10 Ways to Get Free Food
When you’re on a student budget, nothing will make your day more than scoring free food. It’s not the easiest thing to come by, but we’ve got all the tips you need.
You might think getting free food is verging on the impossible. But, thankfully, it’s not.
There are actually a ton of legit ways you can get free food, all of which keep well within the law.
The trick is simply to know where to look for your free grub. And we’re here to tell you where to focus your hungry eyes, plus a few tricks on how to get maximum results.
How to get free food and drink
These are the best ways to get free food and drink:
1. Use supermarket cashback apps
Supermarket cashback apps don’t always guarantee free food. But at any given time, there are usually a few freebies across each of the apps. Even when you’re only getting a discount, the savings can be substantial. All you need to do is download the apps, view the offers, and check the eligibility criteria (like which supermarkets are taking part). Once you’ve bought the product, simply scan the receipt (and sometimes the product’s barcode), and voilà! You’ve got your cashback.
2. Become a mystery diner
Fancy getting free food from your favorite restaurants? Look no further than mystery dining. All you need to do is sign up to an agency, wait for them to give you an assignment at a local restaurant or food chain, and write a report on your experience. These agencies are paid by the owners of the establishment to ensure certain standards are being met. In turn, the agency ‘pays’ you for doing all the hard work. The reason we say “pay” with a pinch of salt (pun intended) is that agencies will often only cover the cost of your food. Usually, you won’t be paid in cash for your efforts. But if you’re just in it for a free meal, what’s the harm? Find out what you need to do to sign up here.
3. Sign up for restaurant newsletters and apps
Loads of restaurants and fast food joints offer something free when you download their app or sign up for their newsletter. This includes the likes of Greggs and KFC. It’s worth noting that there are tonnes of other ways to get cheap and free KFC too. Other chains are a little more sporadic in their offerings. Take Subway, for instance, which regularly gives Sub card holders free sandwiches, cookies, and other treats for all kinds of reasons (including National Sandwich Day).
4. Get free hot drinks from coffee shops
There are so many different coffee shop chains out there. And, there are loads of great ways to get freebies from them. Our guide to getting coffee free runs through all of the ways to get a free hot drink at the major chains. It includes Costa, Pret, Caffè Nero, Starbucks, and more. And don’t forget to keep visiting independent coffee shops near you, too. You might find that they have their own offers that could bag you some free food or drink. Plus, you’ll be supporting local businesses. Win-win!
5. Look for food waste supermarkets
Check to see if you have any food waste supermarkets in your area (yes, they really do exist!). Essentially, food waste supermarkets have a deal with major supermarkets and restaurants. Any food that isn’t up to their lofty standards – but is still perfectly edible – is donated to their warehouses. This stops crazy amounts of food from being wasted, and the products they have are amazing. For instance, the Real Junk Food Project have warehouses and cafes popping up all over the UK. They all operate on a ‘pay as you feel policy.
6. Use zero-waste apps to find free food near you
We’ve all been there. You drastically overestimate just how many oranges you’ll eat in a week. And all of a sudden it hits you – they’re gonna go off before you get a chance to eat them. Fortunately, precisely because we’ve all been there, there’s now an app for you and everyone else to get rid of excess food for free. What’s on offer will vary based on what people in your area have going, ranging from raw ingredients to leftovers from a cooked meal. Sometimes they may ask for a small donation to charity as payment, but more often than not there are freebies to be had.
7. Get paid to go to the pub
If eating for free isn’t quite enough for you, it turns out you can even get paid to go to the pub. Sign up as a pub tester with Serve Legal and you’ll be asked to visit pubs and confirm that they’re checking the IDs of any young people buying alcohol. Due to the nature of the work, Serve Legal primarily look for applicants aged 18 or 19. That’s because teenagers are more likely to look like they need to have their IDs checked. But, if you fit the bill, you could be paid anything between £5 – £50 per audit.