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As an adult, we discover we now have to pay for everything we want. This is one part of “adulting” we don’t enjoy. But did you know there are things you don’t need to spend money on?
Here are more than 15 things you should never pay for:
Yep, you can get a lot of free versions of popular computer software. Some may not have all the “features” of the paid programs, but many of the free versions I use, I don’t even miss those features.
Instead of chucking out $100 for a home version of Microsoft Office, go download Apache OpenOffice. They are the same type of products, almost have the same functions and the best part is that it’s free. Another alternate version is Google Docs, all online, saved online and can be easily sent to anyone.
As a replacement for a $35 Starter version of Quickens, go and use Mint.com. They have both an online and App version which is great for tracking your spending and checking your upcoming bills on the spot before purchasing something.
There’s always an alternative to many software programs that can be used for free.
2. Bank Fees
Some banks will charge you ATM fees, monthly maintenance fees and overdraft fees. You don’t need to get stuck paying for these at all.
Look for Free Checking or Free Savings accounts to avoid maintenance fees, find a bank that has more ATMs available and use those to avoid the ATM fees and simply avoid over-drafting on your accounts.
There are even some banks that will “pay you” to open a new account too.
Another alternative to High Bank fees is to use the local Credit Union, they’re smaller, can offer better interest rates and lower fees (if any). Read about more ways to save at banks and on your credit card for more savings.
3. Wi-Fi away from Home
Many cell phone companies charge for hotspot access. One popular cellular company charges $20 a month – plus extra for their GB data plans.
But many public places offer free Wi-Fi – Walmart, Panera Bread, Home Depot, fast food places, and many, many more. You don’t even need to go inside sometimes.
I’ve gotten free Wi-Fi just from the parking lot on my iPad to check for directions, texting and surfing social media while sitting in our truck waiting for my husband to run errands.
4. Cell Phone Contracts
I don’t even own a cell phone, shocking I know! Instead, I use a free texting App on my iPad. Sure, I need to be connected to Wi-Fi to be able to access the service, but like I mentioned earlier, many places offer this for free.
You’ve seen the commercials – “4 lines for $40 each, unlimited data, etc.” and find out you’re locked into the contract for 2 years. That’s $160 a month x 24 month = $3,840! Don’t get stuck in that!
My husband and kids don’t have cellular contracts. They use TracFones instead. You just pay as you go. My son, who’s 18 and at University, only pays $15 a month and gets 200 talk minutes, 500 texts and 500 MB data a month for his Smartphone. There are add-ons available too, but this is so much better than $40 a month for one line.
5. Shipping Fees
Many places online and in-store will offer free shipping once a certain dollar amount is reached. A way to reach this dollar amount if you don’t purchase much is to “share” an order with someone else (you both order things and save to one “cart” to reach that money goal, or you can bulk up on items this way too.
Alternatively on not paying for shipping is to order online and have it shipped to your nearest store.
6. Your Credit Report and Score
You can get these free from Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. You’re allowed one free report a year from each of these sites. So, spread them out to check throughout the year.
Checking on your Credit Report is important to do at least once a year as your score affects so much of your life such as being able to buy a home, get a loan, and other financial needs. You’ll also want to check for any fraudulent purchases and take care of those.
7. Credit Repair
Along with your Credit Report, you should never pay for credit repair if there are mistakes found in your report.
It may take a bit of work but is doable. If there is a mistake found in your report, you’ll need to collect the paperwork confirming the mistake and include it with a letter to the credit reporting agency. These agencies are required to investigate complaints within thirty days.
Did you know many networks offer a free streaming of their popular shows on their website? The show is usually available 1 or 2 days after the original air date.
A few cable shows (like CW) is offered free on Roku and other streaming services. Other networks are available for much less than a cable service package.
For example, SlingTV’s smallest package is only $20 a month for over 25 channels. Amazon Prime also offers Network channels (such as CBS) for $5.99 a month as well, these are much better than the $200+ packages with popular cable services.
9. Extended Warranties
These are unnecessary to buy in the first place. Most credit cards offer an extra year warranty coverage if you call them, provide the original receipt and the original warranty.
You could also check your home insurance and check if that large item purchase is actually covered by your insurance company.
