As the years roll along, the cost of most things just keeps increasing. But some items actually have gotten cheaper in recent times. In fact, many are now free.
Here are 10 things that used to cost money, but no longer do.
1. Classified ads
Once upon a time, if you wanted to sell something, you had to fork over money to run a classified ad in the newspaper. Now you have plenty of free options to sell your wares.
Craigslist has the widest reach, but there’s also eBay Classifieds or any of the many buy/sell groups you’ll find on Facebook. Some newspapers have even gotten into the act by allowing free classifieds on their websites.
2. Reading the news
Speaking of newspapers, buying one used to be the way to stay up-to-date on current events. Now, you merely have to flip on your computer to find all sorts of free news 24/7 on the internet. Even if you don’t have home internet service, you only have to head to the library to take advantage of this freebie.
3. Books, magazines, movies and more
While you’re at the library, take a look around. Long gone are the days in which your library was filled only with musty books.
Today, you can borrow CDs, DVDs, video games and more at many branches across the nation. My local library even has an iPad and an electricity usage monitor available for checkout.
Want more? Read this article on how to get millions of books and magazines for free. Also, check out:
- “Newest Amazon Prime Perk: Free E-Books“
- “17 Places You Can (Legally) Download or Stream Free Movies and TV“
- “5 Sources of Free Audiobooks“
4. Budgeting software
You can still buy programs like Quicken. But unless your finances are complex, there’s probably no reason to shell out the cash. Instead, use any number of free budgeting websites or apps, such as PowerWallet or Mint.
If you’re concerned about the safety of your information, read this article by Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson.
5. Your credit report
In the past, if you wanted to see a copy of your credit report, you needed to pay for it. Now, thanks to the government, you’re entitled to one free report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.
However, to keep your information safe, make sure you get the report from AnnualCreditReport.com, the official site established by the credit reporting agencies.
Typically, you have to pay to get your credit score. However, there are ways to get that gratis, too. Check out “8 Ways to Get Your FICO Score for Free.”
6. Music on the internet
This one has come full circle. In the early days of the internet, you could listen to music for free (albeit illegally) on Napster. Then, you had to pay for music through iTunes, Rhapsody or similar services. Today, we’re back to free music through apps such as Spotify and Pandora.
7. Long-distance phone service
There is no reason you should be paying for long-distance calls. If you don’t have a phone plan that already gives you free long-distance service, check out services such as Skype and Google Voice, which allow you to make calls in the U.S. for free.
8. Cloud storage
Backing up your important documents to the cloud can be a smart way to avoid the heartbreak that comes from a fried hard drive and the loss of irreplaceable files. In addition, cloud storage is a convenient way to access information and photos from anywhere.
At one time, you had to pay $100-plus for a GPS unit. In some cases, you had to shell out extra to update maps periodically.
You can still buy separate GPS systems, but if you have a smartphone, there’s really no reason to do so. There are plenty of free GPS apps that work perfectly fine. Google Maps is my go-to option, and it’s never let me down.
10. Practically anything — if you know where to look
Finally, thanks to the Internet, you can now get practically anything for free if you know where to look. Freecycle and Craigslist can help you with free stuff, but browsing the web can turn up all sorts of ideas on how to get services for free, too.
Here’s some of what we’ve covered on Money Talks News:
- “7 Simple, Free Moves Guaranteed to Make You Richer“
- “33 Retailers With Free Shipping — No Matter How Little You Spend“
- “7 Ways to Score Free Amazon Gift Cards“
- “7 Government Freebies You Can Get Today“
- “10 Ways to Get Free Lodging“
- “4 Ways to See Movies at a Theater for Free“
- “14 Ways to Redecorate for Free”
What else can you add to the list of items that used to cost money but are now free? Share your suggestions by commenting below or on our Facebook page.