The Thrifty Rascal's Guide

to Living Luxuriously for Next to Nothing

by Kate O'Connor


Free Four-Year Degree for Maine Residents

The University of Maine at Presque Isle offers the Free For Four Award to ALL first-time, full-time Pell-eligible Maine residents. Free tuition & fees (saving nearly $8,000 per year). Website here


Free and Low-Cost Resources to Grow Your Business

Free training, legal assistance, courses, grants, and more are available to new and growing Maine business owners. Programs for women, immigrants, and other members of minority communities are specifically served. Website here


Dial 211 For Help With Nearly Everything

Everyone knows to dial 911 for emergencies, but you can call 211 for crises that don't necessarily require flashing ligths and sirens. Assistance with shelter, food, education, substance abuse, counseling, etc. This thrifty rascal has used 211 to receive advice from a nurse about a small injury - free of charge. Website here


Free Rehab Centers

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is devastating. Rehab facilities can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but some are no-cost or priced according to a patient's ability to pay. Find locations nationwide or Maine-only. There is even a treatment center here in Waldoboro. Website here


Free Legal Assistance, Housing, Veteran Assistance and Employment Services

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a great resource for anyone impacted by depression, addiction, PTSD, schizophrenia, eating disorders, or any of the other 297 disorders officially recognized by the psychiatric community. Website here


Free Legal Assistance and Crisis Services For LGBTQIAA2+ Community Members

Among other resources, GLAD provides free legal representation to trans people seeking to legally change their name. Website here


Free $500 for Reducing Landfill Waste 

The National Resources Council of Maine offers up to $500 to individuals seeking to reduce, reuse, or recycle materials at their home or business in an effort to reduce landfill waste. Website here


Free Groceries

Food pantries provide free food and toiletries to those unable to afford groceries. A searchable food pantry locator is here


Free money and free or low-cost services for veterinary services

The Animal Welfare Society lists groups offering free financial help and free or low-cost services for pets and service animals. Website here


Free Cell Phone for Low-Income Mainers

Get a free cell phone or landline to Maine residents receiving food stamps, Medicaid, or have low-income. Website here


Bus tickets starting at $1.00

Buy bus tickets for as low as $1 (plus $2.50 fee) depending on location and date. Search far in advance for the cheapest tickets. This thrifty rascal travelled from Boston MA to Portland ME for $3.50. Website here


Free Retreats for Veterans

Veterans suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other injuries are welcome to attend free retreats located in Texas, Illinois, and Washington DC. Interactive map here 


Free Personal Computers

Free and inexpensive computers for individuals and nonprofits in Maine. Website here.


Free Store

The University of Southern Maine's Free Store in Gorham ME has all kinds of stuff, all free for the taking. Website here


Free Stores and Swap Shops

The transfer stations in Freeport ME (website here), Readfield ME (website here), Dresden (website here), South Portland (website here), Saco (website here), and Cape Elizabeth (website here) have free stores. You can also drop off your unwanted items. 


Free Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training

CNAs are needed all over Maine. Get trained and certified for free in ten weeks at the hospital in Damariscotta, the town adjacent to Waldoboro. Apply here


Free Legal Aid

free legal assistance and representation to Mainers with low incomes facing civil legal issues. Website here. Free legal aid for children, teens, seniors, and immigrants. Website here.


Free and Low-Cost Mental Health Services

Counseling, therapy, and other mental health services are available. Website here


Free and Cheap Events and Groups

Art openings, lectures, AA meetings, meditation groups, and career workshops are just a few things going on any given day throughout Maine. Website here


Free Travel Planner

A free travel planner and Official Maine Highway Map sent to your door courtesy of the Maine Tourism Association. Website here


Free Sexual Health

Free STI testing, well person checkups, birth control (including IUDs, implants, and pills), and breast- and cervical exams for Mainers. Website here.


Free Roadside Assistance

Free jump starts and tire change assistance for vehicles on the turnpike from Portland to Kittery provided by The Maine Turnpike State Farm Safety Patrol. Website here


Free Foreclosure Counseling

Free foreclosure counseling by phone for Mainers dealing with home foreclosure. Call 1-888-995-HOPE or go here.



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