Yes, that’s right, there are legal ways to get free food or free groceries in Australia, without dumpster diving! Many Australians will already be using some of these methods but you may not be aware of all these tricks!
Read on for 12 ideas on how to get free food or free groceries in Australia..
Introduction – Ways to get free food or free groceries
With rising grocery prices, it is harder than ever for some Australian families to make ends meet and so I thought it was timely to share the ways I have been able to get free food or free groceries in Australia, in legitimate ways. You may have heard of some of these methods, and others might be something new for you. None of these ideas involve dumpster diving either! Some of these are ideas for snacks, not necessarily entire meals, and some are ideas for free (non food) grocery items. Let’s get into it!
Woolworths Bunch Club
Admittedly, when I heard about the Woolworths Bunch Club, I went online and applied, only for them to tell me the program was full and I had to go on a waiting list to be admitted. So, I put my name on the waiting list and forgot all about it. Then about 6 months later, I received an email informing me I had been admitted into the program and I could create an account to start receiving opportunities for samples to try. If you’re happy to apply for the waiting list, then sit and wait until you get admitted, this program is worth it! I receive emails telling me there are new products to ‘try’ at Woolworths.
All you need to do is scan your EveryDay rewards card and that particular item scans up as free! You sample the item at home, and write a quick online review within your Bunch account. This is quick and easy – a quick rating out of 5 and a comment about what you thought of the product. So far, I have sampled and scored for free: Frozen mixed berries, an entire 1kg roast turkey, cheeses, olives, breakfast cereals, tinned fruits, burger patties, dried fruits and some canned goods.
In my opinion, it’s more than worth the wait – just apply for the waiting list and then forget about it. In 6-12 months, your future you will thank you for it!
Facebook ‘FREE’ Groups
Have you searched your local area for Facebook ‘FREE’ Groups? There are often Free groups where people swap items they no longer want or need. Some areas don’t have these groups, but make sure you check what’s close to you, on Facebook. Every now and then, people give away grocery items or excess unopened food they no longer need.
In the free Facebook group in my area, I have seen people giving away excess packets of chips, bottles of soft drink and boxes of biscuits after a big party where they were unopened. I have also seen people give away heaps of pantry items when moving house. Sometimes this was big cardboard boxes full of free canned goods, cereals, juices etc so they don’t need to transport them while moving. I have also seen people giving away vouchers for free Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon boxes, as trials.
It’s certainly worth joining a free Facebook group in your area if there is one. If there isn’t, you could start one! People love freebies, and if you have any items you no longer need, it’s a great way to get the ball rolling by giving some of your items away and then trying to get new members joining the group.
Grow food in your garden!
I have another whole article about this but don’t feel limited by small spaces! I live in an apartment and have a small balcony, and I have been able to grow a lot of my own herbs and veggies which saves me heaps of money! Here are the items I no longer buy because I grow them myself and they grow all year round:
- Fresh Basil
- Spring onions
I also grow cherry tomatoes, lemons, snow peas, beans, lettuce and beetroot, but these are seasonal and only produce at certain times of the year.
You can pick up seeds or seedlings pretty cheaply and start growing in pots in even very small spaces. Many plants will keep producing for you with just a little bit of care and attention.
Woolworths Free Fruit
Ok, so this is an incentive by Woolworths to encourage healthy eating in kids and to invite shoppers in which is great, but there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of this several times a week by taking the kids with you and giving them a piece of free fruit while you pick up a few grocery extras. It keeps the kids happy while they’re walking around, and it’s one less piece of fruit you had to buy for them (even if that is a few days per week).
It’s free and easy to apply for a FlyBuys card and every time you shop in eligible stores, you can scan it to gain more points. Once you reach a minimum of 2000 points, you can redeem these points for free groceries (or other items). It’s easy enough to scan each time you shop and then it’s a nice surprise when you’ve reached enough points that you can redeem $10 or $20 worth of free groceries.
Free Fresh Supermarket Flowers
Ok so this is something I discovered when I was working as a Childcare Director and we had a Mothers Day afternoon tea as one of our upcoming events, to plan at our centre. I popped into our local supermarket one day to pick up some items and I noticed that the person at the front of the store who was adding fresh flowers to the flower stand, was taking the old bunches of flowers and placing them on top of each other in a trolley. I went over to the staff member and asked what happens with all of the bunches of flowers that get replaced each day, that they can no longer sell. The staff member advised me to speak with the produce manager of the store and ask her.
I approached the produce manager and she informed me that the older bunches of flowers simply go in a skip bin at the back of the store and thrown away. I asked her if it was possible to come and take those flowers that were getting thrown away and she agreed that yes, twice per week, I could come to the supermarket to take the flowers that were intended on being thrown away, so that our childcare centre could repurpose those flowers and prevent them going into garbage.
We would collect these (sometimes half a trolley full) of often barely wilted flowers (sometimes only a browned petal or two), and use them at the childcare centre for: craft projects, pretend flower shop play in the sandpit, exploring our senses by smelling and touching the flowers, we decorated lunch tables with them, and when we were finished with them, we cut them up and placed them in our compost tumbler.
