*By Barbara Pronin
There are two ways to get richer, financial analysts tell us: earn more money or spend less. The first part isn’t always possible, but spending less is relatively easy – especially when it’s possible to get for free some of the goods and services we have become accustomed to paying for.
Money Talk consumer advocate Stacy Johnson offers seven good ideas for doing just that:
Free rides – If you have a good driving record, and can travel on a fairly flexible schedule, websites like autodriveaway.com can use your help moving cars from one state to another. There’s no pay, but you won’t pay for transportation to get you where you want to go.
Free lodging – Why pay for a hotel when websites like CouchSurfing.org can help you find a free bed with sponsoring families worldwide? Adventurous seniors can exchange home stays or hosting gigs with peers all over the world via sites such as seniorhomeexchange.com.
Free food for kids – MyKidsEatFree.com offers a roadmap of where you can save on kids’ meals – just type in a state and city. You’ll pay but your kids will not at more than 5,000 restaurants across the country.
Free audio books – You can download free audio books from the nonprofit LibriVox.org, which has volunteers recording classics in the public domain – including many classics. You can also volunteer to help by reading. LibriVox will provide you with free recording software.
Free samples – Go to Volition.com, TheFreeSite.com and freechannel.net. for free samples of soap, shampoo, and a hundred other products. You might even find things like free circus tickets or free advance movie screenings.
Free checking – If you are still paying a monthly fee to your bank for checking privileges, it may be time to look for a credit union, or a local or online bank that offers free checking. There are plenty of them out there.
Free ATM access – Don’t pay a “convenience fee” for using an ATM that’s not in your bank’s network. Use an app like ATM Hunter to find a branch ATM. If you can’t find one near you for a free cash withdrawal, plenty of stores will give you cash back with no fee when you make a purchase.