As a smart shopper, you probably spend a lot of time searching for the best deals. However, some of those great finds aren’t really all that terrific.
In fact, a lot of so-called “good deals” can actually be found for free. We mentioned a lot of these no-cost items in our article “How to Find Thousands of Freebies.” As we pointed out in that story:
Want something for nothing? Go online. All you have to do is look to find free beauty products, children’s items, restaurant meals, furniture, electronics or even cellphone service.
Sometimes this means a one-time sign-up, but ongoing sources of goodies also exist, letting you browse whenever you have a minute.
However, freebies are not the only way to save money. In this story, we look at some free things, but also highlight lower-cost options you might be overlooking when purchasing items you need on an ongoing basis.
Following are our top 10 things for which people overpay.
1. Book downloads
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Unless your tastes run to the esoteric, there is no excuse for paying to download e-books. You can probably download just about any best-seller your heart desires from your local library.
If you have an Amazon Prime membership, you get free downloads there as well.
For plenty of other options, check out “11 Places to Find Free E-Books.”
2. Movie rentals
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In addition to e-books, your local library likely has at least a few shelves of DVDs and Blu-rays just waiting to be picked up for family movie night. If your library doesn’t have the title you want on the shelf, it may be able to request the movie from another library system.
Another free movie rental option is the Redbox Text Club. Text the word SIGNUP to 727272 to receive promotions from Redbox. At least once a month, I receive a code for a free rental.
3. Magazine subscriptions
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While we’re discussing the great things you can get at the library, let’s not forget magazines.
How many times do you spend 15 minutes flipping through a magazine and then toss it into the recycling bin?
Sure, you might use a cooking or woodworking magazine again and again. But are you really going to look at celebrity wedding photos more than once? Get those kind of quick reads from the library.
If you want magazines delivered to your house, consider the free and cheap options in “10 Ways to Get Discounted Newspapers and Magazines.”
4. Bottled water
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There is a secret behind bottled water: Although companies promote it as crisp, pure spring water, it’s often just water that comes out of the ground — much like the water that pours from your faucet.
Unless you live in an area with known contamination, there’s no guarantee the bottled water you pay for at the store is any better than the water coming out of your own tap. If you’re concerned about the quality or taste of your tap water, buy a faucet filter or filtered pitcher. And buy a refillable bottle to chill and carry your own “free” water with you.
5. Brand-name medications
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Brand-name drugs are big business, and pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of money trying to convince you to buy items with their name on the label.
Instead of jumping on the brand-name bandwagon, consider buying a generic instead. Generics are held to the same standard as the brand names and can save you a bundle. Some health insurance plans now also have higher co-pays for brand names.