5 Ingenious Ways to Get Free Food

Free Stuff

"Did somebody say free food?" Yeah, we did! Nothing will grab someone's attention more than the promise of complimentary grub. And with good reason! Free food, if you're not well-informed, can be more difficult to find than a purple unicorn.

But there are always loopholes to the system. You just have to know the right people (ahem, us!) to tell you how to get these highly sought-after freebies.

1. Free Pastries From Bakeries Before Closing

Man handing bread to customer

Some establishments are misers and would rather toss excess or expiring food in the trash rather than offer 'em for free. Others, however, will gladly hand you a few baked goods that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Panera Bread, for example, may give you a few stale muffins right before it's time to close up shop, according to a former employee. After all, it was going in the trash, anyway. They might not be the freshest pastries you've ever had, but stop complaining because they're free!

Local bakeries might offer the same service, y'know, depending on if they're stingy or not. It's always worth the ask.

2. Watch Out for "Refreshments Served" at Local University Events

Salty snacks

There's a reason why event organizers put "refreshments served" on their ads. People go from, "I can't make it. I have to, er, clip my toenails!" to "Free food? Heck yeah! Count me in!" All you have to do is show up, suffer through the rhetoric, and grab your food. You can check out info on university events via bulletin boards or their site calendar.

Just make sure it's open to the public before you get kicked out for being the non-student freeloader that you are!

3. Seek Out Fruit Trees

Girl picking apples in orchard

It's easy to forget in this day and age, but fruits don't originate from grocery stores and farmer's markets (shocking information, we know). Foraging for fruit like Wilma Flinstone might not be your thing, but come on, you can get free berries and nuts if you know where to look.

An interactive site called Falling Fruit maps out where you can harvest fruit for free. Simply zoom in on your location on the map and red dots will appear to signify a fruit tree is present. Plums and figs, here we come!

4. Get Freebies by Signing Up for Loyalty Programs and Newsletters

Woman using laptop

No one likes to get bombarded with spam e-mails from restaurants, but for free food, it's a whole different story. Keep sending us your unbearably boring updates so we can get a free burger, please! Then again, you can always designate a separate email for your free food spam. When you sign up for newsletters and loyalty programs, most restaurants will offer a little free somethin-somethin as a thank you.

Here are a few restaurants that will bribe - er - we mean "reward" you for handing over your e-mail address:

5. Fill Out Surveys for Free Food

"Yay, I cannot wait to take this survey!" said no one ever. Surveys are boring and they take forever (honestly, who has the time for 'em?). Survey conductors know this and, consequently, they will offer you an incentive to complete their hellish forms.

Observe your receipts. Some restaurants such as Subway offer free food in exchange for filling out surveys. You should also consider checking out apps such as SurveyMini, which allows users to answer short surveys, collect points as rewards, and redeem them for free food. Win!

You're sadly mistaken if you thought free food meant dumpster diving or sitting on a street corner holding a "Feed me!" cardboard sign. It's all about what you know and how to hack the system. All this free food was right under your nose and you didn't even know it!

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5 Ingenious Ways to Get Free Food