6. Brand-name everything else
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Brand-name medicines aren’t the only deal you should be rethinking. Practically any brand-name product might be a bad deal when lower-priced generics are inches away.
Some people bristle at the thought of generics, envisioning watered-down shampoo or cardboard crackers. Certainly, there are some low-quality off-brands. However, your grocer’s store brand is often just as good as the national brand when it comes to quality and taste.
7. Credit cards
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We often neglect to check out things like interest rates because we’re blinded by credit card rewards or their convenience.
It’s an even worse deal when we have money sitting in savings, earning practically nothing, while we pay through the nose for credit card interest. The better deal might be to pull money from savings, pay off the card and file the plastic away.
8. Annual credit reports
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Many free credit report offers are among the worst deals out there.
Unscrupulous companies offer to send you a “free” report in exchange for your personal information, which might then be shared with identity thieves. Or there might be a small processing fee and teeny tiny print that says you’ll be signed up for some credit monitoring service you certainly don’t need.
Under federal law, each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — must provide consumers one free report every year. However, the only official place to get your free report is at AnnualCreditReport.com.
9. Anti-virus software
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Like an annual credit report, anti-virus software is something you need. It’s just not something that requires you to open your wallet.
A variety of free anti-virus programs are available online. PC Magazine recently rated 10 that it considers the best of 2017.
You may also be able to download paid anti-virus software for free via your internet service provider. For example, Comcast’s Xfinity offers subscribers programs like Norton Security Suite, a $160 value, for free. AT&T offers its Internet Security Suite by McAfee for free.
10. Smartphone apps
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It’s so easy to push the buy button for that 99-cent app. But more often than not, we’ve spent money on something we either won’t use or could have gotten free.
Do some research before you buy an app. There are plenty of great free iPhone apps and Android apps. After all, the 10 most popular apps of 2016 are all free.
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