Juls and I barreling down a mountain in Spain

In Remembrance of Juls ❤️ 🌈

My amazing, wonderful, gifted, beautiful, and only sister Julianne recently passed away in her sleep. She was my favorite sibling (sorry bros), my guiding light, my moral compass, and my tether to reality.

We vibed on the same wavelength immediately from the first day I held her in the hospital. The bond was instant and permanent throughout everything life tossed at us.

I have no clue how I'll possibly go on without her.

She was my constant travel buddy (we decided when we each got our own travel shows, mine would be called ‘Going Nowhere with Goob' and hers would be ‘Jaunting Everywhere with Juls'), my comedy partner, and my absolute biggest encourager who believed in me like no-one else.

When I got cancer, she was the person who salvaged my spirits. I'm only here today because of her. When she fell on hard times, I picked her up and did my best to remind her of all the beauty in the world.

There's not a single area of my life that she didn't directly impact for the better – from my daily breakfast, to the silly little sayings I'm always muttering, all the way up to my life's grandest hopes and dreams. I'd give a million dollars to anybody who could find a single area in my life without her fingerprints all over it.

She was my best friend for over two decades and I count my blessings for every single second we had together.

There's an old adage not to say something online that you wouldn't want printed on the front page of your local newspaper. That aphorism never worked for me, but what did was thinking about how I'd explain myself to Juls. I never wanted to disappoint or let her down; in any way, shape, or form.

I hope I never did.

Some of you may remember Juls from 14 years ago when we first made our custom cow costumes for the annual Chick-fil-A promo.

That was my Juls. She was always down for spending quality time together doing any and everything – even when it was just making a goofy costume for a few hours & dressing up like a cow for a free meal that she couldn't even eat since she was vegetarian.

Juls & Goob Dressed Like Cows
We made these in 4 hours for like $10 in parts.
Juls got the domain wrong! :)
The knucklehead got the domain wrong! 🙂

Juls was an amazing drawer and painter. She had the voice of an angel and a heart made of gold. She also had the most unhinged sense of humor that could ALWAYS make me belly laugh like no other. Her sense of humor was only topped by her actual laugh. I miss it already, but can thankfully still hear it so strongly in my head. I once spent 8 hours on a single 10 second prank just to make her laugh and it was worth every second.

She was the most empathetic and kind person I've ever met. She had a passion for animals and the environment too – her vegetarianism eventually evolved into veganism and despite my many years of joking mockery, I could never deny that she was easily the best cook & baker I knew. You should have seen the MASSIVE smile on her face when she revealed that the chocolate chip cookies I proclaimed to be the best I'd ever eaten had just been baked with all vegan ingredients.

She was so excited for me to meet the two cats (Mac and Cheez) she rescued during the pandemic. I hate that I'm meeting them under these terrible circumstances, but they are the nicest, sweetest, chillest cats I've ever met.

She did an amazing job raising them, just like she was amazing at everything else she did in life.

Juls went through college with a research career in mind and then spent a single semester working in an economically disadvantaged public school and immediately pivoted her life's goals. She adored “her kids” and was so excited to begin her career as a 3rd grade elementary school teacher this month.

That was the type of woman Juls had grown to be and I was so damn proud of her.

In lieu of flowers, my family set up a GoFundMe where a large portion will go towards providing much needed in-school and after-school support to her kids. The rest will go towards her local animal shelter where she volunteered and rescued her beloved cats.

I don't want to impose, but if any Hiffers are in a position to donate, my family and I would greatly appreciate it. Every penny raised will go towards making the world a better place, just like Juls would have wanted.

Here are a few of my many, many favorite photos of me and Juls.

I love and miss you so very much, Juls. ❤️

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I head out the door to my first of multiple food comas today, I wanted to stop and wish every Hiffer a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone out there has a fantastic day with friends, family, and feasting.

Wherever you are, whoever you're with, and whatever y'all are doing, I hope it leads to a wonderful day.

And thank you. I think I say it every year, but HIF wouldn't exist without each and every one of you and I never forget that. So seriously, thank you!

Get Facebook Page Updates Freebies Step 1

Is HIF Missing From Your Facebook Feed?

You know how the old saying goes. Nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and Facebook arbitrarily changing their newsfeed algorithm.

Facebook recently announced they're going to yet again change their magic recipes, thus making it harder for people to see updates from pages they like. I know some Hiffers only keep up with HIF via our Facebook page. If you're one such person, here's how you set HIF (or any other page for that matter) to always show up in your home feed.

The first step is to make sure you've actually liked HIF's Freebie Facebook page! If you haven't, just mash that little Like button.

Get Facebook Page Updates Freebies Step 1

Now, what about page updates in your Facebook feed? For this step, you:

  1. Click “Following” Right next to the Like button.
  2. Click on “See First” under “In Your News Feed.”
  3. Then under “Notifications,” click “On”.

