We all want to save money, whether we do it or not is a different matter.
Of course, saving money comes down to how much you make and how much you spend.
For me, the easiest way to save money is to put aside the money I saved by getting something for free when it should’ve not been free, or by using a coupon or buying the generic version of a product.
I just pretend I paid full price for those items and save the difference.
And while you may think these days there aren’t many things you can get for free, the reality is that iof you know where to look, you can still find lot of practical and useful stuff that you can get for free.
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What will I learn?
30 Things you buy that you can actually get for free
1. Calls and Text Messages
You can get 500mb of data absolutely free every single month from FreedomPop.
You can watch a lot of shows for free on Hulu. They have extensive listing that includes contents from premium channels; you can count Lifetime and History plus HGTV among them.
You can also use the good ol antenna to find free TV programming. In the US, virtually all networks have at least 2 channels of programming, which broaden the likelihood you can find more free content (if you are not sure, go to antennaweb.org to see detailed listing of channels according to location)
3. Free Museum Tickets
It is common practice for museums to open up their doors once a while, without requiring any ticket.
The most direct approach is to use your Google search with terms like “free admission,” “FOC,” “no ticket,” etc, and end it with the museum name.
Or go to SavvyCities; start with the probable location of the museum(s), move on to the “attractions” tab and then the “museum free days” option.
You get a detailed display of museums that fit into that category.
Why pay cash to your Internet service provider when you can get just as unfettered access to Internet via the many WiFi free hot spots.
If you are lucky enough to have FreedomPop in your region, their 4G wireless Internet is an entirely free option.
5. Productivity Software
Productivity software like Microsoft’s MS Office can be very expensive.
But thankfully we have a very equal competition in the form of Apache OpenOffice suite, which are free to download.
Another great free alternative is the Google Docs.
Google Docs works online, so it is a great platform to facilitate sharing and collaboration.
6. Prescription Medications
The traditional practice is to sign up on some loyalty program with the big pharmaceutical companies to get prescription medicines free or cheap.
Now supermarkets have got into the game and you can actually get some dose of antibiotics, diabetes medications and generic drugs FOC (some would require a small fee) when promotions are on.
I am referring to Giant Eagle, Publix, PriceChopper, Meijer and more. On occasions, big pharmaceutical companies may dispense free medicine if you fit into a pre-described profile. Often this is a clinical trial on some new drugs.
To find eligible programs search the RxAssist database.
Many cosmetology schools offer free haircuts.
If you don’t mind your hair being attended to by a young apprentice, you can expect your haircut to be free.
You can find cosmetology schools near you by using the Beauty Schools Directory site.
Another option is to check for salons that offer free cuts in exchange for you donating your hair to Locks of love.
To find participating salons, either look for the Locks of Love decal sticker on the salon window, or search online for “Locks of Love Salon” followed by your city name.
8. Gym Membership
If you go to commercial gym, you have to pay for your membership. But you could have found similar amenities from other places, which allow you free access.
One of my favorites is church.
Nowadays, modern churches are often equipped with a gym.
Sure, the exercise room is not as completely equipped as a commercial gym. But the basic stuff that strengthen your muscles, build your stamina and provide resistance training are all there.
In addition, you can search the web or the library for materials that are related to fitness training that does not make use of the popular dumbbells, exercise bench and all.
9. Movie Subscriptions
You can of course use Hulu or Crackle to watch free movies and shows.
But if you are after the new releases, you can sign up with RedBox to receive text messages, and each month, on the first Monday, they’ll send you a free rental code that you can use to rent a new movie for free.
To sign up for it, simply text OFFERS to 727272.
10. Long Distance Calls
Using the landline to make the long-distance call is pointless, as you achieve better economy even with cellphone.
11. Dental Care
To get free or heavily discounted dental treatment, checkout the medical schools that provide dentistry study.
Even if the treatment is to be performed by the students, these schools often take it upon themselves to make sure that correct process is followed and correct administrations are executed. So that reduces the risk of a botched operation by a rogue dentist wannabe.
To find local dental schools check out this page on the American Dental Education Association’s official website.
The first approach works regardless of your financial status.
However, if you belong to the lower-income bracket, you can find out from the local health authority if there is any subsidized (or free) dental care.
The third option for you is to check out DentistryFromtheHeart.org.
They are a not-for-profit organization that dispatch dentists to various regions to perform free dental services.
12. Antivirus Software
Microsoft allows you to exchange your current antivirus subscription with their brand-new MS Security Essentials.
Without even spending a penny, you can prevent virus and malware from attacking your PC.
13. International Text Messaging
Seasoned travelers know that whenever they step out of the national boundary, the international roaming charges can really go through the roof.
This applies to voice calls generally, but your text messages could just be as affected. Charges can vary depending on where you’re, but there is no reason to shut down shop.
So long you can get access to the Internet on your smartphone, WhatsApp can come to the rescue.
This is a free messaging platform and it can connect to smartphones (Apple and Android) and practically all sorts of devices.
This is one of my all-time favorite apps as it not only connects users through voice and text, but also allows easy sending of multimedia files and creation of user groups.
14. Baby Supplies
All supplies cost money, including those related to small kids.
The money-saving solution is to get acquainted with the local stores if you can use any of their baby programs.
I know that Publix Baby Club, for example, gives away free books, discount coupons and samples to their members.
The big-time manufacturers also contribute free samples from time to time.
Here are a few other manufactures that offer free baby products (mainly samples):
This is one resource that there is a huge abundance of them on the Internet for free.
The biggest site where you can get thousands of books for free is the Project Gutenberg which has over 50,000 e-books.
