Monday, November 14, 2011

If It'S free, It's for Me!

Who doesn't love free stuff? It's not very difficult to find tons of freebies out there. Looking in the right places and signing up for services can net you all kinds of great gifts.

E-books
If you have an e-reader, you have access to tons of great literature at no cost. Many local library systems are now incorporating e-books as part of their collection. You can download them straight to your e-reader, saving you a trip to the library, and since they are automatically turned in, you'll save on late fees as well. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you have access to the Amazon Prime lending library. Barnes & Noble has a similar service, called Lend Me. Additionally, many classics are available for the Kindle absolutely free, including works by Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Also check out Project Gutenberg and Daily Lit for even more freebies.

Flu shots
During the fall and winter months, it's important to protect your family and yourself from the flu. Check with your insurance company, as some will completely cover the cost of the flu shot. If not, you may still be in luck. CVS pharmacies are continuing their free flu shot program. Contact CVS for more details. If you don't have a CVS nearby, contact your local health department. Many state and county health departments offer free flu shots -- you just have to ask.

Tutorials
You can learn almost anything for free on the Internet. Some great sites for tutorials on software and other items include LifeHacker and MakeUseOf.com. You can take free classes on a number of subjects through Hewlett Packard. Subjects range from lessons in digital photography to managing a home office and much more. Many top notch universities, including Stanford and MIT, are now allowing students to take classes online for free, with access to recorded lectures, study materials, assignments and tests.

Credit scores
By law, you are allowed a free copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request your free reports. Don't go to other sites, as they want you to sign up for a membership before you get access to your report. Laws were recently changed, and now you can request a copy of your credit score if you have been denied credit for any reason. You can also get an estimate of your credit score, as well as tips on how to improve it, through sites like Credit Karma and Quizzle.

Software
Tons of freeware is out there for your use. Firefox is a free web browser with many of the same features as Internet Explorer. Open Office is a free alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite and is compatible with most systems. Circle Dock helps you manage your desktop applications in an attractive and user-friendly format.

Music
You can access free music without putting your system at risk. Some of the best free music streaming services include Pandora, AOL Radio, Slacker Radio and Spotify. You can customize your stations to hear what you want to hear and skip the stuff you don't like.

Jessica Bosari loves finding good free stuff and telling her readers all about them. Find more money-saving tips and ideas at Billeater.com.