10 Things That Used to Cost Money but Are Now Free

Things That Used to Cost, But Are Now Free

By Maryalene LaPonsie

Did you like the post about 15 things that used to be free but now cost money? It's time to flip that, and discuss what you used to pay for but can now get as a freebie.

10 Things That Used to Cost Money but Are Now Free
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10 Things That Used to Cost Money but Are Now Free
In the olden days, if you wanted to sell something, you would probably 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 (formerly known as Kijiji) 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.
Speaking of newspapers, buying one used to the way to stay up-to-date on current events. It was either that or plan your evening so you could sit down for the nightly news. 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 your own home Internet service, you only have to head to the library to take advantage of this freebie.
While you're at the library, take a look around. Long gone are the days in which your library was filled 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.
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Another thing that used to cost money is 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, you can use any number of free budgeting websites or apps, such as PowerWallet or Mint. If you're concerned about the safety of your information, learn how to effortlessly track your expenses, free
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 bureaus. However, to get it, you need to be sure to go to AnnualCreditReport.com and not one of the dozens of other knockoff sites that want your credit card information.
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.
I was a bit horrified to learn my 81-year-old aunt still pays for long-distance calls (from MCI no less -– who knew they were still around?). She may not be ready to let go of her current phone service, but there's no reason you should be paying for long distance. i can suggest three ways to make free long-distance calls.
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. While there are plenty of good cloud storage options that still cost money, others such as  Google (GOOGDrive or Microsoft (MSFTOneDrive are totally free. Amazon (AMZN) Prime also gives its members unlimited photo storage in the cloud.
Remember when GPS systems were the hot Christmas gift one year? You had to pay $100-plus for the unit and, in some cases, 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. 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.
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:
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