Get Facebook Page Updates Freebies Step 2

Finally, set your Posts Notification Settings! Do this by clicking the gray pencil icons from the previous step. These little guys in the top right by “In Your News Feed” under “Following.”

Get Facebook Page Updates Freebies Step 2.5

Now, beneath “Posts” click the circle next to “Standard.” This prevents Facebook from “accidentally” hiding Hey, It's Free! from you again.

Get Facebook Page Updates Freebies Step 3

That should do the trick! Since I usually only post 5 or less freebies a day, you'll be set to see everything I post on HIF directly in your Facebook home feed!

Let me know if you have any trouble in the comments and I'll see what I can do.

I guess now would be a good time to mention to new Hiffers our different social media links. Combined we have over 150,000 fans, so you know it's good stuff! Well, there was once more than 150,000 people who thought Earth was flat at one point too, so basing something's value on sheer numbers alone might not be too smart…

Seriously though, if you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, please become a fan. I'm active on all four and love talking to Hiffers directly!

Chat With Goob This Thursday

These live video chats are about to become a regular thing!

I had such a blast talking with people last week that I want to do it all the time. A lot of people who tuned in said they had fun as well, so it wasn't just me!

The next chat will be this Thursday at 4:00pm EST. Like before, we can talk about whatever. This doesn't have to be a Freebie Chat only because freebies are boring. Though if you have any specific questions pertaining to HIF or freebies, these chats are as good a time as any to ask!

So if you're free, please join us! I'll be hosting it on Justin.tv again, so you can enter the chat room after making a free account, which takes no longer than 15 seconds. You don't even have to verify your email. It's nice and easy.

Update: Over for now! Thanks to everybody who came out, we broke 20 active viewers this time! Next chat will be soon!

Chat With Goob at 5:00pm EST

EDIT: Thanks to everybody who came out and chatted today! We had a blast, I'll definitely host another early next week.

One of the nice perks of working for yourself is not having to screw around with a car or public transportation. You get to roll out of bed and immediately step into your “office.” However the total lack of human interaction can start to mess with you. I get out of my apartment at least once a day, but with the way technology is now there's no reason why I can't hang out with Hiffers!

So today around 5:00 est I'm going to host a live video chat on Twitch. You should be able to join the chat room after making a free account, which takes no longer than 15 seconds. You don't even have to verify your email. It's nice and easy.

Who knows, maybe nobody is interested in this and I just sit in a chat room talking to myself. Wouldn't be the first time! 😀 We can talk about whatever though! Freebies, sports, the meaning of life. I don't really care, let's just hang out and chat!

HIF: Saving Fingers Since 2006

I love getting emails from readers. I might not respond to them in a timely fashion, but I read each and every one that comes across my screen and sometimes they are just too good not to share. Hiffer Carrie sent in this tale that I thought you all would enjoy.

On Tuesday, my 4 kids and I took a ride on the local ferry. We're from New Orleans, and it crosses back and forth on the Mississippi River. It's not something we normally do, but it was a cool adventure – and it's FREE!!! Anyway, just as we were docking, my 6 year old announces, “MY FINGER'S STUCK!!!” The chairs onboard are all those molded fiberglass 60's style, bolted-in-a-row things, with one small hole in the center of each seat. And yes, he really had it good and stuck in one. We tried and tried to wiggle it out to no avail. He was scared and crying and the ship was unloading and getting ready to head back across. I was about to panic when I remembered that in my purse was a FREE SAMPLE OF SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER. I whipped it out, thought for a moment which side to choose, then coated his finger above and below in shampoo. Out it popped! So basically, you can consider your website a LIFESAVING RESOURCE!!! Thanks a bunch!!!

Sounds like something I would do! No, not thinking of using the shampoo to get a kid's finger unstuck, but getting my own finger stuck.

Goob Is Cramming Last Summer Into This One

Hey, remember that crappy cancer last summer? I sure do. Thankfully I'm still 100% in remission, but I bring it up because it kind of killed my summer. I spent 95% of it in a hospital chair or hugging a toilet bowl, but I guess it was worth it since, you know, still being alive and whatnot.

Another nugget it provided was an unplanned, though not unpleasant, realization of my own mortality. I'm still in my 20s now, but I won't be able to say that this time next year. Before I know it, we'll be planning for the 2062 Mars Olympics while deciding which Nixon clone to elect president and I'll be lamenting how my 70s are about to end. Ever since that image popped in my head (the 100m dash…in space!), I've been saying yes to a hell of a lot more things and life has been noticeably sweeter.

