Here are 8 rules for freebie and bargain hunting that I have compiled over eleven years in Second Life:
- Be patient: Freebies can come and go; freebie stores like The Free Dove and Ajuda SL Brasil rotate their freebies regularly, so it’s worthwhile to visit every couple of month just to see what’s new. It can take some time to pull together a complete look from various components picked up as freebies at different times from different stores and events.
- Monitor the various freebie news sources: Here’s the best six groups to join for freebies. Here are four blogs and four Flickr groups to follow for news of freebies. And read my blog 😉 and other SL fashion blogs and Facebook groups for news. And watch the Cat Pink SL series of YouTube videos for more news about hunts and other freebies.
- Join groups which are known for giving great deals and freebies to their members: For example, if you joined the Akeruka mesh heads group a year and a half ago, you would have picked up no less than six fully-adjustable Bento mesh heads (three female and three male), all for a single group join fee of L$150. That works out to only L$25 per Bento mesh head, a truly outstanding deal! Also join the Altamura group for L$50, which gives you access to the deals that Akeruka offers on mesh heads and bodies at various events around SL, as well as many group gifts in the mainstore. Alien Gizmo’s regularly gives away L$200 gift cards for their store to their group members. Join these groups and stay in them, because you never know when there will be a bargain or a freebie available in future.
- Watch for free group join periods: A perfect example is Scandalize, which has lifted its group join fee of L$100 from Sept. 15th to 17th (more info here).
- Use the lucky chairs and panels: You can often pick up some great freebies this way. Here’s my list of the 18 best lucky chair and panel locations in Second Life.
- Participate in hunts: Hunts are often a great way to pick up free or inexpensive items. The Free Dove picks three different designers every month who hide hunt items all over the store. A recent example was the August hunt by Sweet E’s at The Free Dove and Sweet E’s mainstore.
- Visit fashion and gacha events: These can be another great place to pick up free gifts (be careful, though; some gifts at some events can be as much as L$10!). For example, the regularly held events run by the Gimme Gacha group have dozens of free gifts available for you to pick up. FaMESHed is another regular event with many high-quality freebies.
- Don’t be too picky: Even though the free item might not be the exact style or colour you wanted, you can probably still make it work, and look good too. It’s the picky shoppers who land up spending a lot more money to get exactly what they want. For example, do you really want that expensive ballgown, when you can pick up that simple but beautiful Nadia ballgown as a free gift from Hilly Haalan (the group is free to join), with a HUD that gives you 15 different colour choices? You can probably make that work well with accessories already in your inventory, and look stunning.
Here is a perfect example of an avatar where I was able to pull together the entire look, over the course of a year and a half, for only a single Linden dollar! It is a combination of lucky chair prizes with free group gifts (joining the group when it was free for a limited time), plus store giveaways. Please click on each picture to see it in a larger size:
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh Head, Eyes and Makeup: Kenna mesh head (free group gift from Genesis Lab; the group join fee was free at the time I joined, but they have since raised it to L$99)
Mesh Body and Nails: Afrodite body by LUCYBODY (free from the Midnight Madness board if you join their group for free; more details here)
Hair: Ivy hair (free gift from Entwined; the 3 HUDs included in the package give you a total of 65 different hair colours!)
Dress: red and black Devil’s Heart Sweets dress (lucky chair prize from Alien Gizmo’s; enter the store at the main entrance, turn left, and walk along to the second courtyard near the far end to find the lucky chairs, or just use your map and follow the red arrow from the provided SLURL)
Choker: Nina choker by RxK (free from the Ajuda SL Brasil freebie store; more details here)
Clutch: Helena clutch (lucky chair prize from MODA; the HUD gives you 24 colour choices for the purse, and a choice of either gold or silver for the metal accents; enter the main store in front of you at the spawn point, and go around into the back room where the four lucky chairs are located or just use your map and follow the red arrow from the provided SLURL)
Shoes: Bijou pumps (lucky chair prize, also from MODA; the HUD gives you 36 colour and pattern choices each for the shoe and the platform)
Avatar AO: Your First AO Basic Female Mocap by Vista Animations (L$1; it’s located at the back of the Female AO section of the store, so use your map and follow the red arrow provided by this SLURL)
Bento Hands AO: Jenny Hands AO (part of the free Jenny Altamura mesh body package available for free at the Freebie Megastore in London City; it can be worn with the Vista AO, which does not have built-in Bento hand animations; more details on how to get Jenny here)
Ankle Lock: by Baby Monkey (freebie from the blue bag on the reception desk)
My total cost to assemble this complete avatar look was only L$1 (for the Vista AO).