Ultimate Guide to food & drink
One of the most popular categories of freebies on our website is food and drink, and it’s easy to see why, who doesn’t like food? Plus, we always think it tastes better if it’s free.
There are loads of methods to pick up freebie food, everything from couponing at the supermarket to using codes to get free takeaways delivered to your door.
Free food and drink samples
The easiest way to find out about the latest free food samples being given away is to keep a close eye on our food & drink section on the Student Money Saver site. We find out about these sort of freebies by receiving loads of company newsletters as well as watching social media and deals forums like a hawk, you can do it too, but it’s easier to let us do the hard work.
When you’re out and about in larger towns and cities there’s lots of chances to pick up freebies too. It’s very common for companies to hand out free samples in busy places like shopping centres, train stations and at festivals, sometimes they hand out coupons WITH the free food, so you can double your luck!
Recently we’ve had free bottles of Lipton ice tea from a shopping centre, Nature Valley cereal bars at a festival and weirdly, pea soup when we were out walking around Trafalgar Square - so it’s well worth looking out for.
You won’t get as much but there’s often free tasters available at supermarkets and delis, so if you’re hungry and have no money, why not go wild in the aisles?
If you’re after more than a casual snack for free, you might want to look into getting a free meal.
If you live in central London you can get a free £10 UberEats credit by using code eats-5hr8k, and if you live in one of a number of larger cities and towns you can get £10 off the Deliveroo app with code bronnih. Once you’ve used those codes, hand out your own referral codes to your friends to get them and you even more free grub.
The best day of the year to fill up on free food is your birthday. We’ve got the most up to date list of birthday freebies out there, food-wise there’s everything from free doughnuts to free burritos, and some of the stuff doesn’t need to be claimed on your actual birthday, so you can have up to a month of freebies!
One of the most popular freebie tricks we have on our site is the KFC Wombling hack. Visit the page to see how it’s done, but basically if you’re brave enough you’ll end up with 100% free chicken, drinks and sides. Yum.
This method of getting freebies won’t work if you have absolutely £0 in your bank account, but mystery shopping and dining can bag you up to a 100% refund on your dinner, and you may even make a slight profit from it. There are definitely downsides to mystery shopping, so read our guide to find out how to make it work for you.
Everyone knows about using their student card to get a discount at restaurants and even supermarkets - at least, we hope you do! But there are plenty of other ways a student can get a full stomach for free.
Societies are very cheap to join, usually between £2 and £5 for an entire year, and sometimes they’re even free. It’s not uncommon for societies to meet up and be provided with snacks and drinks, and if you’re in charge of a society or friends with someone who is you might be able to take home the leftovers.
Watch your uni email and keep an eye on department noticeboards for free talks and seminars, there could be nibbles on offer, and more often than not, free wine.
There are always free drinks available if you’re savvy enough, with one exception. It’s actually illegal for companies to hand out free alcoholic drinks according to Scottish law, so unfortunately you won’t be able to use any of these tips if you’re in Scotland.
First of all, keep checking our Booze section for all the latest free drink offers, we try and keep this as up to date as possible. At the moment you can grab a free glass of Prosecco at All Bar One - no other purchase necessary.
If you have a favourite chain pub or bar then definitely sign up for its newsletter, often there’ll be freebies available for events like St George’s Day or the World Cup and you’ll hear about them first in the newsletter.
Every single month Pitcher & Piano gives its newsletter subscribers a choice of a free cocktail or a beer/cider. If you have a P&P local to you, then you’ll be mad not to sign up! And if you’re in London, Manchester, Liverpool or Derby you can get a free cocktail every single night by signing up to Drinki, all you need is a Facebook account.
Free hot drinks
Even if you’re in Scotland or just don’t drink, you can still get a tasty beverage 100% free of charge. We’ve written an extensive guide to getting free hot drinks, so read it to find out how to get your mitts on a free tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Experienced couponers are able to get big weekly shops for next to nothing, but even a casual couponer can get a few freebies now and again. Check out our guide to Extreme Couponing for tips that work in the UK, and how to maximise the coupons that you get.
Closing time at cafes, restaurants, etc
Have you ever wondered what happens to uneaten food when it gets to closing time? With larger supermarkets the food is either thrown away or donated to charities, so you’re probably not going to get any - sorry!
However, smaller shops and cafes will reduce their food towards closing time, and at the end of the day it’ll either go home with staff or get binned. If you’re friends with someone who works there then it can be your ticket to free slightly stale food, as from experience, there are only so many old croissants someone can eat before they never want to again.
This isn’t actually legal, but fishing unwanted food out of bins or “freeganism” is a popular method of getting a free lunch for extreme moneysavers. Supermarkets have got wise to this phenomenon, and it’s not unusual to see razorwire around the bins now!
It is still possible to be a freegan though, and we wrote about how a student spent £0 on food for 3 weeks by bin diving.
Most of us have probably picked a ripe blackberry off a hedge at least once in our life, but there are people out there making whole meals from foraged food. Find out more about it in our free food guide.
Free food from places of worship
Every day at Sikh Gurdwaras (temples) volunteers cook up free meals all day to be shared with the community, it’s called Langar and everyone is welcome to attend (as long as they’re not drunk). All it requires is that you take off your shoes and cover your head. The food is vegetarian and you’ll sit on the floor to eat it, there won’t be any religious talk in the dining room, it’s supposed to be a neutral and welcoming place.
Grow your own food
This isn’t a quick fix, but if you have garden space or a roomy windowsill you can get free food by growing it yourself, or regrowing it from the roots of other food. Check out our article on seven kitchen hacks to save you money and time for more tips on growing and regrowing fruit and veg.