Hi, Aidpagers. While there may be no such thing as a free lunch, there are some easy and legal ways to get items, merchandise and even food for free or close to free. Here are some ideas - feel free to ad your own sources or success stories!
International. Check the Craig's List site closest to your area. There is a section called "free" where people post stuff they want to get rid of - you usually just have to arrange to pick it up. There is also an area called "wanted" where you can post what you need.
International. Another great site where people post items they are willing to give away.
A freebie site full of samples, from food to clothes and more. Seems to be USA only. There are many like this on the web, just do a search and read through until you find one you like.
At farmers markets the prices usually drop close to closing time because the vendors would rather get something for their wares than pack them up and haul them back home or have them spoil and be useless. For example, at a local farmers market a charity sells donated day-old bagels, 6 for $1.00 - but close to closing time you can get 2 dozen for $1.00. The same goes for the produce, some of which is organic!
At supermarkets, find the discount or clearance rack. This is where they place items that are close to expiring or are overstocked. Around my house they are usually found near the public restrooms. The prices are usually written in with marker on a big sticker.
At all retail stores it never hurts to ask for a discount. If you find a flaw on an item just point it out and ask for a discount. Usually the manager can make the price adjustment.
Find the clearance sections at your favorite store. Wal-Mart usually has one aisle where their already-low prices are rolled back even more. Target puts red-tagged clearance items on the endcaps.
Go to local street fairs and health fairs, where businesses and utilities give away lots of prizes and promotional items. Even if you don't need the items, you can always pass them along to friends, schools or even trick-or-treaters (as long as they are safe).