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A Guide to Free Stuff
It’s great to find a bargain, especially in difficult economic times. Forbes recently listed a wide range of things that are available for the best bargain price of all: free:
Your credit report. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You can -– and should -– check it to make sure there are no inaccuracies that could hurt your credit score.
Calculators. There are lots of websites that offer calculators to help you figure out things like interest rates, compounding, retirement savings, etc. Just do a search for “financial calculator.”
Antibiotics. Some pharmacies provide free generic antibiotics, if you have a doctor’s prescription. Since antibiotics are very inexpensive, it’s an easy way for pharmacies to court your business. But whether you get your antibiotics for free or pay for them, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions when you take them.
Help with your taxes. The Internal Revenue Service provides free tax preparation help for military personnel and their families, for the elderly and for low-income households. You actually can sit down face-to-face with a volunteer tax expert. For more information, click here.
Workout options. Many gyms give a free trial membership, ranging from one day to a week. This can be helpful if you are traveling or have moved to a new city and want to try out gyms before you sign up.
Education. There are lots of colleges that let you audit courses for free, and even more that let you take online courses at no cost. You almost always have to pay if you want college credit, but if all you are after is some knowledge, see if can expand your mind without emptying your wallet.
Books. Popular e-readers like the Kindle, the iPad and the Nook let you download for free books whose copyright has expired. This includes tens of thousands of books, with new titles added regularly. There are no best-sellers on this list, but you can find virtually all the classics.
Tunes. If you want to take your music with you, you have to pay. But if you want to listen while you work, study or just hang out, there are several free online sites that let you rock out for free. Some, like the popular Pandora, let you create your own virtual radio station based on your personal preferences.
TV. If you missed your favorite TV show or want to check out something new, you can visit Hulu, a site that lets you watch most TV shows for free. Many cable or dish systems also let you catch up on episodes you missed.
WiFi. Public libraries as well as lots of retailers, ranging from Starbucks to bookstores, offer free WiFi, but there are lots of other places where you can get on the Net for free. Check out WiFiFreeSpot for a list of free WiFi locations near you.