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August 16, 2013

Consumer Reports: Enjoy summer with fabulous freebies

There's only one thing better than a bargain, and that's a freebie! ShopSmart, the shopping magazine from the publisher of Consumer Reports, recently uncovered ways consumers can score a variety of stuff without shelling out a dime, including many food and activity options for adults and kids this summer season.

"If your budget is tight, there's lots of products and services you can score for free," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "But beware, some offers really are too good to be true, so make sure to check the details if the freebie requires you to sign up and share personal information or a credit card number."

GREAT SUMMER FREEBIES

ShopSmart uncovered dozens of ways to score free stuff in six categories: skills and services; snacks and more; classes; fun times; books, music and more; and other surprising stuff. Below are some warm-weather suitable products and services from different categories that adults and kids can enjoy without paying for them:

Bowling. Head to kidsbowlfree.com to register little ones to enjoy two daily games of bowling all summer at participating alleys. Some places even throw in a free shoe rental.

Internet service. Want to stay connected while on the go this summer? The Wi-Fi Finder app (free for Android and Apple) finds no-charge connections nearby.

Kid food. Search the Kids Meal Deals app (free for Android, Apple and BlackBerry) of kidsmealdeals.com daily to find nearby no-cost bites.

Movies. A few independent theaters and chains, including Clearview Cinemas and Cinemaworld, screen movies for kids; seating is first-come, first-served, and some theaters require a paid adult admission. As temperatures heat up, many cities turn parks into movie theaters with sunset film screenings.

Outdoor skills. Get out and enjoy the weather. Some REI locations offer no-charge instruction on bike maintenance, mountain climbing prep and a lot more. Check a local store for more information or go to rei.com.

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