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O.K., I am addicted to three things:
- Old Dutch Sour Cream & Green Onion potato chips;
- Smartfood White Cheddar popcorn (the crack cocaine of popcorn); and
- Freebie shopping in Second Life.
Of these 3 things, only one is non-fattening! So now you know another reason why I am so devoted to discovering (and blogging about) steals, deals, and freebies in Second Life—it’s zero calories. 😉
So I decided today to compile all the best and most up-to-date information I had about freebie hunting in SL into one handy blogpost, since so many of my tips are scattered all over this blog!
The Top 11 Freebie Stores and Locations in Second Life
- The excellent freebie store at the Ajuda SL Brasil: if you go to only one place, go here. It has the biggest collection of high-quality freebies on the grid for both women (on the 1st and 3rd floors) and men (on the 4th floor), including the freebie versions of the Valentina and Max Altamura mesh avatars (Max comes in two skin tones).
- The Free Dove: if you go to only two places, go to Ajuda SL Brasil and The Free Dove, the venerable freebie store run by Palomma Casanova. This is a particularly good place to find lots of high-quality free men’s and women’s wear, free jewelry, and free hairstyles for both men and women. The Free Dove has recently been rearranged by designer rather than category, and the store is regularly updated with new items, so it pays to pop in and wander around every few months, just to see what’s new!
- UPDATE July 30th, 2020: The Helping Haven Gateway: from the central spawn point on the sim, head east and follow the signs to the Freebie Village, where there are four large white buildings. Two of those buildings house men’s and women’s free clothing, footwear, and accessories, a mix of modern, high-quality mesh apparel and some older system-layers-and-flexiprim items. This is the place to go for hats! You can also pick up the freebie versions of the Tommy and Estephania Altamura mesh avatars here.
- The Sexy Shoppers Freebie Market on the Grouse sim has a small but serviceable selection of freebies for female avatars.
- The Freebie Megastore on the London City sim has recently improved its selection, offering the freebie versions of the Robert and Jenny Altamura mesh avatars and a small but growing selection of mesh clothing, including some specifically designed for Altamura male and female mesh bodies. (UPDATE March 21st, 2022: I paid a return visit and there’s a lot more male and female mesh clothing!)
- The small freebie store at UniHispana Crea offers the freebie versions of the Aaron and Emanuele Altamura mesh avatars, and a small selection of male and female mesh clothing, including some specifically designed for Altamura female mesh avatars. (I noticed on my last visit that the vendor panels for the Altamura Max and Emanuelle bodies are not working, however.)
- UPDATED June 9th, 2022 (New Store SLURL!): A freebie store where you can pick up free, high-quality mesh clothing for thirteen different brands of men’s mesh bodies is Fitch (PLEASE NOTE THIS IS AN ADULT-RATED, GAY LOCATION!); more information here.
- UPDATE Aug. 31st, 2020: !Soul is a store which has set up shop in a skybox high above the newbie orientation centre called New Resident Island (here’s the exact SLURL). If you join the !Soul group for free, you can pick up dozens of free gifts of women’s clothing, hair, footwear, and system/Bakes on Mesh skins. Everything in the store is free!
- UPDATE Oct. 10th, 2020: If you want to be completely obsessive in your freebie hunting, you should also pay a visit to New Resident Island itself, a well-organized and particularly newbie-friendly spot which offers both men’s and women’s modern mesh apparel and some older system-layers-and-flexiprim items. (Please note that some, but not all, of the freebies at New Resident Island are restricted to avatars under a certain number of days old.)
- UPDATE Nov. 14th, 2020: The Frees in SL store offers a modest selection of apparel and footwear from various designers for both men and women, and for both mesh and classic avatars. More information can be found here.
- UPDATE April 3rd, 2021: The Arcane Spellcaster store offers the free versions of the Clodet and Tommy mesh bodies by Altamura at this exact SLURL (you will land at the central spawn point for the store, so save the SLURL to you inventory, right click it, select Show on Map, and follow the red arrow to find it). Tommy is free, but Clodet requires a L$150 group join fee for the Altamura store group (there’s a group join panel at the location for your convenience). Unfortunately, there are no other freebies at this location!
The Top 18 Stores with the Best and Largest Selection of Free Group Gifts
Most stores offer group gifts to people who join their store group, but these fifteen stores are notable for the number of freebies they give out:
- Scandalize has, without a doubt, the most generous selection of group gifts of any store on the grid (women’s clothing, shoes, and jewelry); the group costs only L$20 to join, and it is well worth it (and watch for times when you can join the Scandalize group for free). UPDATE April 30th, 2021: Scandalize and its sister store, Melody, have set up a brand new skybox where you can pick up 287 womenswear gifts—including 176 fatpacks of shoes and clothing!—for only L$20!
