Target 11: Freebies! Part II

by: Robin Taylor Updated:

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None - PITTSBURGH -- We ran a story about freebies last week that was so popular, we decided to do it again. Target 11 Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor went to work, checking with her sources and combing the internet for the best deals.

This was a challenge which left me wondering how I was going to top my last list of freebies, since getting prescription drugs for free is a huge money saver. Yet after doing my research I found some amazing deals, and the best part about it is that they're all free.

The website LivingPittsburgh.com is a wonderful resource for finding free things to do in Pittsburgh.

I had no idea that kids could eat for free on Tuesdays at IKEA, or that The Zone in Lawrenceville offers free kids' meals every day with a purchase from the regular menu.

Why pay for your birthday dinner when you can get it for free? If you sign up for the following restaurant's email lists, you can get a free entree for your birthday at: Mad Mex, Houlihan's, Benihana, the Franklin Inn and Noodles & Company.

You can also get into the Carnegie  museums of Art and Natural History for free on Thursdays through the end of March.

My search also took me to websites such as Hulu and Crackle, where you can stream movies and TV shows for free; or Pandora, where you can get free internet radio.

I also found free software from Turbo Tax, Tax Slayer and Complete Tax. Jackson Hewitt, H&R Block and now Wal-Mart will even file a 1040-EZ for free.

You can also get free business cards from Vistaprint.

Marketing experts, such as Audrey Guskey at Duquesne University, say companies do this to get your business.

"It's a way for them to introduce themselves to you, and it's very cost-effective for them to provide you with this minimum service," said Guskey.

If they do a good job, you're likely to come back and pay for their services.

I found websites where you can share a passion for music or books. At BookMooch.com, you can exchange books for free. At MutopiaProject.org, you can get free sheet music.

I also did a Google search for free stuff, and lots of websites popped up, but this is where I advise you to use caution. Some of these offers are legitimate, and some are a bit tricky.

"You don't want to ever give credit cards, because a lot of times you have to read the fine print, and if they say it's free, something may be free, but then they may start charging you," said Guskey.

If you're going to sign up for free samples, I suggest you set up another email account so your inbox isn't overloaded with spam. Also, don't enter your cellphone number, or you may be hit with unexpected charges.

Here are a few other freebies: On Feb. 28, stop into IHOP for a free stack of pancakes, and make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network.

On March 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., get a free original or cinnamon-sugar pretzel from Auntie Anne's Pretzel with no strings attached.

You can also get free coffee samples from FreeCoffeeSite.com. If tea is your beverage of choice, go to Facebook and "like" Lipton to get a free sample of Lipton Green Tea with Superfruit.