Can't buy happiness, but some help is free

While I tell people how to change their spending habits, remember that money doesn't always mean happiness. Being physically and mentally happy can produce great rewards, so start this year by reinventing yourself for free.

■ Download a month-by-month guide at that will help make 2011 your most organized year yet.

■ The National Institutes of Health's Office of Research on Women's Health is offering a free book: A Primer for Women's Health: Learn About Your Body in 52 weeks.

■ Join SparkPeople now and get access to an online calorie counter, meal plans, a personalized fitness plan and online rewards. You also can download mobile applications.

■ Connect with other dieters and find expert advice at Starting in January, the group will participate in the 12-week EatingWell Diet Challenge. Track your progress for the chance to win prizes.

■ Follow free training programs for first-time runners and new marathoners. Track your progress and share your runs with friends or training groups.

■ Answer a few questions about your spending at, then see where you can save, including cell phone bills and credit card bills.

■ Research shows that philanthropic acts can improve mental health. Find out online what charity would best match your needs.

■ We know that the first few weeks of starting a habit are the hardest. For 21 days, will send you a daily reminder and ask you to report how you did yesterday. When you falter, it rolls the count back to zero.

■ Increase your chances of success in a lifestyle change by putting money on the line at If you don't succeed, they will send your hard-earned cash to your chosen friend or charity.

■ Search for census documents, and marriage and death certificates, for free. Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness has 4,000 volunteers willing to do the legwork for you. You just need to pay expenses, such as postage.


■ Sign up to be a Marker's Mark Ambassador and receive a free holiday gift and other freebies through the year.

■ Sign up at to receive samples and coupons in the mail.

■ Get exclusive offers from Dunkin Donuts, including a free medium beverage.

■ Get $20 in UP rewards at Rite-Aid when you buy $100 in qualifying merchandise through Jan. 22. Your purchases will be tracked with your wellness card.

■ Read a book on any of your electronic devices, including PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry or Android Phone for free from Amazon. Download for instant access to more than 1,000 classic books.

■ If you are a Coke Rewards member, you can snag 50 free 4-by-6 photos from Snapfish.

■ Spend $20 or more on select Hasbro games, send in a proof of purchase and receive a gift valued between $10 and $17.

■ "Like" shoe designer Steve Madden on his Facebook page and you will receive a free surprise on New Year's Day.