The ultimate guide to fresher’s freebies

Published on behalf of Kamila Zielinska

  1. You’re about to get very popular.

If you want to avoid constant notifications on every device you own, you should make a new, separate e-mail specifically for offers. This is a must. Most of the freebies are given out in return for you signing up to the company’s/society’s/club’s contact list. Now you can get unlimited free stuff without worrying about getting spammed. Afterwards, save the address for future freebies, and do keep checking it – it’s very likely that even more offers and freebies have been sent to you.

  1. If it’s free, I’ll take it.

Fresher’s week is busy, crowded and quick. Don’t stand around wondering if this will look good on your desk, just take what they give – unless it’s drugs of course. Every freebie has its meaning and purpose in this world. Give your unwanted pizza slice to someone behind you, your free hot drink to someone on the streets, or your free shot glass to a flatmate (Secret Santa is sorted).


Illustration by Laurene Boglio

  1. Come equipped.

You need to come prepared, and I don’t mean bringing a pen (trust me, there will be more than enough FREE pens). No matter how good at ‘multitasking’ you said you are on your personal statement, this isn’t the time to start juggling things around. You only have two hands and there are way more freebies then that, so fold up a few carrier bags in your pocket (just in case you don’t get given a free one!).

  1. Go to EVERY fair.

I don’t care if you feel out of breath just thinking about the sports fair, you need to be there for the freebies (if it encourages you- they often involve pole dancing, cheerleaders or boys in swim shorts).

Yes, you’re hung-over, you haven’t slept, you’re homesick, you’ve caught Fresher’s flu… I don’t wanna hear it. You can’t let yourself miss out on any fairs or events – including those not organised by your uni. Places like the o2 Academy and large shopping centres organise their own student events every year. The last Meadowhall student night in Sheffield gave out free Nando’s vouchers, unlimited free popcorn and makeup samples.

  1. Free things come to those who wait.

Have I already mentioned big crowds? The queues to our student union’s freebie fair went all around the campus, and people were still queuing after four hours. Either show up extra early, or prepare for standing outside for a while. Plus, you actually find that half of the freebies are given out whilst you’re still in the queue outside, so yes, it’s worth the wait.

  1. Cheat the system.

There’s usually an unwritten rule – one of each freebie per person. So if you really want extras, bring a partner in crime with you to collect them! My boyfriend’s dislike of pizza became very useful during the fairs, giving me all that extra domino’s. Plus, one can hold the other’s stuff when you need spare hands to enjoy your free crêpes.


Image by Michal Kubalczyk

  1. Don’t just shove it anywhere.

You come back from the fairs, exhausted and about to start pre drinks – there is no way that you’ll have time to sit there and look through everything you got your hands on. In my first year I had freebies cluttering all over my bed, chairs, desk and floor to a point where I actually avoided my room. Instead, find a box or corner in your room and pile them up until you find the time for them – but don’t leave it too late, or like me you’ll end up buying a bottle opener, even though there are seven in your freebie pile.

  1. Forget what your mamma taught you.

It’s time to ignore everything we’ve been told as kids. You must start talking to those strangers offering you free sweets. There’s a guy in the middle of campus shouting ‘free Subway’? He probably means it, walk up to him. You want another domino’s slice but you already had yours? Go back around and just ask. Chat to every rep, take part in their competitions, listen to them. Not only will it get you more free stuff but you’ll also meet new people – sorting yourself contacts all around the city, which can only mean more freebies.

  1. Don’t let those vouchers rot.

You can leave the free posters lying about for however long you want, but those vouchers have a use-by date. Put them into piles of those you care about (the free Subway I mentioned?) and those that are not useful (like free entry to a bar that’s free entry anyway).

But your job’s not finished yet. Once you have the good pile, check every date. Some might be valid for the full month, some might only work today – and some, believe it or not, might only be valid on a specific date in six months. Domino’s ended up handing out ‘refreshers’ vouchers, which weren’t valid until February. But thanks to phone reminders, I got my hands on a few pizzas when it came around!

  1. They’re yours to KEEP.

By ‘keep’ I mean, literally, keep, on you, all the time. Another reason why people miss out so often is because they go get that stupid subway anyway, and then remember they have a vouch.. oh never mind, it’s at home. Put them in your wallet or a separate holder and never leave them behind. I used a free bus pass holder I got from the welcome fair and made sure it was always in my bag – this way, you never miss out on a freebie ever again.

Image by Rebecca Aldama

Apart from these top tips, I want you to remember one REALLY IMPORTANT thing – to enjoy yourself! It is genuinely one of the greatest parts of your uni life, and you should have all the fun you can. Getting free stuff is so much fun, but if you ever find that it’s not your thing or it’s too much of a hassle for you, find a different way to enjoy Freshers Week (or a different opportunity for free stuff another time).

Although I’m all about taking everything that is free, don’t abuse the system. Some local businesses sacrifice a huge budget for student marketing, which results in these freebies. They WANT you to have them, but please don’t be that person that goes too far and ruins it for everyone else.


PS. If you enjoyed this post, I also blog about student lifestyle over at – feel free to check it out!

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*Featured image by Frankie Cordoba