Money Saving Tips

20 Items You Should Get for FREE

20 Items You Should Get for FREE
Written by Irina Vasilescu

When you’re creating your monthly budget, does it seem as if there are corners where you can still cut costs? No matter how much you are earning, you should not be paying any more than you have to on certain aspects of your monthly expenses – especially those that you can get for discounted rates or even for free.

You might be surprised at how much money you can actually save by taking an in-depth look at your monthly expenses. By eliminating the fat on your budget, you can get rid of those items which are constantly digging into your savings.

The money that you will end up saving can go towards an emergency or savings fund instead, so that you can have something to spend for the rainy days. Find out which items to get for free, even though you’ve been paying for up until now. 

20 Items to Not Pay for Anymore

Here, we will take a look at the top 20 items that you should not be paying for anymore. You can instead get them at discounted prices, eliminate them from your budget totally, or get an alternative service for free. Take a look at the top 20 items which you should not be paying for anymore:

1. Audiobooks and E-books

Unless you plan to listen to the same audio file over and over again for research purposes, audiobooks are generally a one-time-use kind of purchase. This means that after you’re finished listening to the file, it will simply go into your computer’s archive. Why pay for something that you will only use once or twice? The same thing holds true for e-books.

Instead of downloading them for a fee from shopping websites, simply visit the local public library in your area and access the e-books or audiobooks for free. Most big public libraries have a website which stores book files in audio format, you can also check that out. Some things you need to get for free in order to spend your money on important things!

2. Bottled Water

When you’re up and about, buying bottled water will be your biggest expense. There’s actually no financial sense made in buying bottled water – simply bringing your own reusable water bottle and filling them up at a drinking fountain will do.

You can also ask the staff of gas stations, convenience stores or supermarkets to fill up your bottle with drinking water from their soda machine. If you must buy filtered or distilled water, buy one with the most volume because the price decreases as the size increases. Then, simply fill up a smaller container with water from the bigger container.

3. Cable TV Subscription

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go and other streaming services are your alternative to cable TV subscription. According to MarketWatch of the Wall Street Journal, the subscribers of cable TV have been declining since 2004.

Streaming services are actually a lot less expensive than cable TV and even have the content that they want, on demand. If you still have a cable or satellite TV subscription, it’s time to ditch it for a less expensive service. Entertainment is something you can get for free, so don’t rush out to pay TV memberships and subscriptions! 

4. Designer Coffee

If you always buy fancy lattes or designer coffee on your way to work, you are not doing your budget any favors. Just imagine how much money you are spending for fancy coffee on a daily basis.

There’s nothing wrong in indulging in it a few times a month but when it becomes a daily habit, it can put a huge dent in your pocket. A great alternative would be to buy your own coffee machine and brew a cup at home before going to work. Once you’re at the office, you can simply consume the coffee there.

5. DVD and Blu-Ray Players

Again, the use of DVD and Blu-Ray players is found to be on the decline because of the popularity of Internet-based streaming services. Rather than buying a DVD player and renting or purchasing individual DVDs, it is cheaper to subscribe to services like Netflix or Hulu to consume the content that you like. If you have a gaming console like a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One, you can use that a substitute DVD/Blu-Ray player.

6. Digital Cameras

Another thing you can get for free is a digital camera, if you combine more needs into just one. In this selfie-obsessed world, more and more people are turning to their smartphones as an all-in-one device. Instead of buying a digital camera, you can instead invest on a good smartphone with a high resolution camera, a DSLR or a GoPro camera if you’re into outdoor sports.

7. Extra Legroom for Economy Flight Seats

If you’re flying coach, there is usually an option for you to pay for extra legroom which is about three to six inches than the more cramped seats in airplanes. The seats are usually located in the exit or first rows in economy.

Instead of paying extra for this, you can simply book your flights in advance and upgrade to business class. Reserving your airline tickets six to seven weeks in advance should give you great rates, or you can look for last-minute deals by signing up for airline newsletters.

8. GPS Devices

As mentioned earlier, smartphones have become all-in-one devices for most users so there’s really no need for you to pay for an extra GPS device. Download a free map app on your Android or iOS device and get the same GPS feature without having to pay a single cent. You can also look for cars with built-in GPS devices.

9. Holiday Décor

Even if it’s the middle of the year and you will not use those Christmas decorations until December, it pays to buy them at 75% off and store them than purchasing them during the latter part of the year. You can also simply store the holiday decorations that you already have and re-use them every year. To make the décor look brand new, simply change the color scheme or add new elements so you would not have to spend so much.

10. Impractical Coupons

Coupons might be for free, but are they useful? Even if an ad says that you will save 50% from the original price of a grocery or food item, it makes no sense to use it if you don’t usually buy the item in the first place. No matter how much savings it says you will earn, it still pays to not buy an item at all if you would not be using it in the first place.

11. Late Fees

Late fees on credit card, utility and other bills do add up so you should pay them on time. Enroll in automatic debit arrangements or online systems with your bank or set up e-mail alerts so you won’t forget to pay the bill once they’re due.

