Alternatives to Buying are discussed on this page. Minimizing your purchases is one way to live cheaply. Also see Wanted, Book Trading, Dumpster Diving, Free or Cheap Clothes, Resource Recovery Exchange, Free Food, and Discounts and Freebies


Growing your own food

Beware: the startup costs in growing your own food, depending on what you grow, can sometimes exceed whatever you might save during your first harvest. Either plant a lot and collaborate with friends, or expect to recoup your investment over time.

Complimentary Continental Breakfasts

  • Some Apartments give away a free continental breakfast on the weekends. These usually consist of a few apples, bananas, baked goodies, cereals, and juices. They don't really check for residents, it's just a walk in and grab deal. Greystone definitely has the brunch. (Some might consider this morally questionable)


  • Ask for extra ketchup, hot sauce, and mustard packets on those occasions you do go out. Also ask for extra napkins.
    • Hot Sauce is free when you get it from the MU on the tables outside. [This is stealing.]
  • Sugar, Honey, Lemon Juice, Sweet and Low, Straws, and plastic silverware can be found at The Silo.
  • Sugar, Silverware, Splenda, Equal can be found at the Memorial Union.

If you're going to take some extra, it's probably wise not to take a whole ton and to ask for permission. A few extra packets at a time will not offend anyone. But taking a whole lot at once will likely lead to tighter control of the wonderful sauce packets and sporks. Be mindful that condiment packets involve a lot of packaging for very little product, and contribute to our landfill problems.

For UCDavis Students

  • There is a theory that since there is always something going on on the UCD campus, free food can be found just by joining lots of organizations and participating in their events. Food is also offered during guest lectures. While the quality of the food can range from Sodexho grade to Pizza, there is always some way to get food on campus if you're willing to put your time into it.

Disposable products

  • Buy and use cloth napkins and towels instead of napkins and paper towels . However, if you do not wash your laundry by hand this could ultimate cost more than a roll of paper towels. Remember, the environmental impact of a load of laundry can be softened by using ecologically friendly soaps.
  • Take extra toilet paper from various places like the Dorms, the bathrooms in Everson Hall, the second floor hallway of Sproul Hall. [This is illegal.]

See also Whole Earth Festival.


  • Go to the park instead of going to a movie.
  • Check for free sneak previews of movies shown by Campus Cinema. Make sure to get there early, lines can be long. (Note that not all showings are free, but all the sneak previews are both free and open to the general public).
  • Check out poetry at Bistro 33
  • Check out parties for free beer
  • Delta of Venus often has free concerts, perfect for a date.

Furnish your Apartment

  • Moving Day means free furniture throughout Davis. It feels like looting, but it is legal. There are also certain apartment complexes notorious for random appearances of fairly good furniture year-round. Check out: Renaissance Park Apartments, Parkside Apartments, Almondwood and just about any apartment complex big enough to have several dumpsters.
  • Dumpster Diving is a useful way to find furniture and all sorts of treasures.
  • Freshmen Move Out Day is different than Moving Day. It is the day that Freshmen have to move out of the Dorms. They throw away INSANE amounts of perfectly good stuff. There are a LOT of clothes that are perfectly wearable that are tossed out along with blankets, lamps, and other small furniture items. Pick them up before R4 picks them up and sells them.
  • Davis Freecycle - a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.


  • Normal TV and Radio is free (you don't need to have cable, etc). The downside to watching most TV or Radio is the extreme amount of commercials and otherwise corporate messages. This can be usually avoided by tuning in to non-profit community radio like KDVS or KDRT, or free TV like PBS or DCTV. Another caveat is that TV reception in Davis is mediocre at best. Only a large rooftop antenna or power-amplified "bunny ears" will work. However, once either of these is installed most network channels come in clear (with the exception of NBC 3).
  • Internet access can be had for free at WiFi Hot Spots



  • Campus parking fees can be avoided by riding a bike to campus or taking the bus (which undergraduates are forced to pay for anyway).
  • When traveling out of the area, use the Ride Board located in the coffee house to carpool and split gas

External guides

  • See the legal alternatives mentioned in Abbey Hoffman's classic Steal This Book
    • The author has an uncanny resemblance to Tyler Durden. -MatthewTom