free stuff, free thingsDon’t pay for things that should be free!  

One of the easiest ways to cut down on spending is to stop paying for things you can get for free. Whoever said nothing in life is free was wrong. Below are five things you should never have to open your wallet to get.

  1. A Checking Account
    At banks in the United States, the average amount of money you need to have in a checking account to avoid paying monthly fees is $723. If you don’t have at least that much sitting in your account, you could pay an average monthly fee of $5.48 just to maintain your account.

    Paying money to have a checking account for your money is ridiculous. Plenty of banks offer free checking these days, and so do many credit unions. Online-only banks also often offer better terms for customers because they lack the overhead that brick-and-mortar branches have.

    If you are paying a monthly fee but don’t want to leave your bank, threaten to go elsewhere to see if the fees can be eliminated or reduced.

  2. Cash
    Paying to have your money in a checking account may be ridiculous, but paying to take it out is downright insane. Each time you go to an ATM that is not in your bank’s network, you likely pay a “convenience fee.” Stop paying to get your own hard-earned money by downloading the ATM Hunter app for Android and iPhones. Use it to easily find the nearest ATM of your branch. If you can’t find one nearby, simply make a small purchase with your debit card at a store and get cash back without paying a fee.
  3. Telephone Calls
    If your phone bill is skyrocketing thanks to an overseas loved one, download Skype for free so you can talk to each other without paying a cent. You can also cut your cell phone bill by using a service like Google Voice.
  4. Credit Reports and Scores
    Never pay for a copy of your credit report. Instead, take a look for free at your major credit reports once each year at AnnualCreditReport.com. You can check your credit score at many websites, but most don’t reveal your FICO score, which is the most widely used. If you want to know your score without paying, enroll in a FICO product that comes with a free score, then just cancel your subscription before the cancellation period ends.
  5. Software
    Use open-source programs to create Word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, graphics, databases and more. Most open-source programs are fully compatible with the expensive name-brand versions. You won’t notice any difference when using them, but your wallet will!