Some sure ways to make someone hate you are to say you’re a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Duke Blue Devils or New York Yankees. And another way is to brag to someone who pays for something that you got it for free.
Only the latter, incidentally, allows you to retain your soul. And thus it’s the only one among the group that makes you feel truly good about yourself. That’s because you’re not, as with the sports teams, admitting a personality flaw (and this is coming from an unrepentant Yankees fan) but offering an opportunity to educate so others can share in your smugness.
Allow me to do just that:
1. Audit a college class rather than enroll.
The answer to anyone’s aimless ennui is to pack it in and go back to school. This happens to be an obscenely expensive whim, and often turns out to be something that, unlike a fresh round of student loans, quickly fades away. Have it both ways by showing up at class while skipping that whole “paying tuition” thing.
Here’s how you do it: Choose a class or two that interests you, then spark up a conversation with the professors. Let them know how interested you are in their work — do some recon beforehand by reading up on their publications — then ask if you can sit in on a class for a semester. Flattery will get you everywhere, and once you find out you’re bored with the whole college scene, you’ll have lost nothing but time.
2. Hop from one free trial to another on subscription services.
Netflix, Redbox and Amazon Prime all offer free trials that let you test the waters of their streaming video services without paying up. After the freebie period ends, the companies hope you’re hooked enough to not bother canceling your account before the automatic credit card charges start rolling in.
You can game the system by canceling just before your free trial ends, then hopping to the next service, rotating until all of them refuse to offer you trials anymore. You can work around the blockage by having a significant other, BFF or roomie start up a trial once yours ends.
3. Get invited to promotional movie screenings.
Movie studios love it when you pay full theatrical price to take in their blockbusters, but they love just as much to let you see their flicks for free, before they are released to the general public, at promo screenings. The idea is that you’ll be their guinea pigs, and by giving them your post-screening reactions, who give them a read of how their films will fare once released into the wild.
4. Use text-to-speech apps rather than download classic audio books.
Savvy readers such as myself, as well as pre-schoolers everywhere, know that being read to is way, way more awesome-er than forcing your eyes to do all the work. The problem is that audio books are so expensive. So once you’ve exhausted the library of free Audible classics or one of the thousands in the at are available in the public domain, you may like storytime as you drive and work out so much that you’ll be willing to pay for the experience.
Nonsense. Instead, opt to download free versions of the books, then invest in a text-to-speech app that lets you hear the story for free. Sure, you may have to suffer through a Speak & Spell-style computer voice rather than an actor’s narration, but at least you won’t have to pay for it.
What other freebies have you been able to take advantage of?