There have been a few three or four day weekends this year where I haven't posted, be it because the freebies simply aren't there or Life got in the way. During those times, I've noticed an uptick in messages, comments, and emails asking if I was alright or feeling well. The level of concern that some people have for me still stuns me. I don't think I'll ever get over that and I know I'll never stop appreciating it.

I'm almost done with a big move, I've got some personal and family things going on (all good!), and there are the usual summer vacations, trips, weddings, etc. I guess you could say I'm making up for lost time. But I wanted to make clear that I'm totally healthy and any short interruption in freebies this summer isn't an indication otherwise. I don't want to needlessly worry anyone. Trust me, if I was sick again, y'all would quickly know.

Take today for instance. I'm on my way to Bonnaroo, a four-day music festival, so I won't be around to answer questions or comments. I've scheduled a few never-dying freebies to republish over the next few days and I'll be back by Monday, but I'm obviously going to miss any brand new freebies. I hope you don't desperately need that travel-sized shampoo I'm sure Garnier will offer while I'm gone.

Thanks again for all the positive energy flowing my way and here's to a great summer everyone!

I Swear I’m Not Really This Narcissistic

I try to take certain days off. Weekends aren't a must, but I like taking them off so I have a semblance of balance between work and personal time, like most people. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and 4th of July are always nice free holidays. Then you've got Easter, New Years Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day, Wednesdays, National “Insert Dessert Food Here” Days – you know, the usual. But my birthday is one of those random days where I always say “no, no, I'm going to treat it like any other day” and then by mid-afternoon I'm like “screw it, I'm out of here.”

Today is that day. The freebies are especially weak today anyway.

In lieu of extravagant gifts hand sculpted from gold, I humbly ask that you follow my personal accounts on your social network(s) of choice.

Thanks in advance. My fans on these places are like a sounding board for little projects I do outside of HIF, some of which eventually develop into larger stuff. You guys rock!

Happy Birthday To HIF

I'm bad at remembering things. Dates, things to do, names!, the point of this post. TL;DR I think today was HIF's anniversary.

I registered HeyItsFree.net in May 2005. I was a few months away from graduating with a degree in History and, as Gob Bluth would say, it was clear I'd made a huge mistake. One lazy afternoon while in an Australian computer cafe, I was chatting with a friend back home for ideas for new websites. He pitched the name Hey, It's Free and I liked it. I didn't even know what I wanted to write about, I just liked the name. The .com version was already registered, so I picked up the .net and promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward to February 2006. My mom was trying to print some photos. I had seen an offer online where she could do it for free, but I didn't have five hours free to walk her through it over the phone. Then I remembered I still had the rights to this domain, so I quickly set up a blog and wrote this:

Similar to Wal Mart, Walgreens has 1 hour photo. To get your 20 free prints, sign up for an account at http://www.walgreens.com.

Click on Photo, and upload your first photo. Once you do that, you will automatically be credited 20 free prints (glossy only for pick up in store). No shipping charges if you choose to pick up in store amd(sic) no credit card info required.

One more thing, you can create more than one user. Then you get print 20 prints for each user, and just pick them up all at the same time.

And thus HIF was born. I followed that up with four more posts that day and by March I was more or less working at the pace I do now. But the above post is the oldest I can find in the archives, which means SIX YEARS AGO TODAY I started this site. That's longer than half my friendships. That's way longer than any of my relationships.

I've been going through the archives a lot recently. Boy were there some crappy offers back then. It took me a month or two to figure out what freebies were legit. It was funny how fast I started getting readers. I remember plateauing around 500 daily readers for the longest time, but it was amazing to see how quickly those 500 found the site. I didn't remember starting the forums (remember those?!) in November 2006. I figured it had been at least a year later. And the jokes! Oh, the jokes, when there were any, were awful. Worse than they are today! Though I have to admit, I hit my stride that summer.

That's what honestly kept me going – the silly jokes. I used to create & flip sites all the time, but I found writing jokes about freebies refreshing in the strangest way. I'd always wanted to “be funny” for a living, but I could never make myself do it. Suddenly I was being forced to come up with something new every day without picking the topic myself. It was like a bizarro version of The Daily Show. Instead of waking up and making fun of the news, I'd be given toothpaste, a granola bar, and a magazine offer. And after the 40th toothpaste offer, it got really interesting to see if I could keep it original and fresh without ever rehashing the same joke. I loved it.

So yeah, it's HIF's birthday. I have no idea what the next six years will bring. More stuff like the Amazon Kindle giveaway from yesterday? Live chat or Q&A sessions? More writers to cover coupons or contests? Who knows but I hope you'll be there to find out with me. Thanks for everything.

Goob has hair again

So About That Cancer…

This awesome news was originally posted on November 24, 2011

Yep, that's a month of hair and a week of beard growth. And the eyebrows are back! I'm thankful for two out of those three.

