There are many steps we can take in our quest to achieve FIRE. We seek additional sources of income, look for ways to save money, and try to find free alternatives to things we’d otherwise buy.
For FIRE veterans, the approach to searching for all these things becomes second nature, but if you’re new to the concept you may be a bit unsure of where you can go hunting for freebies. Here are some places to look.
No matter how frugal you are, you can’t get away with not buying food. So getting some for free is always a nice bonus.
Thankfully, there are plenty of places where you can grab some gratis grub. The first place is to grow it yourself. This is a FIRE favourite but, of course, does involve some work since you’ll need to tend to your crops with water, fertiliser, and a little maintenance. There is also a sense of pride in growing your own food that even makes it taste better.
Aside from this, you’ll find coupons that let you pick up food for free from your local grocery stores and other retailers. These can be clipped from newspapers and magazines or printed from the internet. A quick Google search will usually reveal all the latest options.
Several apps also let you pick up food from your local neighbourhood to prevent it from going to waste. These vary from country to country, so check what’s available in your area, but they all work in a similar way to social networks and classified ads sites: someone posts what they have to offer, and you respond if it interests you. You then make arrangements to collect either at their home or from a neutral location.
Games are a popular hobby, but buying new titles all the time can soon add up. Thankfully, there are plenty of gaming freebies that you can take advantage of to save some money.
You’ll be surprised at the quality of content you can find for free, as even many of the biggest names in gaming offer titles that won’t cost you a penny. Epic Games has one of the most famous free games on the planet as its Fortnite Battle Royale game is free-to-play, as is Activision’s Call of Duty: Warzone, and Riot Games’ League of Legends.
These companies are able to let players enjoy their biggest titles for free because they include the option to buy in-game items and customizations. However, there is no obligation to hand over any cash and you can still progress through the game, but just a little slower.
Even popular casino games can be enjoyed for free by using “play money” versions. Most online casinos offer free options to let new customers practice and learn the rules before they make a deposit and play with real money. These free games work in exactly the same way as the paid versions; for example, you play roulette against the dealer and use the same standard decks of cards, regardless of whether it’s a paid or unpaid version.
You can find free games available in most app stores and marketplaces, on just about every device.
Mobile Apps and Computer Software
Like games, apps and software can cost you an arm and a leg if you’re not careful. Thankfully, there are some tricks you can use to get free versions and alternatives.
One of the best places to look is AlternativeTo, a website that crowdsources recommendations for free and cheaper alternatives to leading commercial software. For example, if you want software to edit your photos, community suggestions for alternatives to Adobe Photoshop include the open-source GIMP and Krita, while free replacements for Microsoft Office include LibreOffice, WPS Office, and Apache OpenOffice.
For mobile apps, the first place to look is your device’s app store, but you can also find paid-for apps for free either because they’ve just become free permanently or they’re on offer for a limited time.
The Paid Apps Gone Free for Android alerts you when apps that used to be paid-for are available for free. AppSales and myAppFree also do the same thing, while iOSnoops offers the same service for iPhones.
Even if you don’t need the app right now, if it’s a useful tool, you can download it and then uninstall it from your device. You’ll then have access in the future should you need it at a later date.