- UPDATED Jan. 9th, 2022 (New Store SLURL!): Hilly Haalan operates a small group gifts store with dozens of free gifts (women’s clothing, shoes, and jewelry; the group is free to join). Just look for the teleporter sign at the spawn point for the sim, and click on “Gifts”.
- UPDATED Jan. 9th, 2022 (New Store SLURL!): Virtue: the proprietor of Virtue, Abiela Heartsong, generously offers well over 100 free group gifts of modest but fashionable women’s clothing, Just look for the group gifts wall located to the right from the main entrance of her store, on the main floor. Two of the panels contain dozens and dozens of outfits! The Virtue group now costs L$25 to join.
- COCO Designs has several low, black group gift walls scattered around the store, with well over 60 high-quality gifts (women’s clothing and shoes; the group is free to join).
- Legendaire has a good selection of group gifts (women’s clothing and shoes; the group costs L$49 to join the last time I checked, although they have been free at times in the past).
- UPDATED Jan. 9th, 2022 (New Store SLURL!): NYNE offers no less than 66 free women’s hairstyles and other group gifts (the group is free to join).
- All of the menswear is free at the Kauna menswear store, tons of high-quality clothing for male avatars, including modern suits and tuxedos, as well as vintage clothing from the 1920s, 1930s, and 19040s. Please note that most of the vendor panels sell bundled collections of clothing which you will have to unpack. Seriously Kauna is one of the best deals on the grid if you are looking for men’s clothing!
- UPDATE Oct. 10th, 2020: monaLISA has nearly 100 group gifts of women’s apparel and footwear (the group costs L$50 to join).
- UPDATE Jan. 17th, 2021: If you join the Glitterati by Sapphire group for L$100, you can pick up one hundred past group gifts of dresses and gowns at the Group Gifts area in the in-world Glitterati store.
- UPDATE Jan. 17th, 2021: Sintiklia has a massive free gift wall with over 70 gifts of women’s hair and makeup (no group required). Here’s a list of other places to pick up free women’s hair.
- UPDATE March 31st, 2021: Juli Fashion Design has a group gift wall with over 60 gifts of womenswear, plus a few men’s outfits, too! (The J-Store Designs group is free to join, just click the Join Group sign on the counter.)
- UPDATED Jan. 9th, 2022 (New Store SLURL!): Lybra offers 14 gifts of free womenswear (the Lybra group is free to join, and there is now also a L$300 Lybra V.I.P. group with another 17 group gifts).
- UPDATE Jan.10th, 2022: Gabriel has set up a new FREE BEE store where you can pick up tons of menswear for absolutely free (no group needed). More information here.
- UPDATE Jan. 12th, 2022: WellMade has a generous group gift room with 25 free group gifts; the [WellMade] Store group is free to join. There’s also a variety of gifts for members of various Second Life freebie groups (see section below).
- UPDATE Jan. 13th, 2022: Beautiful Dirty Rich offers you 24 free and two L$1 fatpacks of womenswear (the Beautiful Dirty Rich store group is free to join).
- UPDATE Feb. 25th, 2022: If you join the Safira store gorup for L$50, you can pick up 98 free group gifts of womenswear! More details here.
- UPDATE May 7th, 2022: Decision offers 17 free group gifts, mostly menswear fatpacks, but also some womenswear, too! The Decision group is free to join.
- UPDATE May 31st, 2022: Enchantress has 42 free group gifts of womenswear, if you join their store group for free (there’s also many gifts for the various freebie groups).
The Shopping Events with the Most Freebies
- FaMESHed is a popular monthly SL shopping event which often has freebies.
- The annual Second Life Hair Fair has free hair gifts at many of the participating vendor booths. (The annual Skin Fair usually has a few gifts as well.)
- Second Life has an official Shop and Hop shopping event as part of their big anniversary celebrations (usually running from the middle of June to the first week of July), and every Christmas season there is also a special seasonal Shop and Hop event. Monitor the Second Life Featured News blog for news of other Shop and Hop events held at various times of the year, such as Valentine’s Day and Hallowe’en. At these events, there will be a freebie at every single store in the shopping mall, which spans up to ten whole sims! Plan to attend nearer the end of the event, when you won’t have to fight the crowds and lag.
- Check out the yearly anniversaries of regular shopping events; quite often there will be freebies at all or most of the participating vendor booths. For example, the Cosmopolitan, FaMESHed, and eBENTO events all have their anniversaries in May, and the popular Uber event celebrates its anniversary in late August and early September with many wonderful free gifts.
