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Free Things You Shouldn't Have to Pay For

12 Things You Need to Stop Paying For

We live in a consumer nation, where it has long been the case that many of us are encouraged to spend and to pay it off with money we don't have, which then racks up our debt. This mentality has shifted a little during the recession; people are gradually spending less and saving more. However, there are still a lot of things we're paying for that we don't need. Here are 12 things you should be getting for free.

  1. Books: Don't buy books. Instead, borrow them from the library or from a friend, and explore sites that will let you swap books with other people such as BookMooch and PaperBackSwap. Alternatively, there are plenty of wonderful free ebooks on Amazon if you're game to try an indie author.
  2. Cable: A record number of Americans are canceling their cable services, reports Business Insider. Paying for cable almost seems pointless when you look at all the free options out there such as Hulu and network websites that offer free streaming of their hit shows online. Here are steps to cut the cord and survive a world without cable.
  3. Credit report: Get your free credit report from, which allots you a free report per year.
  4. Shipping: Hunt around the web for free shipping when you're shopping online. Go to and find promo codes for free shipping on the website; you can even subscribe to get free shipping alerts from the site. Be sure to also check out for free shipping codes.
  5. Museum tickets: Don't pay for admission to museums. Most museums offer free entry at least once a month. To find out which museums offer this freebie, you can search around the web by typing in the name of the city or museum and the keywords "free admission." Or you can check out SavvyCities; select the city you live in, then click the "attractions" tab and the "museum free days" option for a listing of museums that offer free admission.
  6. Water: Don't buy bottled water, and opt for tap water instead. If you don't like the taste of it, perhaps invest your money in an affordable water filter.
  7. Baggage on board: If you have the right carry-on luggage, you won't have to check in your excess baggage and pay any fees. Get a carry-on that airlines will accept, and learn how to pack light.
  8. Texts: If you opt for a smartphone, then you can download one of the free texting apps such as WhatsApp to your phone, so you won't have to pay for texts.
  9. Bank accounts and credit cards: Do some research to sign up for bank accounts and credit cards without annual fees. There are plenty of great options out there.
  10. Cleaning supplies: DIY cleaning supplies with things you already have in your pantry for a natural and free alternative.
  11. Exercise: Of course, this is really objective, but you don't have to pay for exercise if you use what's available to you, such as the great outdoors. You can also watch free workout videos online that provide users with a lot of awesome fitness guidance. It's like having a personal trainer in your own living room.
  12. International phone calls: Don't pay for international phone calls when you can call your overseas friends for free. You can call them over a Skype app that can be installed on your computer, iPhone, or Android. However, the other person has to have Skype installed as well for you to talk to them without getting charged. You can also call them using FaceTime audio on your iPhone.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich
ginachandler ginachandler 6 years
I think we should stop paying for coffee every morning. Why can't we just program our coffee pots to have it ready for us in the morning? I have a feeling the writer of this article didn't mention it because she's got that "gotta have my Starbucks" addiction, too.
jen2800 jen2800 6 years
Actually the library can help you with several of these areas. Pretty much all public libraries subscribe to newspapers--you can visit to read the physical copy but most libraries also have access to databases where you can read articles anywhere from a couple days old to decades old. You can usually use these databases online with your library card, too. Some libraries have museum passes. For instance, in Chicago you can check out family passes to tons of museums for free. And most public libraries have DVDs too (free or a really low cost), another reason to cancel cable!
JessRose JessRose 6 years
I disagree w/ the books, cell phones, water, and museums. I've lived in cities where museums are $20 to get in, and also in DC where it's free by donation only (they STILL need to get money for upkeep). Books - I just love 'em and I don't want a copy that someone else has grabbed and sneezed/breathed all over. I want my own copy to dog-ear and mark up, etc. and yes I have 2 e-readers AND I still read physical books. So I read A LOT. Water - you wouldn't be drinking crap tap water from the Potomac... (it's easy for Pop sugar to say water should be free and the tap isn't as bad when they're located in CA where they have the best water-distribution system in the U.S.) Cell phones - yeah, right. That's also a service that requires upkeep - Sprint and verizon don't just magically handle your calls and texts as soon as the phone is in your hand...
ameerah26 ameerah26 6 years
I use OverDrive which is an app that allows you to download e-books via your local library. I simply download the titles onto my iPhone and read them on the train. And its completely free! The one downside is that there are limited quantities of each book so you will have to wait list a lot of the titles you want. I'm currently reading the Shopaholic series. I finished book 2 and put book 3 on the wait list and it was available within a few days. This isn't for the impatient person- some books may be wait listed for a good long while if they are really popular. The Game of Thrones Series had a 50 person wait list at my library! I wound up just borrowing the books form co-worker. Which is still FREE.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I pretty much folllow these, except I refuse to go to a museum (or even the zoo) on their free days. They are always complete madhouses and you don't get to fully appreciate the experience.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
I feel bad about the books, when I realize that the authors are not making any money off me. But then again, I mostly read books by people who are already dead anyway. Problem solved! :)
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