It's pretty surprising to think that there are a few items that once had price tags but now can be enjoyed without spending a dime.
Almost everyone has used or currently uses some of these things, and we may not be aware that they used to require payment.
Let's go back in time and look at what used to be paid for but now can be enjoyed without charge. Let's take a look at these 13 items that are now free.
1. Reading News
Gone are the days when you had to buy a newspaper to catch up on the latest news. Now, you can easily access news articles from various sources online for free!
Many newspapers have websites where they publish their content, making it super convenient for you to stay informed without spending a cent. Plus, you'll be doing the environment a favor by going paperless!
2. Books, Magazines, etc…
Who needs to spend money on physical books and magazines when you can access countless titles for free online? Thanks to websites like Project Gutenberg and Google Books, thousands of classic books are available for free.
And remember your local library's digital collection, which often includes ebooks and digital magazines. With so many options, you'll always have reading material!
3. Music on the Internet
Remember when you had to buy CDs or pay for individual songs online? Those days are long gone! Now, you can stream music for free on platforms like Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube.
While some services offer paid subscriptions for ad-free listening, their free versions still provide access to a vast library of songs. So, go ahead and create your perfect playlist without breaking the bank!
4. Long-distance Phone Calls
Remember when calling someone far away used to cost a fortune? Thanks to apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Viber, you can now make long-distance calls for free!
As long as both parties have an internet connection, you can chat without worrying about hefty phone bills. Plus, most of these apps also offer video calling, making catching up with friends and family even more fun.
5. Public Wi-Fi Access
In the past, finding a Wi-Fi hotspot often meant paying for access. But today, public Wi-Fi is widely available in cafes, parks, and shopping malls – it's become so common that it's almost expected!
Just remember to be cautious when using public Wi-Fi, as it may not always be secure. It's still a great way to stay connected without spending any money!
6. Educational Courses and Tutorials
Education doesn't have to be expensive anymore. With websites like Khan Academy, Coursera, and YouTube, you can find free courses, tutorials, and lectures on various subjects.
The possibilities are endless, from learning a new language to mastering computer programming. Why not use these resources to expand your knowledge and skills without emptying your wallet?
7. Email Services
Can you imagine having to pay for every email you send? Email services like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook are now entirely free.
They provide ample storage, user-friendly interfaces, and helpful features like spam filters and calendar integration. With these free email services, staying in touch and managing your inbox has never been more accessible or more affordable.
8. Maps and GPS Navigation
Paper maps and expensive GPS devices are a thing of the past. Now, you can use your smartphone and free apps like Google Maps or Waze to navigate around town or plan a road trip.
These apps provide turn-by-turn directions, real-time traffic updates, and even public transportation information. So, go ahead and explore new places without worrying about getting lost or spending money on maps!
9. Photo Editing Software
You don't need to be a professional photographer to edit your photos like a pro – with free photo editing tools like GIMP, Canva, and Pixlr; you can easily enhance your images without spending a dime on expensive software.
From basic adjustments like cropping and resizing to advanced features like filters and layers, these free tools have you covered.
10. Video Conferencing Tools
Connecting with colleagues, friends, and family has become much more accessible and affordable, thanks to free video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.
These platforms allow you to host virtual meetings, webinars, or casual chats, all without any cost. So, enjoy seamless video calls without breaking the bank, whether for work or leisure!
11. Online Classifieds and Job Postings
Finding a job or buying and selling items used to involve scanning newspaper classifieds or paying for ad space. Now, Craigslist, Indeed, and Facebook Marketplace offer free online classifieds and job postings.
Whether you're looking for a new job, selling your old furniture, or searching for a great deal, these platforms make connecting with others and finding what you need easy and cost-free.
12. Office Productivity Software
Expensive office suites are no longer the only option for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Free alternatives like Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) provide powerful tools that rival paid software.
With features like real-time collaboration and cloud storage, you can work on projects with others and access your files from anywhere, all without spending a penny on pricey software – give them a try and see how much you can save!
13. Fitness and Workout Resources
Staying fit and healthy no longer requires an expensive gym membership or personal trainer. You can create a customized exercise routine that suits your needs with countless free workout videos on YouTube, fitness apps, and online resources.
From yoga and Pilates to strength training and cardio, these free resources allow you to stay in shape without breaking the bank.
Free is Good
Isn't it surprising that so many things that used to cost money are now available for free? From streaming music and video conferencing to online education and office productivity tools, it's incredible how much you can do without spending a single penny. So why not take advantage of these services and resources while free? After all, nothing beats saving money while getting the most out of life!
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I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.