As a smart shopper, you probably spend a lot of time searching for the best deals. However, some of those great finds aren’t really all that terrific. In fact, a lot of so-called “good deals” can actually be found for free.
However, freebies are not the only way to save money. In this story, we look at some free things, but also highlight lower-cost options you might be overlooking when purchasing items you use on an ongoing basis.
The following examples are among the things for which people commonly overpay.
1. Book downloads
Unless your tastes run to the esoteric, there is no excuse for paying to download e-books. You can probably download just about any best-seller your heart desires from your local library.
If you have an , you already have access to hundreds of free e-books through a feature called .
For plenty of other options, check out “11 Places to Find Free E-Books.”
In addition to e-books, your local library likely has at least a few shelves of DVDs and Blu-ray discs just waiting to be picked up for movie night. Your library might even offer you the ability to stream movies for free from home, as we explain in “Stop Paying for These 10 Things That Are Free With a Library Card.”
Again, if you have Amazon Prime, explore the options there, too. Prime members can watch many of the titles available through Prime Video for free. Those titles are listed on .
For plenty of other options, check out “16 Ways to Stream Movies and TV Shows for Free.”
3. Magazine subscriptions
How many times do you spend 15 minutes flipping through a magazine and then toss it into the recycling bin?
Sure, you might use a cooking or woodworking magazine again and again. But are you really going to look at celebrity wedding photos more than once? Get those kind of quick reads from the library or even online — see “3 Ways to Read Magazines Online for Free or Cheap.”
4. Bottled water
There is a secret behind bottled water: Although companies promote it as crisp, pure spring water, it’s often just water that comes out of the ground — much like the water that pours from your faucet.
Unless you live in an area with known contamination, there’s no guarantee the bottled water you pay for at the store is any better than the water coming out of your own tap.
If you’re concerned about the quality or taste of your tap water, buy a or . And buy a to chill and carry your own “free” water with you.
5. Brand-name medications
Brand-name drugs are big business, and pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of money trying to convince you to buy items with their name on the label.
Instead of jumping on the brand-name bandwagon, consider buying a generic instead.
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
“All generic drugs approved by FDA have the same high quality, strength, purity, and stability as brand-name drugs. In addition, FDA inspects facilities to make certain the generic manufacturing, packaging, and testing sites pass the same quality standards as those of brand-name drugs.”
Even better: You might be able to get certain generic medications for free — see “5 Grocery Store Chains That Offer Free Prescription Drugs.”