If you're on a budget, you're probably on the lookout for some free and affordable goods and services. Well, you're in luck! There's a plethora of stuff around that you can get for free, and plenty of stuff you can get for pretty low prices.


You don't have to be poor to want free stuff - a lot of stuff that's free would go to waste if someone didn't make use of it. For example, the Freecycle Network is an email network of people who let each other know when they have something they want to get rid of. Craigslist also has a free section. You can also help divert stuff from the landfill by dumpster diving.

You can get free clothing from a number of organizations, and free (if temporary) housing in the form of shelters.

Food, believe it or not, can also be had for free. You may be willing to dumpster dive, but you don't have to.

  • A number of organizations (such as food banks, but including others) provide free food and food assistance for those in need. Food stamps are also helpful for those with low income.
  • Trade fresh produce with people at the Oak Park crop swap.
  • Do some urban foraging - there are plenty of edible plants in public places in Sacramento.
  • Grow your own food in a garden!
  • Most farmers markets and some grocery stores offer free samples, though you probably can't get more than a few bites of food from samples like these.
  • Lots of food gets left on plates at restaurants after the diners leave. A lot of this food is still perfectly good and will get thrown out. You could consider sitting down and eating it before the busboys clean it up. This works best at casual places like Jack's Urban Eats.
  • Art show opening receptions tend to have all sorts of free snacks. Try visiting some galleries on Sacramento Second Saturday.


There are lots of places to get things that are pretty affordable.

You can look for subsidized housing, for example. See the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency Website for a list of affordable rental housing that is updated frequently and the Sacramento 211 for a list of affordable single room studios. There are also a number of housing organizations that provide housing assistance.

Cheap clothing, furniture, and all sorts of other goods can be had at thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets. There are also a bunch of organizations that provide free or affordable clothing.

There are lots of places to get cheap food:

  • You can often get cheap produce at farmers markets if you go near the end of the farmers market - farmers will often make deals to get rid of the rest of their produce.
  • The Grocery Outlet sells cheap food.