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In this episode, Chelsea breaks down several awesome tools you didn't know were totally free — from services at your bank, to public health resources, to free beauty services with your purchase, and much more!

This video is brought to you by M&T Bank. If you’re looking for better ways to bank visit today to get started.

Watch more of The Financial Diet hosted by Chelsea Fagan here:

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Regal Crown Club:
Hey, guys. It's Chelsea from The Financial Diet, and this week's video is sponsored by M&T Bank. And today, I have quite a lot to talk about because this is a particularly beloved subject of mine, which is the free stuff that's going on all around you at all times. It's like the matrix. You can't feel it or see it, but it's always there. No matter what kind of a budget you're on, you can always benefit from introducing more things into your life that are free. And whether it's actual objects, classes, opportunities, activities, or anything in between, we encourage you to take fullest advantage of the free things that are happening all around you all the time. Because let's be honest, you may not even know they're there. So let's get right into it with 10 amazing things that you didn't realize were free.

Number 1 is college showcases. Now I really, really love my neighborhood, and one of the reasons that I love it is because it has several colleges in it, which has a couple of benefits for me. One, as someone who never really got the traditional experience, it feels very like cool and collegiate to walk around all these beautiful, fancy Ivy League buildings. But also, it provides an enormous amount of free things to do. There's always a Sunday street market every single week that mostly caters to the college students, but it's also great for the people who live here and don't go to the colleges. There is a music college really close to where we live that has amazing performances all the time that are almost always free to the public. We're talking about things like opera, Broadway shows, symphonies, stuff that you would otherwise have to pay quite a lot of money for in New York City, and in a really, really beautiful venue.

 A lot of people may not realize that colleges have tons of things that are available to the public, either for a small ticket price or often totally free, even things like speaking engagements, workshops, art installations, plays. All of this stuff is often practiced for their students, who, in many cases, are very good at these sort of things. So getting more people to attend them is in everyone's interest, and therefore it's encouraged for people in the community to be a part of them. You may not live as close to colleges as I happen to, but keeping an eye on the colleges near you and what activities and performances they have on the horizon is a great way to fill up your calendar with fun, enriching, out of the ordinary stuff that you would otherwise probably not do. I could not afford to go to Lincoln Center every month to see an opera, but literally every month at the music school, there are Lincoln Center level performances of some amazing opera works.

Number 2 is services at makeup counters. Now, when we were talking about this video in the TFD office, some of our employees actually didn't even know that if you spend $50 at Sephora, you get a free makeup consultation/makeover. And aside from trying out new products or new styles that you may not quite know how to do yet, this is actually something that can be used very, very aggressively to your advantage. In the past, I have had certain events that I wanted to get my makeup done for, so I timed the purchases of my regular Sephora buys, things like my moisturizer, my foundation, et cetera, with the day of the event so that I could essentially get a free makeup artist. I've also done this at NARS, where it's $100, or at least was at the time, to get your makeup done. I've even done it at the Estée Lauder counter at the Herald Square Macy's, because aside from having amazing products, which Estée Lauder does, for almost every purchase you make, you get amazing gifts that are often worth a lot of money, and you get free makeup applications. It's not just Sephora. Many makeup counters offer services like this to be competitive. And in fact, at some Sephora locations, with a $75 spend, you actually get a facial, which I didn't know about but one of my colleagues had actually used. Point being if you're someone who wears makeup or uses cosmetic products, you're going to be making some of these regular purchases from time to time anyway, so why not time them with when something like a facial or a makeover or a consultation would be really beneficial, like for an event? And don't forget to max out all of the opportunities to get those freebies and to target the places that give really good samples. Again, hot tip for New Yorkers, the Estée Lauder counter at the Herald Square Macy's gives you samples that are basically the size of a full size makeup. Item I am still riding high off of one of their samples of lipstick that I got like a year ago. Frankly, I'm not above like putting on different fake mustaches and hats and going into the different Sephoras and being like, could I get a sample of this really expensive moisturizer I saw online? Anyway, use the system to your advantage.

