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American Families Spend $6K Each Year on Food -- Here's 5 Tips on How to Get Free Food

Free Food
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average American family of four spends about $6,000 a year on food. That's roughly $115 a week. Depending on annual income, that can take a chunk out of your weekly paycheck. While grocery costs continue to rise, here are 5 tips on how to get FREE food:

1. Become a Mystery Shopper

Grocery stores, restaurants, as well as hotels and retail stores, often hire "mystery shoppers." Mystery shoppers are hired to evaluate the products and services offered by stores and restaurants. Mystery shoppers are often paid with money as well as merchandise--like free food. Look for mystery shopper ads in the local newspaper or on job websites. You can even call your local stores to see if they are hiring.

2. Ask for Free Samples

Large retailers like Walmart, Target, and Krogers offer free samples of products that can include food and other household items. Krogers, for example, has a program called Free For All Friday. Every Friday, they offer free food samples. Several food items are offered completely free of charge. You can call your local Krogers for specific days and times for free food offers.

3. Use Coupons

If you use coupons right, you will actually end up with free food. Look for a variety of coupons in the Sunday paper, in magazines, and located at the bottom of your store receipt. By combining manufacturer's coupons with store coupons and rebates, food can end up costing you nothing. Pay attention to the manufacturers of your favorite food products, like Betty Crocker, Kellogg, Quaker and others. Then check the web site for their coupons. Many will offer coupons as well as free samples.

4. Inquire About Free Meals

Many restaurants, churches and other organizations offer free meals. Some restaurants like Red Robin, Red Lobster and Ruby Tuesday offer free desserts on your birthday by signing up online. Denny's offers a free grand slam breakfast, Noodles offers a free dish plus a chance to win free noodles for a year, Burger King and Bob Evans give free meals to children on their birthdays. Every year, IHOP restaurants celebrate National Pancake Day with a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes. A small donation to the Children's Miracle Network Hospital is voluntary.

5. Grow Your Own Food

Gardens are in. Even in small spaces, anyone can grow a tomato plant, cucumbers, and lettuce in a small area. Even peppers and eggplant can be planted in pots or in the ground without taking up a lot of space or requiring a lot of work.

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