Of course, some freebies have catches, like they want you on their mailing list or to spend on plastic. But work it and you win.
1. Free Krispy Kreme doughnut
'Like' the Krispy Kreme UK Facebook page and it'll ask you to sign up to its newsletter - do that and you'll get a voucher for a free (normally £1.35-£1.75) original glazed doughnut (print or show on your smartphone). It's valid at all standalone stores so not Tesco, service stations, Costco etc.
2. Free loft/cavity wall insulation
Energy firms get fined if they don't meet Eco quotas, so to avoid that, some give free loft and cavity wall insulation. Unusually, British Gas currently allows ANYONE (not NI), with a suitable home - not just its customers or those with low incomes - to get it. The Energy Saving Trust estimates some can save up to £500/year fitting both. British Gas also occasionally does promo deals where it gives loyalty points or £50 gift cards to people signing up. Full info in Martin's Get free loft and cavity wall insulation + rewards guide.
3. Free YSL foundation
Head to your nearest YSL counter where you'll find two make-up freebies. No voucher's needed, you'll just need be shade matched there and then by a beauty adviser. After this you'll then receive a 5ml sample of either YSL Fusion foundation or YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat. There were 400,000 samples available at the start of this promotion and all stores will have them, but they're likely to be going quickly.
4. Free £100 M&S/ Homebase giftcard
Accepted new Amex Preferred Rewards Gold cardholders get a bonus 20,000 reward points if they spend £2,000+ on it in the first three months. Just use it for all your normal daily spending to hit that trigger (needs an average spend c.£700/month), providing you can afford to repay.
Now normally I talk credit card freebies, but actually this is a charge card, not a credit card. With charge cards, you've no choice but to repay the card in full each month so thankfully there's no interest. Although you have to pass a credit check and need a minimum £20,000 family income to apply.
However, the key here is the 20,000 points, as these can then be converted into a £100 gift card for the likes of M&S, Homebase (the exact deal depends at the time, but it's always a big range of high street stores) and more, such as flights, eg, 2x BA Paris returns (here you pay taxes).
The card normally has a £125 annual fee, but this is waived in the first year. So if you don't want to pay it, cancel before it hits.
5. Free tea and cake at John Lewis
I was all ready to say get a free John Lewis loyalty card online on the John Lewis website or in-store, and you get free tea/coffee and cake, every month! Now I need to say you MAY get free tea/coffee and cake. John Lewis has been running the scheme for just over nine months, but has just told me it now may give some people different rewards for signing up. I still suspect many will get the deal, but only time will tell.
6. Free £100 for switching bank account
Banks are desperate for you to switch and are willing to bribe you to do so. No bad thing as these are usually best buy accounts anyway, and switching now takes just a week. All require a credit check though.
- First Direct has won every bank service poll I've ever done, 92% rate it great. It currently gives accepted new switchers £100, a £250 0% overdraft, and a linked 6% regular savings account. You need to pay in £1,000/month (equiv to a salary of £13,300/year going in).
- Halifax Reward gives accepted new switchers £100, then £5 each month as long as you're in credit, pay in £750+ a month and pay at least two direct debits. Just avoid its overdraft.
- Marks & Spencer gives accepted new switchers a £100 M&S gift card plus 1 reward point for every £1 spent at M&S - good for die-hard M&S-ers. Unusually, there's no minimum pay-in.
7. Free Diet Coke
Look out for special 500ml bottles of Diet Coke with the word "hunk" on them in selected Boots stores and you'll get it for free (usually £1.37). Just take it to the till. There are 24,000 hidden bottles and the offer ends on Tuesday 19 August.
8. Free £10 perfume for O2 users at The Fragrance Shop
O2 smartphone users can get a £10 off everything voucher (bar clearance items) in-store at The Fragrance Shop with no minimum spend via the Priority Moments app. When my team went in-store, they found a Made in Chelsea perfume for £10, Amore Mio Forever for £10 and Charlie Red for £6 - meaning these items would be free with the voucher. This offer is in-store only, the code can't be redeemed online.
9. Free microchipping for dogs.
You can get your pooch microchipped for nowt (vets usually charge £30 for the procedure) via Dogs Trust charity events in England and Wales. The microchip helps reunite you with your dog if it goes missing. If you can't make the events, you can get your dog microchipped for free at any of the 19 Dogs Trust centres, though you'll need to make an appointment (subject to availability).
10. 'I got a free Citroen' and more freebies
Instead of providing landfill fodder or eBaying unwanted goods, people offer them to local communities via giveaway sites such as Freecycle and Freegle. You could bag yourself sofas, beds, TVs, bikes, cars, boats (yes, really) and more - I've heard of people having huge successes from giveaway sites.
Some get amazing finds, some of course are disappointed - one of the biggest successes I've seen comes from Mary_Hartnell: "That would be a Citroen Picasso car - probably not one from Picasso's 'blue period'."