FREE. It’s the one word that will stop anyone in their tracks and immediately grab their attention. Whether it’s a free cookie in the mall food court or a t-shirt from your company picnic, we all love getting things for free. Especially in our rough economy, something that is offered for free is going to be worth looking in to.
I was looking though my budget recently trying to find some places where I could free up some more cash each month, when it dawned on me. There are so many things I pay for each month that I could easily be getting free! Here are a few things I came up with that you (and I) should never pay for again.
1. Music : I’m a bit of a music freak, if I were to show you my credit card statement you’d see multiple charges from iTunes and the
Amazon MP3 Store . I probably don’t have to explain how these charges can add up quickly. Luckily it’s 2012 and free music is legal! Thanks to services like Pandora and Spotify you can listen to as much of your favorite music as you want, for free. (They each have paid versions, but if you can put up with an occasional ad, the free versions are more than enough.) Personally I’d recommend Spotify only because you can listen to full albums and specific songs from artists and not just a radio station mixed with similar artists.
2. Books & Magazines : These days just about everyone has an e-reader (
Kindle, Nook etc…) or a Tablet (iPad…). If you have one of these devices there are multiple ways to read for free! Just like with traditional books, these days your local library will have a large selection of books available to download to your e-reader for free. Amazon.com also has a large selection of free books available in the
Kindle Store. Just look at the best seller lists along the right side of the page and the top 100 free books for each category are listed as well.
3. Internet Access : This one may be a bit of an inconvenience to some, but if you hate paying that internet bill each month it’s not that hard to get free access. Again, most local libraries will offer free WiFi or have computers with internet access available for use. More and more businesses are also offering free WiFi these days, and some towns and cities are even getting in on the act by offering up free access in some public places. A word of warning however, if you plan to regularly access free WiFi spots make sure you take the proper steps to protect your computer and your data before connecting.
4. Phone/TV/Other Services : While you won’t be able to get these things completely for free, often times you can score a free month, free service upgrades or just a discount on your bill by calling customer service. This has a reputation of working best with some cell phone and tv companies. If you call up and explain that you’re thinking of switching providers because of _____. Or “company X is offering such and such service for free, is there anything you can do to compete with that…?” Often times companies will make large concessions to retain you as a customer. Bear in mind though, this doesn’t work all the time or with all companies. It’s also not a tactic you should abuse, as I’m sure the companies keep records of such things. But its worth a shot once in a while even if all it gets you is a free month or two of HBO.
That’s just a short list of things we all use every day that can be had for free. If you have anything you’d like to add to the list feel free to share in the comments below. I’m sure myself and the other readers would love to know about them!