Frugal Innovation: 45 Fascinating Examples of Free Things People Have Made Use Of

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1Free Soup Coffee & Doughnuts

Free Soup Coffee & Doughnuts

During the Great Depression Al Capone started one of the first soup kitchens, called “Free Soup Coffee & Doughnuts for the Unemployed." Capone’s soup kitchen served breakfast, lunch, and dinner to an average of 2,200 Chicagoans every day.

2. In 2012, when Taylor Swift held a public vote for where she would visit and preform a free concert 4chan users voted for a children’s school for the deaf and won the vote.

3. Anybody can walk into a Sikh temple after prayers and partake of the free communal meal called langar. The meal, a symbol of equality and community is given to anybody who wishes to partake, without any expectation of payment.

4. Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago with a population of 3000, is the only visa-free zone in the world meaning that anybody may live and work there indefinitely regardless of country of citizenship.

5. Canadians are entitled to receive a free flag from the government ($150 value), but the waiting period was 99 years in 2018.

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6Harris Rosen

Harris Rosen

After millionaire Harris Rosen gave everyone in a Florida neighborhood free college scholarships and free daycare, crime rate was cut in half and high school graduation rate increased from 25% to 100%.

7. Owning an electric car in Norway grants you free public parking, free ferry trips, and the right to drive in bus lanes.

8. A school in Poland is named after an Indian Maharaja, in honour of him providing shelter and free education to hundreds of Polish women and children after they had to escape Poland during World War 2.

9. People in the US got free flights by buying money from the government. People would buy $1 coins in bulk from the US mint (free shipping) and pay off their credit card bill with the coins. They would buy the coins with credit cards that awarded frequent flyer miles, thus getting them free miles.

10. Martin Couney set up infant incubator shows at Coney Island, Atlantic City, and World's Fairs, charging¢25 to view premature babies. He offered free care for 'weakling babies', proving the success of incubators. He saved over 6,500 babies from 1900-43.

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11Free Bread and Herring

Free Bread and Herring

In 1574, the Dutch city of Leiden was under siege by Spanish forces. The defenders breached dykes, flooding the low-lying countryside. Naval ships reached the city on Oct 3rd, bringing bread and herring and ending the siege. Leiden still gives citizens free bread and herring every Oct 3rd.

12. A town in Texas renamed itself to DISH in 2005 for 10 years of free television service from the Dish network company.

13. Red Cross Clubmobiles served free hot coffee and donuts to US soldiers in England. The Clubmobiles were staffed by women called "Donut Dollies." The service was so popular, Clubmobiles accompanied soldiers on D-Day and through the end of the war in Europe.

14. Awardees of the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor, are entitled to a lifetime of free first-class tickets on Air India.

15. On Pretzel Sunday, a spring celebration in Luxembourg, the Pretzel Queen and a group of bakers parade through the city of Luxembourg and hand out pretzels for free, accompanied by a small tourist train decorated with pretzels and a marching band.

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16Heart Attack Grill

Heart Attack Grill

The Heart Attack Grill is a hospital-themed restaurant in Tempe, Arizona, where “patients” over 350 pounds eat for free and the wait staff are dressed as sexy nurses.

17. About 1389 people died at a banquet celebrating the crowning of Tsar Nicholas II. The banquet was free to the public but a rumor of gold coins as gifts and there not being enough beer for everyone caused a stampede; trampling many. The festivities continued anyways and the incident was cleaned up.

18. MLB gives out “golden ticket” that gives free admission to the bearer to any game. It’s given to players after 8 years in the major leagues, people who have worked for a team for 25 years, and other VIPs. NASA astronauts, returning Vietnam POWs, and the 1979 hostages in Iran were all given one.

19. “University of the People” is a tuition-free, American-accredited online University providing Bachelor, Masters and Associate degrees in Computer science, Business, Health Science and Education.

20. A man named Stuart Drummond was elected to be the first and only mayor of the English town Hartlepool under the guise of thier football mascot, H'angus the monkey. He barely campaigned and his only promise was to provide free bananas for school children. He became the first elected mayor in Britain to win a third term.

21Overnight Free Parking

Overnight Free Parking

Most Walmarts allow people to camp in their parking lot overnight for free.

22. The “cyber seat” was world’s first park bench that gave free internet. It was installed in the UK in 2001 by Microsoft. Within days, two teens had plugged their house phone into it, attempting to call Bill Gates to say ‘we are calling you from your bench.’ They managed to reach his secretary.

23. Anyone can purchase a Volvo and get a free trip from the US to Sweden to tour the factory and test drive your car in the land that it was built in. All costs including airfare and shipping the car to the US are complimentary.

24. During the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Mcdonald's ran a nationwide promotion offering free products every time a US athlete won a medal. It turned into their most costly promotion ever when the Soviet Union, the powerhouse team of the time, boycotted the event, letting the USA win big.

25. British breweries donated free beer to soldiers during World War 2, but after D-Day, there was no room for it on the ships going across the English Channel. Spitfire mechanics and pilots worked together to modify pylons to carry beer kegs and deliver brews to the troops. Flying high enough chilled it.

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