Things You Get for Free: Making the Most of Free Events in Your Area

Freebies are everywhere. If you’re trying to live frugally, making freebies a key part of your arsenal can boost your savings as well as adding fun to your life.

Taking advantage of freebies doesn’t mean you never pay for entertainment or luxuries. On the contrary: it can help ‘free up’ the necessary funds to splurge on higher priced events and items that enrich your life: theatre tickets, a ride in a hot air balloon, a gorgeous sustainable garment for a special event.

Below I’ve identified many great sources of regular freebies. Sometimes freebies will be listed on a website, but you’ll need to do some of your own digging to get the most out of free.

Libraries are one of the original homes of free. DVDs, CDs, magazines, books and in some cases ebooks – it’s all there! Many libraries allow you to suggest a purchase, which you can then reserve. Libraries often run free cultural events, such as author talks, that are listed on their websites; some hold free film screenings. And you can always peruse the daily paper in your local library if you don’t want the expense of buying it.

Local area websites. There are a growing number of websites dedicated to listing free events in local areas. For example, Weekend Notes lists free things to do in many Australian and New Zealand cities as well as East London, Edinburgh, New York and Singapore. If you’re in or going to London, there’s Free London events. White Hat lists events in Melbourne, many of them free. A simple Google check of free events in your area should throw up some sites; subscribe to their feeds for regular updates.

Museums. Museums are often free, or provide free admission to concession card holders. Don’t just restrict yourself to your state or regional museums – smaller specialist museums can offer interesting cultural experiences. In Melbourne, for example, the Immigration Museum, the Melbourne Museum and Scienceworks are free for children and concession card holders.

Universities. Become a polymath by attending the many free public lectures that unis hold throughout the academic year, covering a huge range of subjects from theatre in ancient Athens and the impact of the GFC to how to build a sustainable city. Online faculty events-calendars and newsletters are good places to start your search.

Galleries. Large state galleries often have a number of free exhibitions as well as paying ones. They also often hold free floor talks – check websites for details. Small galleries offer challenging and fascinating art that you can view for nothing. Pinpoint a few in one area and go on a gallery crawl.

Local councils may offer many types of free events. They sometimes run free fitness classes. My local council, for example, offers free yoga, chi gong and tai chi classes, in parks during summer and indoors during winter. In 2011 it ran workshops and presentations on how to keep chickens, how to create edible gardens, and gardening in small spaces. Melbourne City Council has just announced it will run free dance classes monthly in the City Square or similar venue. Some councils offer free business networking events.

Many local councils also hold free outdoor concerts and cultural events during the warmer months.

Local festivals often include a host of free entertainment, talks and workshops.

Meet-ups. Meetup is an online bulletin board for events and gatherings of all stripes taking place in dozens of places across the world. Not all of the events are free; some are workshops and classes, and some group outings cost money, but there are cafe meet-ups where you only pay for what you consume. Start your own meet-up!

Informal business networking meet-ups that aren’t organised for profit don’t necessarily cost anything apart from what you buy at the cafe or bar. For example, Flying Solo, a website for Australia’s microbusiness community, provides a forum for its members to organise informal meet-ups in their local area.

Bookstores often hold free author talks and book launches – you might score some cheap wine and munchies if you’re lucky.

Free film websites. Word-of-mouth is a vital means by which film distribution companies advertise their offerings. Preview screenings of films can now be accessed on the web from sites such as GetScreening.com and SeeFilmFirst.

City parks sometimes hold free events in summer such as free guided walks. For example, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne offers a free Summer Discovery Walk.

Neighbourhood houses sometimes run free or very cheap classes - check the websites of those in your local area.

Until next time!

No comments :