There are many ways to save, including reusing tin foil, using your newspaper for wrapping gifts and cutting your dryer sheets in half. Everyone has something that they do to save money. There is nothing wrong with any of these methods, but here are 10 less extreme ways to get something for free.
1. Cable. When is the last time you watched something during its original time slot rather than on DVR? If you can't recall, maybe it is time to ditch your cable. You can find episodes of shows and movies for free on Hulu, YouTube and many channels' websites. And, if you have a gaming console (PS3, Xbox or Wii), you can view using Netflix, Hulu Plus or both (each subscription costs less than $10 a month). Check Antennaweb.org for channels you can access in your area.
2. Medicine. Leading antibiotics are free at the Meijer pharmacy. The program covers leading oral generic antibiotics with a special focus on the prescriptions most often filled for children. The following are free with your doctor's prescription, regardless of insurance or co-pay: Amoxicillin, Cephalexin, SMZ-TMP, Ciprofloxacin, Ampicillin, Penicillin VK. Visit the official website for the medicine you are taking to learn about safety and symptoms, plus they usually have ways to save on your prescription.
3. Glasses. CoastalContacts.com offers one pair of prescription glasses for free; just pay for shipping. Enter the information from your eye doctor on the website and pick out a pair of glasses. If you have any problems, a customer service representative will help you through the process.
4. Magazines. I get more than 30 magazines for no charge. Check out websites Valuemags.com, Rewardsgold.com (receive a $10 reward instantly by signing up) and Tradepub.com. None of these magazine sites asks you to enter your credit card and they will send you a renewal form, which you do not have to participate in.
5. Books. Your local public library is a great asset. You not only can take out books but most libraries have DVDs, CDs, magazines, and more. Check out the library's Facebook page to find opportunities to download audiobooks and ebooks for free.
They also have digital magazines, music, television shows and movies to download from their collections. If your library doesn't have what you are looking for, try websites designed for swapping, like Paperbackswap.com, Bookmooch.com and Bookcrossing.com.
For additional ebooks check Gutenberg.org, which has more than 38,000 titles to download for free.
6. Credit reports. No matter what the ad says, you don't need to pay a dime to see your credit report. In fact, each of the three credit-reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — will provide you with one free copy every year. Request it at Annualcreditreport.com. If you're working to improve your credit score and want to keep tabs on your numbers, check out these websites, Creditkarma.com, and Quizzle.com.
7. Photo prints. Now is the time to sign up for photo printing programs to get free stuff.
Create a wellness account at RiteAid and 50 free prints will be loaded to your cart at Mywayphotos.riteaid.com.
Take all of your photos to create a beautiful photo book for free at Mypublisher.com when you create an account. They also have a buy one get one free photo book promotion going on until Nov. 18 when you enter code GIFTBOGO at checkout.
Get 10 free holiday cards or a free set of address labels from Shutterfly through Nov. 22. Just select five or more friends to receive a free magnet or mouse pad from Shutterfly, and afterward you'll instantly receive a unique code valid for 10 free cards or free address labels good until Nov. 24. You do need to pay shipping and handling. Shutterfly.curebit.com.
Become a Scotts Shared Value member and get 20 free 5x7 collage prints compliments of Snapfish. ($17+ value just pay shipping) Scottbrand.com/offer/snapfish. Sign up for Snapfish to score a total of 150 free 4x6 prints added to your account. You will have until the end of the year to use your print credits. Snapfish.com
8. Classes. Knowledge is power and is available to us in many forms for free. If you want to learn but don't need any college credits, MIT and Stanford are offering free online classes. Check out Coursea.org, a website that offers more than 300 classes from 62 schools. If you don't want to wait for a course to start, Carnegie Mellon has free self-paced courses you can try anytime at Oli.cmu.edu, and so does the nonprofit Saylor.org.
Home Depot offers free do-it-yourself workshops at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays. Learn how to tile, fix a sink, frame a mirror plus lots more. Check out Workshops.homedepot.com.
Visit Michaels Arts and Crafts store webpage to see what free in-store events are going on for the next few months. Y
our local Williams and Sonoma offers cooking technique classes. Learn about different cooking methods, tastes and cuisines. An added bonus is you get to sample the featured dish plus take home the printed recipes. Call your local store for time and dates of classes.
On the last Tuesday of the month Whole Foods offers a value tour to help you learn how to make healthier choices without breaking the bank. Take a tour around the store plus sample items from the shelves and complimentary plates prepared by their team member chefs. One attendee will walk away with a $50 Whole Foods gift card. Wholefoodsmarket.com/events
9. Kids activities and free food. Joseph Beth Booksellers offers kids' storytimes toddler time at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday; Baby and Me at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday and 11 a.m. on Thursdays and Kids Corner at 11 a.m. Saturdays.
Join Toys R Us from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 23 to help your child build their wish list. Enjoy free activities and giveaways plus take part in their holiday raffle. Locate more information at Toysrus.com plus continually check for free in-store events.
Register your kids for a free Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic. Bring your child in to Lowe's at 10 a.m. every other Saturday to build a wooden project they can take home with them. Lowesbuildandgrow.com
Take the kids out for a special night on Tuesdays at GattiTown for all-you-can-eat fresh pizza, pasta, salad and drinks buffet plus magician Mark Comley performing tableside magic. Free kids buffet with purchase of an adult buffet.
10. Computer software. When it comes to documents, spreadsheets and presentations, Microsoft Office isn't the only game in town. OpenOffice is a suite of programs that features just about all the options you get with Microsoft Office. Need a spreadsheet? Use Calc instead of Excel. The program Writer creates documents like those in Word, and Impress works similarly to PowerPoint. There's no need to worry about compatibility either, simply save your documents in Microsoft format so your files will be readable anywhere. Go to Openoffice.org and download OpenOffice.org3 to start using the program.
Other ways to save
■ Get free moving boxes from UHaul's Customer Connect matching you with people giving away used moving boxes. Search on UHaul.com for "boxes" or location.
■ Get a free Elf Yourself Calendar at Office Max, Just upload a picture, click "let's dance," then click the "free calendar" button. You will receive a code that's good in-store for your free calendar. Elfyourself.com
■ Free sample of Seattle Coffee for everyone who has to work on Black Friday. Like them on Facebook.com
■ The Department of Homeland Security is offering a free flood preparation and safety guide. The guide details steps to take before and during a flood in your community, including how to protect your possessions, prepare an emergency kit, and stay safe. http://1.usa.gov/U05Sqz
■ Ayn Rand's novels contain many elements that appeal strongly to young readers. With the help of donors, the Ayn Rand Institute is providing free copies of Ayn Rand's novels, along with teacher's guides and lesson plans to high schools. http://bit.ly/aNKitl
■ Disney Store is having a buy one plush get one for $1. Disneystore.com
Deborah Morris' column, The Fru-Gal, can help you save money. Feel free to share tips on The Fru-Gal blog at Kentucky.com/living and visit her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.