How to Get Free Food

1
13 Ways You Can Eat for Free

Hand reaching for food on table
foodiesfeed.com

Tired of paying for food? Then, don't. Let's look at 13 ways to put free food on the table -- including restaurant meals.

Option #1: mystery shopping

Become a mystery shopper, and you'll enjoy free (or even profitable) meals out on the town. Restaurants want to know how they're doing, so they pay people to pose as regular customers. You go out to eat, and when you get home, you fill out a brief survey about the experience. Easy! 

Want to get in on the action?, Sign up with several mystery shopping companies. Then, watch their shop boards for restaurant gigs. If you see a shop you want, be sure to request the assignment quickly. the good shops get snatched up almost as soon as they're listed.

2
Forage

Foraged Foods
Foraged Foods. © Flickr user Ryan

Learn how to identify edible foods in the wild, and enhance your diet with free-for-the-taking fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and nuts. Many mycological societies and agriculture extensions offer guided wild food tours, so start there, if you're new to foraging.

3
Coupon

Apps
Apps. © Flickr user Karlis_Dambrans

Employ the right coupon strategies, and you could walk out of the grocery store with several free food items each week. You don't even have to clip coupons, if you don't want to. Just spend a few minutes loading digital coupons to your cell phone or store loyalty card. Then, go collect your freebies.

4
Request Freebies

Cereal
Cereal. © Flickr user Y'amal

Free offers abound on the Internet. Find a deal blog that you like, and check it regularly to stay on top of the latest food freebies. Every cereal, granola bar and snack sample that you secure is one that you don't have to buy.

5
Barter

Cake
Cake. © Flickr user Kelly_Hunter

Money may rule the world, but it doesn’t have to rule yours. Barter your skills and services for the foods that you like to eat. Trade a quick car repair or a bit of mending work for free produce from someone's garden, a cake, a home-cooked meal or some home-canned goodies. Food is an awesome currency.

6
Accept Others' Surplus

Produce from Garden
Produce from Garden. Hinterhaus Productions/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Know someone with a bumper crop of zucchini or tomatoes? Then, let them know you'd be happy to take their extras. Gardeners are always looking for someone to pawn their surplus onto.

7
Seek Out Free Meals

Potluck Dinner
Potluck Dinner. Ross Durant Photography/Getty Images

Festivals, church events, meetings, grand openings, receptions – it seems every occasion includes food these days. Keep a look out for any event that offers free food to the public, and take advantage of it. You can easily knock out one meal a week this way – even if it's just light hors d'oeuvres. Free is free.

8
Start a Perennial Food Garden

Apples
Apples. © Flickr user Steenbergs

Annuals get all of the attention in the world of edible plants, but it's perennials that are the real bargain. Start a garden of perennial herbs, vegetables, fruits and legumes, and every harvest after the first will be free.

9
Fill Out Receipt Surveys

Receipt Survey
Receipt Survey. © Flickr user nathanmac87

Don't ignore those surveys at the bottom of restaurant receipts. They're a great way to score free food. A few minutes spent answering questions about your meal could net you a free appetizer, dessert or entree.

10
Freegan

Freegan Find
Freegan Find. © Flickr user Natalie_HG

Where do all of those grocery store cast-offs go? Usually straight to the dumpster. But, despair not, because they may soon be rescued. There's a subculture known as freeganism that attempts to put that waste to good use. Read up on the freegan lifestyle, and form your own opinion about this growing free food trend.

11
Sign Up for Consumer Test Panels

Taste Tester
Taste Tester. © Flickr user Dennis Tang

Become a product tester for food manufacturers, and try new products before they hit store shelves. You'll get free full-size products to try, plus cash or a gift card for sharing your opinion.

12
Eat While You Shop

Costco Food Samples
Costco Food Samples. © Flickr user Sarah Murray

Warehouse stores, Trader Joe's and many grocery stores are known for their generous free samples. Hit the free sample stations throughout the store, and you may just find that you can skip lunch.

13
Enter Sweepstakes

Winner
Winner. Colin Hawkins/Stone/Getty Images

Set aside a few minutes each day to enter sweepstakes with restaurant meals and groceries as prizes. Someone has to win, so why not you?