For a list of sites that offer free books/e-books, check out my recent post titled: 100 Sites for Thrifty Bookworms to Download & Read Free Books Online
Closer to home, the local library is an excellent source of free e-books. Nowadays, there are tons of digital content inside the library, and the content is often in popular formats like Kindle and ePub, to encourage readings among the public.
Alternatively, you can use the workstations provided to read e-books online.
16. Credit Reports and Scores
I always think there is no reason to pay somebody to access your credit history.
With the emergence of AnnualCreditReport.com, it is now easy to look at your annual consolidated credit records. It does not cost anything to access.
Granted, both sites are helpful but you still cannot see your FICO score, the most common marker for bankers to decide on your loan, for example. I would suggest that you register with a real FICO provider first, get that precious FICO score and deregister, all within the free trial period.
For those of you who like to check your credit score often, there is a new site called WalletHub. It is the first and only website that offers free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis.
17. Magazine Subscriptions
Sometimes we are so busy grinding out our day-to-day life, we forget that the library is the greatest repository of information.
Is your magazine subscription going to come to an end?
No problem, the library always has the latest edition available.
Some libraries actually allow members to download the digital versions of magazines, so you are not going to worry about the expired subscription.
18. Kids Meals
Some restaurants offer free or discounted meals for kids.
Certainly there are variables in the equation, such as free kids meal “with two adults’ order”, “spending over X dollars”, “lull period only”, etc…
To help your efforts on finding such restaurants, check out MyKidsEatFree.com.
19. Calendar and Lists
If you are like me and still like to use the good old paper to do list, check out PrintableToDoList.com, which allows you to fill in daily plan and checklist and print it out free.
On the other hand, Free Printable Calendars allows printing of current and future itinerary, and even allows you to customize calendars.
20. Apps and Music
Nowadays online college courses are all the rage and you can find a multitude of websites that offer a wide array of courses, from Art and Science to Engineering and computer science.
You can choose to read the lecture notes, listen to the podcasts, or watch the class in proceeding.
Some offer live interaction so you can actually “talk” to a lecturer or a fellow student.
For a list of places that offer free online college courses, check out my list of 40 Free Online College Courses.
22. Online Storage
With the proliferation of the cloud, online storage is bound to get even more popular.
It is an excellent way to back up or sync your files.
The transaction goes on an incremental basis, so the more space you need, the more cash you have to fork out.
But some offer unorthodox way of giving you disk space.
Dropbox, for example, gives you 500 MB (Dropbox Basic accounts) and 1 GB (for Dropbox Pro accounts) for every friend you refer.
And Google Drive gives you 15 GB free just for signing up.
23. Wall Art
Don’t think you are creative enough to decorate the walls of your new residence?
Not to worry, help is at hand.
You can find websites offering ready-made artwork that you are able to print and hang on the wall.
One such site is Vintage Printable, which features lovely ponds, marvelous scenery and gregarious eagle.
The best thing must be that these are all in the public domain, so there is no issue of licensing infringement.
Another site, Feed Your Soul, depicts indie art with the artists giving their consent for their work to be seen and distributed
24. Money Management Tools
Need some additional help to straighten up your finances?
You can find tools such as Mint.
There is a sum function to consolidate your financial information — spanning across checking and savings accounts, retirement funds, credit cards, mortgages, car loans, bills and more.
The result is you get a bird’s-eye view on the overall cash flow and available balance. This allows you to see where money is going and be alerted on upcoming bills.
25. Wedding Invitation Designs
Help comes in the form of WeddingChicks.com, where a mass choice of styles and templates are there waiting to be printed out.
You can also print out free Save The Dates on ThePrettyBlog.com.
Couchsurfing.org makes your travel more memorable and fun by pairing you up with a local family happy to host you in their home.
Couchsurfing.org is a not for profit organization, so they don’t take a fee.
Its aim is to foster international relationship among world citizens.
There are many families in the US and Europe who subscribe to this ideology and their objective is to strike up friendship with international visitors.
You need to furnish your profile before any of these families will consider hosting you.
There is also a section on CouchSurfing website that advises on how to improve your chance of free home stay.
27. Audio Books
The nonprofit LibriVox.org has tons of free audio books, and they are slated toward classics.
So if you like your Shakespeare, then this is your place to grab free audio.
The site is run and managed by volunteers, and they also welcome newcomers to participate in this new way of storytelling.
28. Language Lessons
Want to learn a new language?
You don’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to buy programs and DVDs.
BBC Languages has tons of free videos and lesson for learning dozens of languages such as French, Spanish, Italian, and German.
BBC even awards you with a certificate if you successfully complete the course.
I spent some time looking for free shipping with my online purchases and bumped into this website: FreeShipping.org and I like it.
The promo codes are flashed out regularly and you can request for alerts when such promotions are on.
30. Cinema Tickets
You sign up with them for free, then they’ll send you a screening code that you can enter on the site to get your free movie tickets.
Bonus: 31. Expert computer help
Computer slow or frozen? Don’t want to spend $100′ by taking it down to the local store?
Protonic is here to help.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out later that the site is manned by some volunteers.
Upon further investigation, I found out also there is no money incentive to provide the service they do, and at such excellent level. That strong interest to serve seemed to stem from the frustration from manufacturers’ failure to provide optimal support even as some form of service and support agreement is in place.
There you have it 31 things you can get for free that some of you are still paying for.
I am sure there are other things that I missed. So if you know of any thing that can be had for free but some of us are still spending money on, please let us know in the comment section below and I will add it to the list.