The best things in life are free, right? Well, all too often we find ourselves shelling out hard earned money for items that are easily available for free! I try to make the most of my budget, only paying for what is truly needed. I have done a lot of investigating through the years to find items that I can save big money on by getting for free, rather than paying for. By identifying what is best got for no cost, or nearly no cost, it gives more room in a budget for debt payment, savings or fun expenses!
- Television Programming
Television is a significant monthly expense for many people. For most it also can be an unnecessary expense. All major TV networks have popular shows streaming on their website for a period of time after it originally airs. There are several competing remarketers on the internet that have a selection of free or low cost network and cable television programs. If you only watc a handful of television shows, it is easy to switch over to one of these alternatives and still keep up with your favorite show! I was able to reduce my television cost by reducing packages and catching a few shows online for free.
Many ATMs charge a fee for withdrawal, especially if it is not your banking institution. Instead of paying $1.00 or more in an ATM fee, just make a small purchase and ask for cash back at the register. It may cost you an extra $0.75 buying a pack of gum, but at least you have the gum instead of paying a fee! Most stores will allow between $10-100 cash back with any purchase. I have not paid an ATM fee in years using this strategy.
Books can be quite expensive. Purchasing just a few new books can put a dent into your budget. Libraries are one great source for free books. These institutions have thousands of volumes on their shelves of every genre. If a desired book is not in your library, ask about getting it through inter-library loan programs. Many libraries are starting to also provide limited loans of books to your electronic reading device.
- Movie Rentals
Between the trusty library and free rental codes from promotions, I have not paid for a movie rental in years. Promotions to encourage the use of movie kiosks are around. Just simply paying attention will reveal free rental promotions! The library is also a great place for free movie rentals. Some libraries will have quite an extensive amount of movies and other videos available for all ages. The selection can be surprisingly broad and recent. Certain library systems will allow movies to be borrowed from other libraries and delivered to your local branch via inter-library loan agreements.
- Health Screenings
Drug stores, retailers, local health departments and hospitals will have free health screenings for various ailments throughout the year. Blood pressure and diabetic screenings are very common. Occasionally, heart health or nutritional counseling will be offered. During these events you often can get free samples of various products or medical devices such as blood sugar monitors and coupons in addition to the free, no obligation health screening. Contact your local hospital, health department and drug stores to see when they are holding their next event. I have attended free nutritional counseling sessions and once even a dental screening!
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