10 Easy Ways to Get Free or Discounted Food

Whether they admit it or not, nearly everyone loves to eat. When food can be acquired for free, eating it feels all the better, particularly when money is tight and you're trying to live on a budget. Here are ten ways that people anywhere can get free or discounted food, none of which require much work on your part:

1. Take Advantage of Free Samples

Free samples are a staple in many grocery stores, bakeries, ice cream parlors and more. If you're hungry and want a snack on the go, take advantage of these free samples while you shop to take the edge of your hunger without paying a dime. Besides, tasting free samples is a great way to try new foods.

2. Competitive Eating

Most people don't think of competitive eating as a way to get free food, but that's essentially what it is, just with a competitive spirit. Even if you think you have no shot at winning one, entering an eating competition for a food you love lets you go home absolutely stuffed for free.

3. Get a Job at a Restaurant

Working in food service can have an added benefit: many employers will offer their employees heavily discounted or free meals. In addition, many chefs and restaurant owners will let their employees snack on dishes that were slightly off from what the customer ordered.

4. Search for Restaurant Promotions

Many restaurants offer promotions to customers who sign up to get email alerts or join a rewards program. Oftentimes, restaurants will send out newsletters containing coupons and special offers on meals. Check the websites of popular restaurants near you, as these kinds of offers can usually be found on the restaurant's homepage.

5. Celebrate Your Birthday

Take advantage of your birthday to get discounted meals or free items at restaurants. Many restaurants will give diners free drinks or a free dessert on their birthday, or they may even discount the whole meal.

6. Take Surveys

It is common practice these days for restaurants to send out surveys periodically to get feedback on their food and their service. Oftentimes, customers who complete these surveys will receive coupons, discounts or gift cards. Not only can this help you get free or discounted food, but it will also help your favorite restaurants improve.

7. Grow Your Food

Growing a garden is a great way to get some free food if the conditions on your property allow for it. Different fruits and vegetables can be grown in each season, and you can soon be getting free apples, pumpkins and squashes in the fall and tomatoes, greens and berries in the spring and summer. Free seeds are easy to come by at many farmer's markets, nurseries and gardening stores, or you can even take seeds from fruits you eat. Gardening rewards you with free food while also giving you a new hobby.

8. Attend Local Events

Another great way to get free food is to keep an eye out for local events that serve food. College students in particular can take advantage of this at free events on campus, but even in your town or city, you may find events free events that serve refreshments, or ticketed events where free food is served with the price of admission.

9. Go to Grand Openings

Many stores and restaurants incentivize potential customers to come to their grand opening by providing free food, and in some cases, they'll also offer discounts or small gift cards at the opening. However, supplies of free items tend to be limited at these events, so be sure to get before they run out of food.

10. Be a Menu Taster

When restaurants open, they will often offer customers a chance to taste different items on the menu. You usually have to pay for the items, but once the menu tasting is complete later on, the restaurant will reimburse you. This tip only works when a new restaurant opens or an existing one is trying to revitalize your menu, but as long as you keep track of offers from restaurants near you, there's a good chance that you'll be able to get free food for tasting services at some point.

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