I'm a private guy by nature. Heck, my sense of humor is a textbook case of having developed as a shielding mechanism. But it feels silly now that I ever debated keeping quiet on my health situation.

I was already in the middle of treatment when I wrote that post. I remember hitting publish then flopping over onto the bed for a smooth 10 hour nap. The next time I loaded HIF, the comment count had skyrocketed into the hundreds and I was shocked. I actually didn't read them. I didn't even look at them. I was terrified there'd be a heavy dose of negativity (I mean, we're talking about anonymous Internet comments here!) and I was already having enough trouble smiling.

The worst period of all occurred a week later when a perfect storm of side effects culminated. For three straight days, my dog and I lied in bed staring at one another, trying to will the other into venturing out to find food. I finally mustered the energy to get out of bed, but the kitchen felt light years away, so I sat down in front of my computer and loaded the comments.

You punks had me crying within minutes.

And that was it. That was the lowest I ever got and everything from there was an improvement. It sounds corny, but knowing I had thousands of complete strangers out there rooting for me was encouraging in a way I'd never thought possible.

Suddenly I wasn't fighting this damn thing alone! I knew my family and friends had my back, but I never expected in a million years that people I'd never met would care as well. Every corner of the globe seemed to have a vested interest in vanquishing my tumors. I got emails from Canada, India, Ireland, Australia, Japan, and countless others. HIF doesn't even post freebies for those countries!

I wasn't able to reply to everyone individually, but I read and appreciated each and every comment and email.

And I'm thrilled to say that I'm now officially in remission.

I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but thank you. Y'all were phenomenal to me throughout this and knowing that I didn't have to post freebies every day was a giant load off my back for a few months. So, again, thank you for the kind words and thoughts and prayers and love and every ounce of goodwill channeled in my direction! It made a huge difference and I'll never forget it.

Now go find some turkey, enjoy the day with family and friends, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but thanks for all the warm wishes over the past few days. I took a break from working over the holiday, but my phone kept blowing up with comment notifications on Thanksgiving. Not only did they put me in a extra good mood, but they kept extended family from constantly asking “so when are you going to stop playing on the computer and get a ‘real' job?” Seriously, trying to explain how a website works to somebody who still thinks email technology is on par with time travel is never fun. So thank you!

Thank You

I have a confession to make. I’m not 100% incompetent when it comes to freebies. I know I’ve missed a bit over the past few weeks and I HATE to make excuses, but long story short I've got cancer and am in the middle of chemotherapy.

I debated announcing this for a while. One of the few ways I’m oldschool is how I don’t like broadcasting my problems to the world. The goofy, semi-moronic character named Goob you see on HIF is the same persona I carry on in my daily life. Just ask any of my ex-girlfriends.

But the fact of the matter is there are days where the chemo kicks my ass. I've never been so tired in my life and this is coming from a guy who used to nap at least twice a day in college. Knock on wood, this will all pass soon, but in the mean time I'm going to keep missing the occasional freebie.

I ultimately decided to publish this because I wanted to say thank you. I wouldn’t be in a relatively rocking position if it weren’t for y’all. I don’t know how many people know this, but HIF is my job. It went from a joke site to paying for an occasional six-pack to a full time, get up and be at my desk by 8am every day job. Okay, 10am. And I love it! I’m my own boss, I can work from anywhere, all successes (or failures!) are mine and I get to fly by the seat of my pants in so many areas. Trust me, I knew nothing of server maintenance or business tax law or negotiating ad rates 24 months ago.

And with this newfound success, I bought health insurance.

So many of my friends and family are still out of work three years running. They don’t have a steady income, let alone health coverage. And the only reason I do is because of each and every one of you.

Had so many of you not emailed, tweeted, liked, shared, stumbled, telephoned, carrier pigeoned, and however else you spread the word about HIF, then this site wouldn’t still exist. I can't even begin to fathom how harder that would have made my life now.

So thank you. Even if all you do is scan the page once of twice a week, that’s one or two more pageviews that ultimately led to me being able to take care of myself and put me in a position of optimism. Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my fraking heart, thank you.

Are You Following HIF on Twitter or Facebook?

Occasionally people ask why they should follow HIF's Twitter or Facebook page. Well, for starters, it's how some Hiffers were able to get the large Tide sample from last week's Freebies Received post.

Basically I sometimes find smaller offers or freebies that are about to expire. Neither are worth the time or effort it would take to write a proper post, either because they're only available for certain people or will die before I can think of something funny. So instead I throw them up on Twitter and Facebook.

As a bonus, questions asked on Facebook are answered by other Hiffers somewhat lightyears faster than if they were emailed to me. Turns out they're a pretty helpful and knowledgable bunch.

So if you're not already following HIF on Twitter or Facebook, what the heck are you waiting for?