12. Landline Service

Do you still know anyone who uses a landline service to make calls? By totally eliminating this bill from your monthly budget, you can save a lot. As long as you have Internet connection, you can take advantage of online free calling or video calling services like Skype, Face Time and similar services.

13. Lessons/Learning a New Skill

When learning a new skill or a new language, there’s no need for you to pay for classes in physical classrooms. Simply go online and look for the course that you would like to enroll in. Sites like Coursera.com and apps on Android or iOS devices can be downloaded as a learning tool for whatever skill it is that you would like to acquire.

14. Magazines

You can cut back on a few dollars here and there by resisting the temptation to buy a physical magazine. There are many websites where you can get the same information, or free magazine apps that you can download on your phone to access the content.

15. Power Tools

If you like puttering around the house, you might be tempted to buy power tools like drills. Before making such a big purchase, remember that you will only be using them a few times. Isn’t it more practical to rent or borrow instead of buying? Unless you plan to rent out the power tools, they will simply end up gathering dust in your storage room so they’re really not a practical buy.

16. Pricey Hotel Rooms

AirBnB, Vacation Rentals by Owner or even couch surfing are cheaper hotel room alternatives. With airfare costs becoming more and more affordable, booking a vacation somewhere exotic is not a far-off notion anymore. As long as you make plans in advance and you know which accommodation options are cheaper, you can book an affordable vacation.

17. Phone Calls to Businesses

Instead of charging a phone call to a business to your mobile phone or land line, simply look for their 1-800 or toll-free numbers. You can also go online to look for a list of cheaper alternative phone lines when making calls to businesses.

18. Two-Year Phone Contracts

You’ll never know what will happen within a two-year time frame so it also makes no sense to tie yourself to a two-year mobile phone contract. When you try to get out of the contract before the time frame is over, you will be charged with huge terminations fees. A great alternative is to look for no-contract wireless providers or even go for prepaid mobile phones if you do not make that much phone calls in a month.

19. Trash Pick-up for Big Items

If you need to get rid of furniture, old appliances or other big items from your house, there are community waste service providers who can pick up the items for free. Better yet, sell the items on Craigslist – just make sure to specify that it is for pick-up only.

20. Unused Subscriptions

Finally, don’t pay for gym memberships, magazine subscriptions or similar services that you never end up using, anyway. You will only end up pouring money down the drain.

How about you, are there any items that you can add to the list which you should not be paying for anymore and could also get for free?

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

7 Comments

  • You never seem to run out of money saving ideas. There are some real gems here and I will be trying harder to follow these points.

  • As I work from home I am on a very tight leash when it comes to my spending because my income fluctuates from month to month. I am always looking for ways to decrease what my family is spending and I couldn’t agree more that bottled water and e-books are two things you should definitely not be paying for.

    I love drinking water – but I realized several years ago that going through a case or two of bottled water a week was costing me hundreds of dollars per year. I purchased a tap water purifying device that my husband easily installed and now I only pay for filters. I cannot tell you how much money this has saved my family.

    Also, when it comes to e-books, if you have internet – and you do just a bit of digging – there are many outlets online that offer free e-books and audio books. Google Play for example offers hundreds of free ‘classic’ novels for e-readers every day and all you have to to is choose the ones you want and download. On that same note – if you have a friend or relative who enjoys them, have them send the files to you if they have a title you are interested in.

  • Once again a great set of tips for anyone trying to save money. It almost seems silly that these need to be listed, but there are many people that are paying for things that they don’t need to pay for. I have found all my current magazine subscriptions through free deals on the internet. I haven’t paid for a subscription in over three years.

    Thanks for the article!

  • There is so much wrong with some of these suggestions. While some of them are good, the others are just bad advice. No power tools? The average, engaged homeowner will find themselves using tools on a regular basis. Digital cameras have their place as an affordable alternative to DSLRs, and GoPro cameras aren’t for everyone. Standalone GPS devices still serve their purpose, as dedicated devices have more features. I could go on and on.

  • Most of these tips are excellent, but I’d argue having a DVD player can potentially save you money depending how you go about things. For example, if still using Netflix DVD by mail, which I’d argue is not a waste since they have WAY more movie titles available than Netflix streaming has.

    One tip I think is particularly useful that you mention is the fact that you can actually rent ebooks from the vast majority of libraries now without ever leaving the comfort of your home. This revelation has changed my life.

  • OK, I know this is going to sound cheap, but why pay for condiments when you can easily pick them up for free in food outlets? I’m on a really tight budget right now and have to watch every penny. So I often stock up with salt and pepper sachets, sauces and sugar if I see them on offer. I know it isn’t mega savings but it all helps a little.

  • Well, a lot of these things, you don’t really get “for free”, you just adapt to get a similar result from more advantageous offers (hotels vs airbnb for example). However, some of these are quite brilliant, too. I love online classes! Education really is one of those things that passed from “elite/rich/privileged” to “accessible to anyone with an internet connection”. There are only a few things that cannot be learnt online! I love it.

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