7 Valuable Things You Can Get for Free

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Do you like getting free stuff? Then you're in luck -- and just in time. Once a year, Kiplinger's magazine compiles a list of freebies "that you would happily pay good money for." The "Fabulous Freebies 2014" list counts down 68 items. Here are a few of Kiplinger's favorite free things.

7 Valuable Things You Can Get for Free
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7 Valuable Things You Can Get for Free
The days of the dot.com bubble are long past, and with them, companies whose "business" model involved giving away free stuff in hopes of attracting "eyeballs" to their websites. (Remember when Priceline.com would allow you to buy groceries and gasoline for less-than-cost -- for no particular reason?) But the business practice of giving away sample products in hopes you'll try, then buy, still has some merit. Kiplinger's highlights two websites that compile lists of goodies you can get free:
  • HeyItsFree.net as of this writing features free samples of Nesquik chocolate milk, Arm & Hammer toothpaste and Dove shampoo among its front-page offers.
  • MrFreeStuff.com currently tells you how to pick up a free cookie at McAlister's Deli and a free photo magnet from Shutterfly.
Restaurants are another great place to pick up freebies -- although you may need to keep a close eye on your calendar. Surveying just a few of the offerings, Kiplinger's notes that on National Pancake Day (Feb. 28 next year), DineEquity's (DIN) International House of Pancakes serves up a stack of free pancakes. Only July 11, 7-Eleven hands out free Slurpees. And to help take the bite out of tax day, Cinnabon offers up two free Cinnabon Bites.
After scarfing down a Cinnabon (much less two), dessert is probably the last thing on your mind. But for incurable sweet-tooths, Kiplinger's points out that Dairy Queen has a loyalty club that entitles members to buy-one, get-one-free Blizzards. And one day a year, Ben & Jerry's gives away free cones of ice cream during Free Cone Day. (Kiplinger's notes that this "usually" happens in April.)
Pep Boys (PBY) will rotate your tires, inspect your brakes and track down what makes that annoying "check engine" light keep turning on -- all for free. Now, you may have to sign up for a Pep Boys' loyalty card to take advantage of this. Pep Boys also use the free services as a way to lure you into its stores, and these "free inspections" are a great way to encourage you to pay Pep Boys to repair these problems. Like the saying goes, there's no such thing as a free lunch. But jumping through a few hoops may not be too high a price to pay for "free."
Free health care, anyone? Kiplinger's points out that under the Affordable Care Act, "most health plans now must provide a variety of preventive-care benefits free." These include "screenings for high blood pressure, mammograms for women older than 40, and routine vaccinations for children, as well as a long list of other tests and services." Granted, taxpayers are paying for all of this -- so in a sense it's not actually "free." But if you're a taxpayer, you've already paid for it, so you might as well get what you've paid for.
There's hardly a parent in America these days who would argue that college doesn't cost too much. But sometimes it's free. Kiplinger's notes that Berea College, in Berea, Kentucky, provides all students a four-year tuition scholarship that amounts to nearly $100,000 in value. Berea's website promises this: "Every Berea student is awarded our Tuition Promise Scholarship." Admission to Berea is "highly competitive," of course. But if you get in, "the actual cost to students and their families is $0."
And now for our final freebie (although to be honest, Kiplinger's offers many more ideas, some good, some not so good): Free language training. For those who don't make the cut at Berea, or who just want to add some specialized knowledge to their brains but leave the official sheepskin on the sheep, Kiplinger's points out that you can get free foreign language lessons online at OpenCulture.com and at the website of the Foreign Service Institute. To which we'd just add that you can get even better free language training at DuoLingo and get free lessons in just about everything else at KhanAcademy.org.

Motley Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned either. Want one more thing for free? Check out our free report on our analysts' favorite high-yielding dividend stocks for any investor.
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