Great Savings 5: Utilize Free Services

 

Great Savings Tip #5

Our original tip #5 is still true: You can save a bundle over the long haul if you can talk a friend into cutting your hair. Yet there are many other ways to save using the same basic idea. Thus, today’s tip is all about keeping the services you really need, but finding a way to spend less on them. Are you currently taking advantage of free services? Here are six ideas for saving:

 

A Kindle.

Most devices like laptops, pads and smartphones are WiFi compatible. How much do you use WiFi? Are you getting it free?

Free WiFi: If you only use WiFi occasionally you can save the cost of a wireless router or internet subscription by heading down to the local coffee shop, library, bus or air terminal or most any business that caters to lots of people—especially if they typically hang around. You may even find free wireless in your own home if your neighbor hasn’t restricted access to their account (though there may be legal implications worth checking into). While many smart “pad” or notebook devices now come “G3” or “G4” compatible, nearly all let you use a WiFi connection as well. This begs the question whether you’re getting your money’s worth if you’re carrying a more expensive “G3” or “G4” contract. It’s worth sorting out.

  

 

The Free Credit Report website.

Go to www.AnnualCredit Report.com for a truly free report.

Free Credit Report: Did you sign up for a monthly credit report check with your bank or a company promoting ID Theft Prevention? If you’re careless with receipts and bank records, have had mail stolen, always getting calls offering goods and services, or easily confused by sales gimmicks and promotions paying for a credit service may be worth the cost. However, you are entitled to a free annual credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Thus, as long as you know what you’re getting into you can skip the annual subscription fee of those other services. AnnualCreditReport.com is a government mandated initiative which is sponsored by the 3 major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—they have to provide this service for free. That’s not true of other companies.

 

So many choices. What do I do?

You might cut down on your cable bill by streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime, but if you need the cable to run your modem you’ll have to go another route.

Free Songs, Books and Movies: Are you paying Netflix, Amazon, or another company a monthly or yearly subscription fee for music, books and movies? You might try doing without. You can rent free books and movies at your local library and you can listen to free music by signing up with companies like Pandora. Another nice feature of Pandora is it allows you to create your own radio stations featuring your favorite music category, songs or artists. Talk about convenient!

 

Free Business Cards: Trying to start a business on a shoestring? VistaPrint is a company which offers 250 free business cards. The quality is decent, you create the card, and the cards are technically free (though you will pay a small shipping fee). Of course, they hope you’ll upgrade or buy more, but you can get 250 to get started. That’s really not bad considering the ink and card stock you’d have to buy if you print your own. Check ‘em out.

 

Examine the fine print up close.

Check with the bank and look at the fine print. Some “free” accounts come with higher fees.

Free Checking Accounts: Is your bank charging you a monthly service fee for your account? If you’re not married to it, maybe it’s time to check around. What’s the best bet? Try a local credit union first. Though you won’t always find a free account, most credit unions offer good terms on accounts and even better deals on credit cards or loans. Other banks will use “free accounts” to draw you into the bank, but they hope to entice you into using their other services or have hidden fees, like a high cost for printing new checks. Ask for a list of all the banks fees before signing up.

 

Get Free Help: Most any company has a customer service department, but trying to find a phone number to connect to a real person can get tricky. Then there are those that list phone numbers that require you pay the toll even when they have toll free numbers that might apply. Companies these days practically beg us to “check their websites” to find answers to frequently asked questions because human operators cost them a lot more. Still, when you need help and want to talk to a person instead of a machine the website GetHuman.com is worth checking out. This firm specializes in figuring out how to contact firms for free—all so you don’t have to. You can see their alphabetical list of companies by clicking the link above, or try their searchable database by clicking on their Customer Service Tricks page.

 

Action Item: Find a free alternative to at least one of your current services. Now, give it a try and see if you can get along as well without paying for it.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to see:
Getting Free Music Legally
4 Key Principles For Starting A Cottage Business

 

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