The Top Eight Blogs (and One Discord Server) to Follow for Freebies
- My own blog, of course! 😉
- FabFree (Fabulously Free in SL)
- Midnight Magpie
- Dancing in the Square
- UPDATE April 22nd, 2020: Second Life – FREE (this is a little-known-about Russian-language group on Vkontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, which often lists items I don’t see on other freebie blogs; use the Russian-to-English translator in your Chrome browser or Google Translate to read the entries)
- UPDATE Oct. 13th, 2021 (New Website Address!): Low price Fashion In Second Life (a Japanese blog, which again sometimes lists freebies that I don’t find anywhere else; use the Japanese-to-English translator in your Chrome web browser)
- Either SL Freebies Cheapies Dollarbies Lucky Chairs Hunts, the SL Freebie Blog Feed, or the SL Freebies Directory (all three are blog feeds of Second Life freebie blogs, and there is a lot of overlap between them)
- UPDATE Jan. 9th, 2022: Dreamer of Dreamer’s Virtual World has an uncanny knack for finding the very best freebies and bargains in Second Life! Highly recommended!
- UPDATE April 22nd, 2020: There is a brand-new Discord server devoted to finding and sharing news about freebies in Second Life! It is called FreebieQueens SL and here is an invitation to join us as we share tips and tricks.
The Top Six Groups to Join for News About Freebies
- Fabulously Free in SL: their group is free to join; here is a list of the gifts you can pick up with that group tag active
- Maitreya Gifts, Sales & News: their group is free to join; follow their blog to find out what gifts you can get with this group
- Mesh Avatar Appearance Maniacs (MAAM): it costs L$50 to join the MAAM group; here is a list of freebies you can pick up with that group tag active
- SL Frees & Offers: their group is free to join; here’s their list of group gifts
- TeleportHub.com: it costs L$10 to join their group; here is a list of gifts you can get
- THIRD LIFE [Frees, Gifts & Hunts]: their group is free to join, although they have charged in the past; here is their blog
Ryan’s Top Ten Tips for Freebie Hunting
- 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 months, 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.
- Akeruka has been giving away freebie or dollarbie Bento mesh heads (both male and female models) twice a year for the past couple of years. In fact, if you had joined the Akeruka store group for L$150 four years ago, you would have been able to pick up no less than 14 male and female heads, which works out to only L$11 per head! A truly outstanding bargain! So join the Akeruka group and watch the notices for the next announcement.
- Join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group for L$150, which gives you access to the deals that Altamura offers on mesh heads and bodies at various events around SL, as well as many group gifts in the mainstore. For example, last Valentine’s Day there were two very generous free group gifts: the fully-featured, full-body mesh avatars Romeo and Juliet! Altamura also sometimes offers special limited freebie versions of their avatars, either in their store, at events, or at the freebie stores mentioned above. (I have found that clothing designed for the Maitreya Lara mesh avatar body tends to fit the Altamura female bodies very well, with a minimum of fuss, so finding clothing is not an issue.)
- Check out the Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies section of my blog regularly. In particular, monitor my two constantly-updated blogposts about free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for male and female avatars.
UPDATE May 30th, 2020: If you are looking for free women’s hairstyles, check out this new blogpost.
- Watch for announcements of free group join periods, and join the store group when it is free (Scandalize regularly offers free group join periods, for example).
- Don’t forget to check those stores which have lucky boards or lucky chairs. Some may require you to pay a fee to join their store group, though. Others require either a free group join or no group at all.
- Hunts are often a great way to pick up free or inexpensive items. You can check to see what hunts are currently going on using the Hunt SL and SL Hunts blogs.
- December is easily the best time of year to pick up lots of freebies. Many stores have Advent calendars or Twelve Days of Christmas calendars with free gifts each day. While some stores require you to visit each day to pick up that day’s gift, other stores allow you to pick up the entire calendar’s gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day! Some events which usually have many Christmas gifts are Epiphany, FaMESHed, the Dubai Event, the Swank Event, the Man Cave, and especially the Cosmopolitan event.
- Watch the Cat Pink SL series of YouTube videos for news about hunts and other freebies.
- Don’t forget your default Second Life inventory! For example, many of the newer starter avatars have good-quality hair and clothing you can reuse, mix and match to good effect. For example, here’s a blogpost which lists all the beautiful eyes you can reuse from the starter avatars. Also, check out what’s in the Library folder at the very end of your Inventory window—for example, the Pulled Back Bun hair from the Library / Accessories / Hair Design Options / Pulled Back Bun folder in your Inventory is free, adjustable, tintable, and uncomplicated. Perfect for use under hoods and hats!
Happy freebie hunting!