Number 3 is talking to a bank branch representative. Now, something that you guys may not know is that when you have a bank account, often that entitles you to quite a lot beyond just keeping your money somewhere. And the people who work at these banks are often trained specifically to help you with things like your financial goals, your planning, et cetera. And often, people who work at these bank branches are specifically trained to help you with various financial questions you may have, to help work toward your goals, and figuring out the right products for you. We made this video in partnership with M&T Bank, and our friends at M&T have over 700 branches, where you can schedule a meeting with a relationship or investment banker to have a candid conversation about your financial status. All relationship bankers are trained and dedicated to helping you find the banking products and financial solutions that fit your needs today and as your needs grow. When you belong to a bank that knows your financial history and goals, they can help you identify services and solutions that will be important as you look to the future. A relationship maker helps resolve issues with an account and helps you optimize and manage your accounts to ensure ongoing success. Best of all, it's totally free, and many people are probably not even aware that this is a service that exists at all. If you can't wait to get started with M&T Bank today, check them out at the link in our description.

Number 4 is Freecycle is a free, membership-based organization with groups all around the world that is dedicated to helping people exchange things for free. People post when they have something they're looking to get rid of or are in need of something. And as long as you are picking up the item yourself or arranging for it to be picked up, it's totally free. It's a great way to give something you may not have use for anymore to someone who would get great use out of it, or to possibly look for an item that someone else may not want anymore. Just a quick scan of the Manhattan Freecycle today showed everything from a twin bed to packing supplies to school supplies being totally given away to someone who needs it. Especially if you're in the middle of something like a move, it's a great thing to keep on your radar.

Number 5 is clothing alterations. Now, you may not know this, but many stores offer basic tailoring and alterations for free when you buy an item. Now, this varies from store to store, and obviously not every store offers it, but many do. And if you're someone who has taken up getting your clothes tailored, which I highly, highly recommend, particularly for things like professional clothes, investment pieces, things that you wear over and over, et cetera, this is a really great way to get into tailoring without necessarily putting up that financial commitment of getting things custom-tailored after the fact. So sometimes, like with Nordstrom, for example, you're only eligible to get those free alterations if you hold a store credit card, which, in your case, may be a good reason to get the credit card if you shop at Nordstrom a lot, but that's not the case for every store. Lululemon and Athleta offer a free hemming on things, like workout leggings, when you purchase an item in store. Buckle stores offer a free hemming on denim within 30 days of purchase. Lands' End offers free hemming and cuffing on trousers and pants. Madewell offers free hemming on jeans if you're a part of their free loyalty program. Uniqlo offers free hemming on pants costing $20 or more that require machine stitching, and there's plenty more. We'll link you in the description to a great roundup of stores that offer these free alterations.

Number 6 is Planned Parenthood. Now here's something we don't talk about all the time on TFD. Your sexual and reproductive health is an incredibly important thing. And even if you're not sexually active, you have body parts and they need to be taken care of. And while most of you are probably aware of Planned Parenthood, you're probably not aware of the extent of things that they can offer in many different locations free of charge, depending on need. This will vary by branch, but if you look up the Planned Parenthood closest to you, you can usually find a list of the services and products that they'll offer for free, if you need them. That's things like birth control, STI screening and counseling, HIV testing, pregnancy testing and counseling, and even annual gynecological exams. Again, this is based on things like your income level, but if you're someone who has maybe been putting off some of these things because it wasn't within your ability to pay for, you should to look and see if Planned Parenthood could offer you some of these options. You should never skimp on your reproductive health just because you don't happen to have the cash on you.

