The Best Stuff You Can Get For Free…

The best things in life are free!  A quick web search will yield hundreds of websites that offer free products. Sadly, most have a catch involved for you to actually obtain that free item.  However, here are a few categories of items that are truly FREE:

Music/Entertainment/Culture

Pandora.com is the best invention as of late. This website is a custom Internet radio service created by you. Register your information, type in your favorite artist, and the genius programmers will create a station surrounding your favorite artist and others who have similar attributes. Plus, you can create as many stations as you want.

Hulu.com offers free views of television shows and movies from NBC, FOX, MGM, Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers. You can watch the latest Saturday Night Live spoof or Family Guy.

Internet/Computers

Due to great leaps in technology, WiFi or wireless technology, enables laptop users to use the Internet anyplace that they can get a digital signal. Some places charge you for WiFi use, but some do not. An excellent website to find your local free WiFi location is wi-fihotspotlist.com.

It’s never fun calling the outsourced tech support hotline for your computer when your desktop is having a moody moment. Protonic.com is a free technology support websites where users can submit a question and get a prompt answer from a volunteer expert. They do accept donations.

Financial Resources

Banks are really struggling right now, and consumers are bearing the brunt of their shortcomings in fees and charges.  Thankfully, INGDirect.com offers completely free savings and checking accounts. It’s a virtual bank, and the money can be transferred to your physical bank. ING offers excellent interest rates, no monthly fees, and allows you to setup of nicknames for your savings accounts. Therefore, you can easily save for a car and computer in two separate accounts.

Annualcreditreport.com allows the public to request their free credit report once every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. There is a charge to buy your credit score with the report, but the report itself is free.

The Internal Revenue Service offers free tax return preparation for seniors 60 years and older, those earning less than $40,000 annually, or those serving in the U.S. Military care of trained volunteers. Visit irs.gov for additional free details.
Online Education

The U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov) offers free online courses ranging in topics from marketing and advertising to business management. The classes are 30 minutes each and self-paced. In-person classes are available for free also at selected SBA offices.

Apple stores offer free how-to classes on the use of their software, products and computer basics. Now, parents can be as cool as their kids. Learn more at apple.com/retail.

Food

Every April or May, the ice cream company Ben & Jerry hosts Free Cone Day. On November 4th from 5-8pm, voters are treated to a free scoop.

Household Items

Need free furniture or clothing? If you don’t mind getting recycled used items and enjoy helping a nonprofit with an environmental mission, visit freecycle.org. Or try new-age bartering at swaptree.com. The site is free and there are no listing fees. Just pay a small fee for shipping and you enjoy free household goods!

Free books anyone? Bookmooch.com allows you to exchange used books at no cost to join. The only fee is when you mail your used books to others. You earn points for every book you give away. The points allow you to get another book and keep it or donate it back for someone else.

Culture

Check your local museums for free admission days. Some major cities host “Movies in the Park” during summer months. Check your local park district for these free cultural activities.

Miscellaneous Items

Google offers Free 411; it’s easy to use and gives you the option to have the information text messaged to you. The number is 1-800-GOOG-411. Standard phone charges apply.

Craigslist.com is a great resource for getting free goods. There’s a section called FREE on the site’s homepage. These free items are usually as a result of people moving, de-cluttering or simply exhibiting generosity.

Visit your local library. The library is a wealth of free goods and services. With a free library card, you can surf the Internet, read books and magazines, rent DVD’s and visit seminars and exhibitions.

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