I have told this story to many people who have tried the same thing at their local supermarkets. Some supermarkets are more than happy to oblige, even for individuals (not just for a childcare centre or school), while others are more reluctant. If you form a good relationship with the produce manager, you never know what he/she might throw your way for free! It worked for me!
It’s certainly worth a try!
I don’t order my groceries online very often but when I did, there were often free samples in there! Sometimes this was when I was ordering online for the childcare centre I was managing, and sometimes it was for home orders, but online orders often used to attract a free sample of a food item or other grocery sample. Not only that, the person picking the groceries would so often make mistakes!
Despite numerous complaints regarding the wrong item arriving in my order, mistakes kept happening. There was a silver lining however, and that was that I would get a credit for the item I ordered that was missing, but I would also get to keep the item that was a mistake. While I didn’t make a habit of this, and I certainly wasn’t relying on the grocery picker to make mistakes, it WAS happening often, and it would take my time to call up and request the credit for the missing item. In the meantime however, I was scoring free items that were mistakes, which I never ordered.
Whichever way you look at it, the mistakes were inconvenient, but I was, by default, scoring free grocery items. I also know for a fact, that this happens to many people. I have at least 4 people in my friends and family circle who have reported exactly the same thing, which is why they keep using the online store!
Joining the Everyday Rewards program is also free and easy, similar to FlyBuys. Scanning your EveryDay rewards card each time you shop gains you points and these points can later be redeemed for free groceries, sometimes in the form of a dollar amount taken off your groceries, sometimes as a percentage discount.
Not only that, Everyday rewards will email customers with an occasional free item to redeem and try.
Community Pantry / Op shops
There are community pantries in particular areas where you can contribute, but also take free non perishable food or other basic grocery items. You will have to do a search as to what is available in your local area, and this is not something I have taken advantage of myself, but I have been to Op shops and seen many grocery items available for free, for those that might need them.
Community pantries often have groceries, fresh fruit, and other household items available for free, at particular set times of the week. You may need to register to be able to take advantage of these community pantries.
Have you ever asked your family members to do a swappsies day or night? I know I often end up with grocery items in my cupboard I know I’ll never use. This might be an item that has been bought for me, or something I bought on impulse which I later realised was not going to get used. Every now and then, my siblings and I bring a bag of groceries we have from our pantry that we won’t use ourselves, and we play swaps! They might score some canned soup, some excess herbs or lemons from my garden, some shampoo I don’t like or some soft drink that was given to me that I don’t drink.
They might be giving me fruit from their fruit trees, some cereal they decided they don’t like or some pasta or hand soap. It’s a great way to prevent waste and score some free items for yourself.
There are many restaurant chains and takeaway stores that offer the occasional free item, a sign up freebie or birthday freebie. This might be a free coffee from Gloria Jeans, a free smoothie or juice from Boost Juice, a free burger from Hungry Jacks, free burrito at Mad Mex, or various other menu items for free.
If membership is free, you’ve got nothing to lose. Keep an eye out for free memberships and make sure you redeem freebies when they’re offered.
These can be difficult to get into, and it is not something I have tried, but you can apply to be a mystery diner. Companies such as Invisible Guest send you on assignments to dine out, and give detailed feedback on your experience. Usually, you don’t get paid for your time to do this, but they do reimburse you for the cost of the meal. It’s a great way to try out new restaurants and score a free meal while enjoying social time with friends or family. Like I said though, it can be difficult to get accepted into mystery Diner programs.
I have invested in an Entertainment membership year after year. the cost is currently $120 for an annual multi-city membership which gives you vouchers and discount codes to redeem at various stores and restaurants. It includes 2 for 1 meal deals at some of my favourite places meaning I can take my son out to eat, and we get 2 meals for the price of 1 at a few different places. I usually make back the money I’ve spent on a membership in a few different visits, including getting discounted gift cards, half price hair treatments, or heavily discounted movie tickets.
Don’t forget the Cash back Apps!
Lastly, I wanted to mention the two cash back apps I use – CashRewards and ShopBack. CashRewards and ShopBack offer cash back on purchases through their app. They have a wide range of stores connected to them and you can sometimes get 100% cashback on food – at the time of writing this, CashRewards are offering 100% cashback at Pizza Hut (with T’s and C’s). They also sometimes have huge cashback on grocery gift cards and other food stores.
You can get free cash ($10) by signing up to Shopback HERE.
You can also get free cash ($10) by signing up to CashRewards HERE.
Summary – Ways to get free food or free groceries
So for anyone counting, that was actually 14 things I mentioned there, so there were some bonus ideas. I hope this has given you some ideas on ways to score yourself some free food or free groceries, in legitimate ways! The increase in the prices of groceries has been a pinch many of us have felt so it’s a great time to find ways to be more savvy, or score freebies wherever you can! It might help you to build up that Emergency Fund even more! If you’re looking for other ways to make some cash, you can read my article on how I made thousands by selling items online.
Do you have other ideas on how to get free food or free groceries? Or have you tried any of these ideas I mentioned? Let me know in the comments!