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The Geek’s Guide to Getting Almost Anything for Free

Does it pay to be Internet savvy? Yes. In more ways than many people imagine. Sure, the Internet is a great way to research just about anything you could ever want to know about; and it’s an outstanding communication, marketing, and entertainment tool. But the Internet can also save you a boatload of money. And we’re not just talking 10 cents off here and there. We’re talking free (and nearly free) stuff.

Want proof? Here are a few of the sites where a host of free goods are lurking, ripe for the taking

1. Craigslist’s Free Section: Looking for a computer desk? How about a sofa, kids toys, electronics, office supplies, landscaping materials or lumber? These are just a few of the hundreds of items listed in a single day in most any city’s Craigslist free section. People are generally honest about the condition of the stuff they’re listing, and many have pics, so you can see for yourself. If you’re a “Mr./Ms. Fix-It” type, you’ll be in heaven. But even if you aren’t, you’ll be surprised at the kinds of things people are giving away. Look for the FREE listings under the “For Sale” section of your local Craigslist board

2. Freecycle: Much like Craigslist, Freecycle is powered by the people and rooted in a belief that it is better to give items a second life, rather than filling up landfills and creating more stuff. Folks can list anything they have to give away, and others can browse the goods to find what they want. And, like Craigslist, you’ll find a ton of great free stuff through Freecycle. Unlike Craigslist, Freecycle is run through Yahoo! Groups, and you have to join your local group before you can give or get stuff. This makes it a little more of a process to find and list items, but advantage of this process is that it’s moderated, and people can communicate with the community at large. This reduces the likelihood of people listing garbage and describing it as treasure.

3. TotallyFreeStuff.com: Now we get into the realm of samples, coupons, and rewards. You might have to actually do something to get the free stuff listed at TotallyFreeStuff.com, but most of it is pretty simple. From just supplying an email address (have you set one up just for this kind of stuff?), to taking a survey, or visiting a website, the requirements are laid out for each offer and are all simple for the most part. They have some good stuff too – like a free sample of the latest Doritos flavor, a free 1-year subscription to SPIN magazine, or a Uniball smearless pen. Offers are submitted and rated by users, so you have a pretty good idea of what’s worth looking at before wasting a lot of time.

4. Yes All 4 Free: This site is similar to TotallyFreeStuff.com, but laid out in a very easy to browse format and with more detailed descriptions of all the offers. Check them out for free samples, coupons, and rewards.

Does it pay to be a bit of a geek? You bet it does. So, get your geek on, and fire up the laptop and get some free stuff. If you have other examples of sites you use to get free or nearly free stuff, we’d love for you to share them in the comments section.

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur (Co-founded YoungEntrepreneur.com), mentor, investor and award winning Co-Author of Kidpreneurs (Basic Principles of Entrepreneurship for Kids). He owns Blogtrepreneur.com and writes for Contently.com.