Free & Cheap in Denver

Do you like cheap? How about free? The Internet has some great deals, and below are just some of the ways you can take advantage of what's out there. These are all ones that I use, so if you have questions I can probably answer them. 
Feel free to share these with your family and friends!

Note that this list isn't comprehensive. It's sites and deals with which I have personal experience. 

Suggest other sites using the "Comments" link at the bottom of the page!

*Sites/tech I use daily!
Note: I have my browser set to open the following page with one click every morning while I listen to news on NPRDenver PostDealNewsArizona StarMileHighOnTheCheapComics using the Morning Coffee plugin for FireFox.


Plenty of sites give you free food on your birthday once you've signed up. You can also get big discounts by purchasing coupons -- great for a night out at a nice place every once in awhile.

FREE (Mostly Birthday)
  • Denny's (free Grand Slam on the day of your birthday)
  • Souper Salad (free lunch or dinner buffet a week before through a week after your birthday)
  • IHOP (free Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n Fruity a week before through a week after your birthday).
  • Red Robin (Free handcrafted burger a week before through a week after your birthday)
  • Ruby Tuesday (Free specialty burger a week before through a week after your birthday)
  • Costco: weekends especially, you can sample foods free as well as buy items at the food court ($1.35 frozen yogurt)


You can save a lot of money (or spend a lot if you want convenience and/or the latest and greatest). My home phone is free (well, I spent $200 on an OOMA a year ago) and my cell phone is a Net10 prepaid phone (instead of the Sprint phone that was my only phone for a couple of years).

  • Google Voice* (get a free phone number for life, includes texting/sms and forwarding to any/many phones!
  • OOMA* ($250 or less one time and local/long distance calls free for life -- I use this at home!)
  • MagicJack ($40 first year for device and service, $20/year thereafter -- plug you phone into your computer for free phone calls)
  • Skype FIXED! (make and receive free phone calls to/from computers or pay $60/year for unlimited calls in and out -- I use this for travel)


There are lots of fun things that are free: the library, hikes, bike rides, and more. Below are some free suggestions as well as some that cost a little. If you haven't taken advantage of the free days at the zoo or the museums, those are a great place to start.



Music can be free and still legal. Why own copies of music (legal or illegal) when you can just borrow or stream customized playlists. If you really want to own them, you should pay for them and below are a couple of ways to do that. I mostly use Pandora, Music One*, Radio Paradise*, KCRW*, and NPR*.

FREE (NOTE: Torrent and other file sharing sites don't distribute legal copies of music, movies, etc.! Just because you can it easily and for free doesn't make it legal, even though "everybody does it." Below are free ways to listen to music legally.)
    • Pandora* (Build your own streaming stations or pay for more features.)
    • Shoutcast (over 40,000 free streaming radio stations)
    • AOL Radio (thousands of free streaming radio stations)
    • Playlist (build your own playlists of songs)
    • GrooveShark (search for and play music)
    • Jango (create and share your own stations)
    • Library (check out CDs, as well as DVDs and books, but be sure to return them on time)
    • iTunes ($.99 downloads of legal music)
    • Amazon (download single MP3s or full albums)


You don't really need a TV and cable, although with prices dropping and the computer moving into the television set there are more reasons than ever to have one. I don't have cable, relying on OTA (over the air broadband) and Hulu for my televison fix.

    • Public Library (yeah, it's here again, but they have a great selection of free movies boxed tv shows -- just return things on time)
    • Hulu* (free streaming online tv and movies)
    • Red Box (coupons for free Red Box rentals)
    • Free/Drawings (Westword) + Free Movie Showings (in printed Westword, but seats aren't guaranteed)
    • Elvis Cinemas (in Aurora, Arvada and Littleton -- $2.50 before 6 pm and $3.50 after)
    • Netflix (streaming movies on demand as well as DVD mailers, though I use the libary and RedBox instead)
    • redbox ($1/day movie rental with kiosks at McDonalds and all over, it's hard to beat the price and convenience)


I'm signed up with Chase for my $100 bonus for direct-depositing my paycheck. It makes sense to save for retirement with an IRA and other tax-deferred savings, keep a checking and maybe savings account, and put money you can afford to set aside for awhile in CDs or money market certificates.

    • Chase (and other banks such as KeyBank offer $100 incentives for direct deposit and/or debit card use, though there are lots of conditions)
    • Mint (manage your money for free)
    • College: COF and Pell grants take some of the sting of college costs, and remember college loans are low-interest ("good")
  • Bank on Denver (encouraging people to use banks
    Whatever you do, don't take out payday or other short-term loans or check cashing!


If you break it down, insurance can easily cost $2/day (even if you don't drive the car). Add gas and repairs and you can easily spend $5 on up. Consider bicycling, walking, or taking public transportation at least some of the time. That said, I have two old cars, two old scooters (and a couple of bicycles).

    • Denver B-Cycle (using coupon D27B37SBTWM, but you do need a credit card & subsequent rides aren't free, just cheap!)
    • Rides up to 30 minutes are "always free" so you want to ride from station to station within 30 minutes (see explanation here)
    • RTD (a great deal even as the monthly pass for students goes up to almost $40 in January, still beating car gas/insurance/repairs)
    • Greyhound (as an alternative to flying, Greyhound is cheap but not always that comfortable -- station may move to Santa Fe & Alameda soon)
    • Amtrak (no pat-downs or full-body scans, and as a way to see the scenery this used to be the way to travel pre-airlines, AAA and other discounts)
    • Kayak (I use this for flights as well as for car rentals -- it compares prices from multiple sites)


Stay with friends if you can, but if you're traveling you can still find deals on hotels. Better still, stay at hostels or even couch surf. I've stayed in hostels in the US (many times) as well as Australia (3 summers ago) and Mexico (2 summers ago). Europe has great hostels (next summer) and you often spend about $10/night for a bunk bed.

    • Couch Surfing (ok, I haven't done this but I'm listed as somebody with a couch for folks visiting Denver and I tried to do this in Australia)

    • Hostels (I've stayed in hostels in Mexico, Australia, Canada and the US... and Europe soon -- bunk beds and private rooms)
    • Hotwire (also flights and cars, you don't know exactly what you're getting but you know the price the kind of hotel/car)


I hate shopping, but I like deals. I use the sites below to buy clothes (including shoes) as well as tech stuff and for dining out.