Number 7 is free tours and museum days. So whether you're traveling and want to include a lot of activities that may not be too hard on your wallet or you want to have a legit staycation that makes you take full advantage of your city in a way that you don't usually do, you would be totally remiss not to check out all of the free museum days and various cultural activities that are almost always available in any given city. So many museums already have a free or pay what you wish policy in place every day, and many more museums have a regular day of the week or time of day where visiting is free, and we've linked you to a roundup of those in the description. And once you have picked a museum, check out all the different tours that they offer, many of which are often free with admission. And while we're discussing tours, in many major cities there are often walking tours, which are tip-based. So yes, you should probably throw a tip in the direction of the tour guide, but these are way less expensive than a totally guided experience, and we've linked to a database of those as well. And finally, if you're not a museum or tour kind of person, check out the Parks and Rec department in whatever city you may be visiting, or living in, because there is generally always a few free things going on every single month. Culture should be free.

Number 8 is library classes. So, listen, TFD plugs the library a lot. Don't even need to call us out in comments. We know, we love the library. But it's such a good resource. So most public libraries will offer a huge variety of classes and workshops on everything from more hard technical skills, like Photoshop, to things that are just fun and relaxing and enjoyable. In fact, in researching this video, I looked at some of the classes that are available at my local NYPL branch and one of them is adult coloring club. They meet once a month to get together and color together. Too sweet. Love it. But there's all kinds of stuff like that. And one thing to keep in mind when looking at these classes at your local library is that often, they are offered during typical business hours, which, if you have a 9:00 to 5:00, may be a little bit difficult to fit in your schedule. But often sometimes they will be a little bit later or on the weekends, but it's something that you may want to plan for a bit more actively. And obviously, as with adult coloring club, it's not just about that fun class or workshop, it's also about meeting like-minded people. Because honestly, what is a better group of potential friends/social connections than people who also love libraries. The chosen people. Anyway, check out your local library branch today and see what they have to offer. Challenge yourself to do at least one of those classes or workshops, just to see how you like it. Make the library a part of your life.

 Number 9 is Simbi. Simbi is an online marketplace where users can trade skills and services for free without ever exchanging any money. It's free to join and it runs on credits, which you accumulate by doing things for other people. And in addition to accumulating those credits by doing things for others, you can also arrange direct trades. For example, you'd watch somebody's dog for an hour in exchange for her giving you a tutorial on a tool or app you want to learn. There's a huge range of services from super practical things to really quirky ones, everything from tutorials on DSLR cameras to funny photoshopping of pictures of you and your friends. Try it out and see what you both have to offer and could maybe get for free that you thought you couldn't.

 Number 10 is movie rewards programs. So many theater chains offer free or low cost loyalty programs that allow you to essentially accumulate points for the dollars you spend that can go toward things like movie tickets or concessions. AMC has their Stubs Insider program, which allows you to rack up those points, and you can get everything from a free movie to free popcorn, which we know has a street value of about $100. Regal Crown Club is very similar. Again, it's also free to join and you rack up those similar points for the dollars spent, even getting things like size upgrades on the concession you're buying. Go big or go home when it comes to that popcorn, baby. Anyway, if you're someone who enjoys going to movies, always make sure to check out the programs that are available to you to make it a better deal. Because particularly, if you live in a city like New York, movies are incredibly expensive and going out of your way to find ways to make it more cost-effective has a ton of benefits. If you're someone who really likes seeing movies, maybe even consider joining one of their monthly programs, like the AMC A-list, which is $25 a month and gets you up to three movies a week, which is a really good value if you'd like to see a lot of movies.

Remember that no matter your interests or needs in life, there are tons of free things all around you that are at your disposal, you just have to know how to look for them, and how to challenge yourself to make the things that you already do more cost-effective or ideally free. And if you're already doing something, like keeping your money at a bank, you want to make sure to be getting all of the advantages that that has to offer. And as I mentioned, our friends at M&T Bank offer bankers at your disposal to help talk to you about your financial goals, needs, and priorities. So take advantage of it. You can find out more about M&T Bank at the link in our description or by going to As always guys, thank you for watching, and don't forget to hit the Subscribe button and to come back every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for new and awesome videos.