

Tons of free food and stuff for the taking.

Here’s the deal. If you spend money on food these days, you’re basically an idiot.

Even Panera Bread is giving away free food.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? It’s because you’re asleep, man. Wake up!

Let’s look at what I like to call, “advanced” tactics for saving money on food and other stuff.

Free refills for life. You pay for cokes? Sucker. Go to McDonalds right now and buy a large coke. It’ll cost you $1. Now keep that cup for the rest of your life. Next time you’re thirsty, go back to the nearest McDonalds for refills. Easy.

Even if you call it soda or pop,, you’re a sucker if you pay for another sugary, carbonated beverage. While you’re there, don’t forget to grab your free napkins, ketchup, mustard, mayo, salt and pepper. Bottom line: getting free stuff from fast food joints is super easy.

Free food all day long. Don’t stop with free drinks. Why not eat for free too? There are tons of good options for this. Start off your day by visiting a nearby hotel for a “free” breakfast buffet.

Get yourself some bagels, fruit, or even make your own waffle. Free and fun! If you’re not absolutely stuffed when you leave this place, then you’ve failed. Don’t forget your free copy of USA Today!

Getting hungry for lunch? Here’s where your money-saving smarts really kick in. When lunch time rolls around, just swing by your local discount membership warehouse. Any Sams or Costco will do. Except on this trip, no membership is required.

So what are we here for? Free food samples, people! Look around. They have a variety of free samples for the taking.

Only amateurs take one sample. Take two (or three) at first swipe. Then circle back around five minutes later for another few. When the sample guy or gal starts to give you grief, go read the latest literature (for free!) in the book section till his/her shift is over. By the time you finish the latest vampire-themed novel, there’s a new, freebie-giving sucker ripe for the taking.

Getting hungry for dinner? Start early and scour your local pubs that offer free appetizers to their happy hour patrons. No one says water isn’t on the happy hour menu.

Belly up to the bar, order a cold glass of tap water, and get to snacking on those wings, or whatever it is that they are giving away. Before you leave, don’t forget to swing by the bathroom to grab some free toilet paper.

So obviously I am just kidding with all of this money-saving advice. Everything I listed above is pure theft. Don’t steal things and call it saving money. Behind every business is an owner and group of employees who depend on customers paying them for their services. These aren’t charities.

Of course, this post wasn’t meant to demean anyone who is really in need of charitable services for food. Additionally, I see nothing wrong with using legitimate means (i.e. coupons, kids eat free) to buy food for less.

This post was written after I personally witnessed the McDonalds free refill theft. Have you witnessed anyone stealing food? Will you own up to using any of these “advanced” techniques yourself?

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Last Edited: February 24, 2012 @ 1:46 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a husband and father of two. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.

Comments

  1. Word! That’s what I’m talking about.
     
    What about going to a Mexican restaurant and ordering water while scarffing down the chips and salsa for 2 hours!?!? What about squatting for WIFI at Panera and grabbing your neighbors leftovers when they leave in order to appear as a respectable patron!?!? What about organizing all your neighbors Kohl’s cash into your wallet and then using a 25% off coupon when you use them!?!?
     

  2. The line between theft and frugality can be grey at times. Steal your neighbors free chipotle burrito coupons when a new store opens nearby, wrong! 

  3. jebmatulich says:

    Crumb snatchers is what I call em.

  4. Jackie Walters says:

    I witnessed the same kind of theft at a local McDonald’s just last week.  This guy who I think was a nurse or doctor (he had scrubs on and a stethoscope around his neck) hid his cup inside his jacket and went to the bathroom and came back out and filled up his large cup with soda.  I thought you got to be kidding.  Than people wonder why fast food prices go up from time to time.
     
    Great post.

  5. I don’t hang out at fast food resturants often enough to witness this.  But it does remind me of the AmPm Big Gulps from my childhood…

  6. Bravo PT!!  So many times have several of the “Frugal” blogs I read tout the free lunch of samples from the local Costco (ok, so some folks justify the membership fee as a reason to take advantage) and stocking up on condiments from McDonald’s.  Why not emphasize the $1.50 hot dog and drink from Costco to consider  yourself a truly frugal individual with some morals.  I hate the fact that some folks consider mooching being frugal.  I rarely comment on any of these blogs and it’s funny how a simple humorous post like this really stoked the passion in me about what being frugal really is.  Once again, Bravo!!!

  7. Donna Freedman says:

    You scared me for a minute. I thought you were serious! Kept reading and thinking, “No, seriously — Phil’s gonna jump out and yell ‘April fool,’ right???”
    I hate it when people sample produce. They stand there and eat four or five grapes or cherries before buying a bag — or before NOT buying a bag. I voiced this to an acquaintance once and she replied, defensively, “Well, how am I going to know if the fruit is any good unless I try it?”
    “Do you also open bags of cookies or chips and try them first?” I replied.
    “Well, it’s just a few grapes.”
    “How many shoppers come through this store every day? If even every other person took four grapes, how much would the store lose?”
    Oh, and have you ever seen people take a candy from the pick ‘n’ mix and stroll off, chewing happily? Grrr.

    •  @Donna Freedman Haha. I’m surprised I was able to get past you even for a bit, Donna. I thought you’d see through my sarcasm. Seems I don’t give my writing enough credit. :)
       
      Oh, I definitely admit to stealing from that pick n mix as a kid. I got a “sample” caramel just about every time I went shopping with my Mom. I was so afraid I’d get caught too.

      •  @Philip Taylor Yeah, but I’ll bet the fear of getting caught made that caramel extra tasty! :)

  8. Squeezer @Personal Finance Success says:

    I had to LOL at all of the suggestions

  9. I was actually sitting here considering the hotel breakfast and I’m almost sure there are lots of people practicing the free soda bit… no no I kid. I would love to watch someone try these things. 

  10. So you had me going for a second there, and I was reading along saying to myself, “ok he’s GOT to be joking here..” Some people in dire straits may have to use these tactics out of necessity, though there is probably better ways. If you don’t need do do things like this in order to just survive, don’t be that guy.

  11. If you are really in a tough spot there are legit ways to get “free” food. Though not extensive some farmers allow people to glean their fields. There are “gleaning” coops where day old stuff is collected and redistributed. Recipients share in the work. Free samples by mail, free birthday meals, free days (Rita’s first day of spring or Auntie Anne’s preztel give away come to mind) are all options.

  12. frugalportland says:

    Oh, lord. I was really shocked by this. Thanks for the last line!

  13. Love the post PT!  I totally agree about the reminder that there’s an owner or two and a bunch of employees on the other side of the theft.