There is a lure when it comes to getting something for nothing. If you are high profile enough, you probably receive gifts for publicity reasons as a token of thanks or so you will show up to specific venues. However, for the rest of us, free means being a bit more creative. There are all sorts of hobbies that promise something for nothing, however, each of them costs time. The old adage is right, nothing in life is free.
I tried mystery shopping for awhile and worked for practically every major company. I ate at fine restaurants, shopped in some wonderful stores, and could have slept in great hotels, but opted not to. To get “good” jobs you have to be MSPA certified. I was. The pay is ridiculously low in comparison to the time spent. The experience was worth it for me just to realize how low these mystery companies actually pay someone to use time and gas to gather information for them. They are, in my opinion, thieves. Not only do you spend time checking them out but afterwards you have a report you are obliged to fill out and send back usually within four to six hours. I found most of the reports to be long and tedious. Your report would be graded by an editor for minor infractions. It was like going back to middle school after graduating college.
There are other hobbies that people pursue other than mystery shopping that can bring in a few dollars such as entering sweepstakes. You’ll notice that DivineCaroline has several on this site! Each promotes a specific company or brand name. I know that in December I entered a sweepstakes for a piece of equipment many times. I did not win. However, in January I bought a different piece of equipment from them. Sweepstakes can be good business for companies because it gets their name out in a positive way. If you enter a sweepstakes and win, remember that Uncle Sam considers that money earnings and you will need to report that money and pay taxes on it.
Yes, nothing in life is free but sweepstakes come close.