These are trying times, friends. What the world needs now is an unending supply of high fives and free gifts for all the good citizens of Earth so we can go back to smiling and feeling decent about life.
Since I don't know where you live (and I'm not Santa Claus), I don't have the time to run around high-fiving everyone on the internet individually, so I'm basically passing out free and super-cheap stuff instead. You're totally welx. Just remember to pay it forward. (Free it forward?)
Here's a list of free or almost-free things your internet-loving self can take advantage of.
Free blowouts, color, and cuts
Nope, not even kidding. There's a magical little site called SalonApprentice.com that has a variety of postings from major salons across big American cities. You'll often find notes like, "Hi, I'm training for a new position at Drybar and need to prove how good I am. If you have medium-length curly hair and need a free blowout this Tuesday, just email me at..."
It's standard to tip the service provider after if you like your results, but still, free hair services? OMG YES.
Free résumé templates
There's no reason to hate your job, and a great résumé is all you need to at least open the door to your next batch of interviews.
Microsoft has a sort-of-under-the-radar free tool that lets you create, clean up, and enhance your resume, and it's brilliant for anyone looking to make the next career step without dishing out $300 for a "résumé coach" to do it for you. You can go from traditional to bold and modern.
Super-cheap and free beauty products
If you have an Amazon Prime account, the world is your free oyster full of beauty pearls because there are tons of brands looking for honest, real reviews of their products to help boost their reputation and searchability on Amazon. Basically, if you have an Amazon Prime account and you're willing to try a product and write a few paragraphs and take a photo of yourself using it, you're set to hit the free/cheap beauty mother lode.
You can review saliva pH testing trips for 10 cents here (not kidding). Other more luxury-minded beauty brands like Kaffe Cosmetics (which I've actually tried for xoVain and loved) will issue you a 90 percent off code plus free shipping for select products. Brands like Teadora also offer a ton of free samples if you pay a small shipping fee.
Free pads and tampons
I mean, we don't really need to go into this too deeply, but U by Kotex has a variety of free tampon and pad sampler packs to suit your fancy.
Unfortunately it's not a whole-bottle type situation (boo!), but tons of great wine shops offer free tastings on select days. It doesn't really matter where in the country you are because wine-tasting nights are pretty standard at reputable shops, and you can easily suck back a couple of glasses of something new, trendy, or on sale.
Here's a list of the current tasting schedules around NYC, but you can basically call your local vineyard or wine shop to see when they offer tasting hours. (You still have to be 21.)
Free pet food
This isn't just about getting some free lip balm and wine; a lot of bighearted people out there have the cutest, most adorable pets, and unforeseen circumstances like job loss or debt have left them unable to comfortably feed them. If you're struggling financially, you don't have to let go of your little guy. There's a big network of resources dedicated to keeping your furry family together and out of shelters. Info on that here.
Free or really cheap clothes
That Amazon review thing is big, and I found links all over Facebook suggesting that mildly ill-fitting clothes are often free with loads of social media promotion. Finally, your Twitter following has a value!
Free tours in your city
Lots of local tour companies offer free guided tours, and often, they're a great way to pass a sunny weekend day with a friend or loved one without spending money on anything other than the bottle of water or cup of coffee you bring with you. Check these out: Free Chicago Walking Tours, free tours in Philadelphia, and there are plenty more out there.
Free skin coaching
SkinAuthority.com is offering humans of the internet free skin coaching with no obligation to buy anything. Basically you live-chat with one of their skin experts (you'll see the option on the homepage) and tell them all your skin woes and dramas so they can talk to you about formulas and ingredients that make sense for your life. Not bad.
Free, well, everything for YouTubers
Do you have a YouTube account and about 10 minutes of your life to devote to talking about why the tea strainer you received for free is the next big thing? Good news: Tomoson wants you. You can sign up to link your social media accounts and get offers from companies that make weird kitchen gadgets to incontinence supplies so long as you video yourself and the items in a way that makes them seem appealing. If you're underemployed and in desperate need of a watermelon-slicing gadget, this is for you.