How to get free stuff on Amazon without an Amazon Prime membership

FILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 29, 2016.    REUTERS/Mike Segar/File PhotoFILE PHOTO: Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York CityReuters

Amazon has always aspired to be the world's largest retailer, even back when the site's very first slogan was "Earth's Biggest Bookstore." And hand-in-hand with the site's growth as a store has been its apparent generosity at giving away free stuff to keep customers happy.

Sure, some programs have disappeared - there used to be a way to get free sample-size products included with your shipments, for example - and the company's flagship Amazon Prime program has steadily increased in cost, making some people question if it's still worthwhile.

Read more: How to cancel your Amazon Prime membership

Still, perhaps the single best reason to subscribe to Amazon Prime is its free shipping, as Amazon offers free two-day shipping on all in-stock Amazon Prime products within the US.

But if you're looking for ways to make your dollar go further and get free stuff from the biggest store on earth, and in particular without making the plunge into an Amazon Prime membership, there are still a lot of options.

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Win free stuff in an Amazon Giveaway

Win free stuff in an Amazon Giveaway

While most of the free stuff you can get on Amazon requires you to invest $119 in an annual Amazon Prime subscription, there's a way to potentially win free merchandise on Amazon without spending a penny.

One of Amazon's best-kept secrets, Amazon runs thousands of giveaways every week on the Amazon Giveaway page. You can potentially win instantly with just a click (and you may need to watch a promotional video), but even if you don't win, simply entering the giveaway often guarantees you a discount that can range as high as 40% off the retail price.

Download Kindle books and magazines

Download Kindle books and magazines

Amazon makes thousands of its Kindle books available for free to everyone (even non-Prime members).

If you happen to be an Amazon Prime member, you get to download one free Kindle book per month in the Amazon First Reads program. And that's not all: You can "borrow" up to 10 titles at a time — which includes both books and magazines — with Amazon Prime Reading.

But even if you're not a Prime member, just go to the Kindle store, search for "free," and then use the genre browsing tools on the left side of the page to sort for free books you might like.

Download free music

Download free music

There's so much free and nearly free music online these days (Spotify has a free ad-supported player, for example) that it hardly seems worth mentioning, but if you're a music lover, you shouldn't pass up the free tracks on tap at Amazon.

If you're a Prime subscriber, you get access to Amazon Music Prime, and that includes 2 million tracks (the more comprehensive Amazon Music Unlimited has 50 million tracks for an additional cost). But regardless of whether you are a Prime member, you can download and listen to thousands of free songs at Amazon Music.

Get $5 for signing up for Amazon Cash

Get $5 for signing up for Amazon Cash

This promotion might not last forever — in fact, it's already down from a $109 bonus offered a few months ago — but you can get a $5 Amazon credit when you sign up for Amazon Cash and charge the account with $20. Amazon Cash is a program that lets you add money to your Amazon balance by buying Amazon gift cards at a large number of retail locations around the country. It's aimed at customers who don't want to use a credit card or debit card online.

Become an Amazon Vine reviewer

Become an Amazon Vine reviewer

If you've never heard of Amazon Vine, don't worry — most people haven't. But if you like to write product reviews on Amazon, you should be aware of Vine, which awards free products to members in exchange for honest and accurate reviews.

Unfortunately, Amazon Vine is by invitation only — you can't even apply for consideration. But Amazon keeps an eye on prolific reviewers, and sometimes reaches out to offer them an opportunity to join the Vine program. You can read about the Amazon Vine program and learn ways to improve your reputation as a reviewer on Amazon.

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