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?

Avatar About Philip Taylor, CPA

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of the personal finance industry conference and trade show, FinCon.

He created Part-Time Money® back in 2007 to share his advice on money, hold himself accountable (while paying off over $75k in debt), and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.


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  1. Avatar Nick-SAFTM says

    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.

  2. Avatar frugalportland says

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

  3. 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.