In today’s society, many people don’t even wait for something to break before they’ve gone on to buy the newest and latest version. If it’s an electronic item, you can turn it into cash with Amazon’s Trade-In program instead.
10. Credit Card Fees
The average annual fee charged on credit cards is $58! Instead opt for a card that has 0% annual fee – such as Capital One, Citi, or Amazon. You already know that some of these even have a cash-back option, or a rewards program, which is a nice bonus.
Just remember to check all the factors before deciding on a card.
11. Tax Preparation
Many places charge you to fill out your taxes for you. Even some on-line programs that you fill out yourself charges a fee to send it in for you.
Use a free service like TurboTax online or TaxACT online to file for free.
12. DVD Rentals
Instead of spending about $2 for a Redbox DVD rental – look for a code and get DVDs rented for free. Here’s how it works:
- First, find a local Redbox kiosk.
- Enter the coupon code from the main screen or just before you checkout.
- After you’ve entered the code, you’ll get a free one-day rental.
To get you started, here are a few codes:
- Outside of Walgreen’s – DVDATWAG
- Text the word FREEBIE to 727272
- Outside HEB stores – REDBOXHEB
- Outside of MacDonald’s locations – DVDATMAC
- Outside of Kroger’s – DVDKROG
You can also find codes on many coupon sites and Apps such as RetailMeNot, using the Redbox App, or a simple online search for them too.
Why pay for Sirius radio (at least $10/month) or other paid streaming radio services when you can get it free from Pandora or Spotify?
You can even get paid to listen to music with Music XRay, so free music and money.
Another avenue for free music is getting CDs at the local library.
Why pay for a Newspaper subscription when all you have to do is get your news from a variety of news sources online as well as from social media.
You’ll pretty much know what’s the latest story on Trump before your newspaper can print it.
15. College Courses
Why pay the average tuition costs of $37,000 (in-state public college) for a Bachelor’s Degree when many places offer a Degree online for free (or much cheaper).
Another way to get free education instead of college courses are internships (both paid and unpaid), you’ll come away from this with work experience and no student debts.
Why pay several hundred dollars for that perfect breeder pet? Or even a few hundred dollars at the Humane Society (charges range from $25 – $150 for cats and $70 – $500 for dogs).
Instead, you can look on your local buy, sell, and trade site for people giving away pets for free. There are plenty of local Facebook pages for free Pets and Pet supplies as well.
You can also do away with expensive veterinary bills for spays and neuters – which can cost about $200 and their prices for yearly shots there are about $20 and up.
Instead look at your local animal shelter or rescue center for discount services, especially if you qualify as low-income).
17. Children’s Life Insurance
Don’t be fooled by Insurance companies in getting Life Insurance for your children or grandchildren. We’ve all seen those Gerber Life commercials and yes it looks like a lot of money, but the catch is that they’re Whole Life insurance – a big no-no.
You’d be lucky to even get back what you’ve put in as there are service fees on top of service fees there.
Now, I don’t mean to be cruel here, but addressing the simple fact – we actually save money on daily living expenses after a child’s passing. Unless the child is the sole breadwinner in the home (shame on you if they are), there is no need for financial compensation.
18. Insurance Extras
Just as insurance companies will try and milk you for child insurance, they might have hidden extra fees in your home and car insurance.
Extras such as:
- Accident Forgiveness – Have an accident but your premiums won’t go up – sure but pay extra monthly for this service anyway, so who’s winning here?
- Towing and Roadside – Cheaper to use AAA and also some Credit Card rewards offer this too.
- Identity Fraud Add-on in your home insurance – seriously most Credit cards offer this for free.
Go through your policies and see if there are extras you do not need coverage for as well as adjusting for life events. If you paid off your car loan and the car is pretty old, you won’t need collateral coverage any longer.
Check to see if there are discounts for safe driving after a number of years, age discounts, and more.
There are much more you never need to pay for if you just look around you, think frugally and have fun too. Grab extra napkins and condiments at the restaurants while eating out, take all the hotel shampoos, soaps and extras while on that business trip, and so on.
Think about it this way – the things we never need to pay for, the money can go towards what you really want instead! Doesn’t that sound much better?