Exploring the internet can make you feel like Maria von Trapp from “The Sound of Music.” She ran through the emerald-green Alps, singing about all her favorite things, like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Internet advertisers are master manipulators, and they want you to feel just as excited and wonderous as Maria when you browse the web.
They want you to feel dazzled when you look at targeted ads. These emotions inspire you to whip out your credit card and buy the cool tech gadgets and services lighting up your screen. Tap or click here for a few ways to avoid personalized ads on social media.
Here’s a wake-up call: Almost every expensive thing you see online comes with an affordable alternative that works just as well. You just need to know where to look or find a resource like this guide that researches you. Here are 15 ways to save money online, from free internet to free concert tickets.
1. You don’t have to pay to send email newsletters
If you’re into online marketing, you know how influential email marketing campaigns can be. Research from the Data and Marketing Association suggests this technique has a higher return on investment than other digital marketing channels. You may think to yourself, “That’s all fine and dandy, but email marketing is only for people with deep pockets.”
Good news: You don’t have to cough up big bucks to start your own email newsletter. Mailchimp offers a free plan for email marketers — and it works for up to 2,000 contacts. You can send 10,000 monthly emails.
You may wonder what Mailchimp gets out of this. Customers have to pay a 2% transaction fee per order when you make a sale. In other words, you only pay when you succeed; you don’t have to worry about spending an arm and a leg when your marketing campaign is still in its infancy.
2. Create and send surveys cost-free
This is another excellent money-saving hack for anyone who wants to reach out to customers. A way to get an idea of how your audience thinks is to send out surveys. It’s an easy way to connect with the people and figure out if you’re giving them what they want.
Google Surveys is super easy to use. You can:
- Separate submissions by each responder
- Easily share the surveys with others
- View the data on a spreadsheet
- See all the answers to one single question or prompt at a time
- Limit access so only your audience can respond
There’s a lot more you can do; these are just a few examples. You can even send users a copy of their responses.
3. Take free coding classes
Want to diversify your skillset? You don’t have to start taking out substantial student loans. Learn to code for free at freeCodeCamp.
You can watch over 8,000 tutorials. According to the website, these free classes helped over 40,000 graduates get jobs at tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Here are a few free courses you can take:
- Responsive web design certification
- Front end development libraries certificiaton
- Data visualization certification
- Back end development and APIs certification
- Scientific computing with Python certification
- Coding interview preparation
Those were just the ones you can find on the first page. With such an extensive library of free courses, you can find almost anything on this site.
WANT EVEN MORE FREE CLASSES? Tap or click here to take online classes at prestigious universities for free
4. Hoot, hoot! Duolingo helps you learn new languages
If you haven’t seen all the internet memes about Duolingo’s iconic owl, you’re missing out. It’s the most popular language-learning app you’ll find, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, visually engaging and surprisingly easy.
Daily practice can boost your listening and reading proficiency in your language of choice. You don’t even have to sink that much time into Duolingo. According to its website, five minutes a day can make a world of difference.
Duolingo offers 37 languages, including Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Latin, Korean, Scottish Gaelic, Ukrainian, Italian and Chinese. It even lets you learn Esperanto, an artificial language designed to connect the world.
Have trouble staying committed? Duolingo offers daily reminders that hold you accountable each day. Keep it up, and you’ll be a polyglot in no time!
5. You can even get career certifications
Don’t let your resume stagnate. Infuse some freshness into your professional life by signing up for certifications. You’ve probably seen super expensive classes offering just this — but you don’t have to pay a penny to improve your skillset.
Hubspot is one great place to start. It has many helpful skills that can make you look much more impressive to employers. Check it out:
You can also check out Udemy to learn all about web design. Here are some courses to check out:
- Java Tutorial for Complete Beginners
- Microsoft Excel – Excel from Beginner to Advanced
- Introduction To Python Programming
- Become an Android Developer from Scratch
- Stock Market Investing for Beginners
- SEO Training Course by Moz
Oh, and if you want even more cool resources, we’ve got you covered. Google offers courses that can get you professional accreditation.
Right now, there are six Google Ads certifications you can sign up for:
- Google Ads Video
- Google Ads Search
- Google Ads Display
- Shopping Ads
- Google Ads Measurement
- Google Ads Apps
Ready to get started? Tap or click here to check out Google Ads certifications.
Maybe that’s not enough for you. Perhaps you’re craving knowledge more than a weary traveler lost in the golden sands of the Sahara. Here’s one more resource to check out. Check out this list of free certifications from Indeed.
6. Shipping materials
Here’s some good news for small business owners who work from home. Actually, this is helpful for anyone who wants to stop spending so much money on their mail. Thanks to the USPS, there are many free envelopes and boxes you can pick up online.
For instance, you can get a pack of 50 Priority Mail Express packages for no money whatsoever. You can get medium boxes, shoe boxes and a lot more. It’s a pretty cool resource for anyone who has to do a lot of shipping!
7. Jam out at your favorite concerts
You’re more than just a pretty face. You also have a butt that can fill seats. Become a SeatStir member to see shows and events near you for free.
Here’s how it works. Venues don’t want empty seats because they can throw off the vibe. That’s why companies will hire seat fillers to see various shows for no cost.
There’s just one catch: You have to pay to become a member. That’s a drag, but think of all the free shows you’ll see in the long run!
Here are the prices:
- Annual Plus-One plan: $99.99/year
- Monthly Friends & Family: $16/mo
- Annual Friends & Family Plan: $170/year
- Plus-One: $9.50/mo
Once you set up an account, you can browse through available events. There’s a lot of variety, like sporting events, theater shows and parties. Just reserve a ticket, print it out, head to the venue with some ID and you’re in!
8. Snap a passport photo
You don’t have to pay to get this essential image. Just head to ePassportPhoto.com and follow a few steps to take the perfect picture. It’s pretty easy, and the site tells you exactly what to do.
9. Read magazines
Often, this perk comes along with other memberships. For instance, if you have Amazon Prime, you can get free access to a rotating library of popular magazines.
Check them out here. The Prime Reading perk is a great way to save money you’d otherwise spend on expensive monthly subscriptions. You can try any title for free … for 30 days, that is. This covers Wired, Popular Science, Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home and more.
10. Run a credit report
You need to check your financial hygiene by running a credit report now and then. You can do this for free.
Taking this step helps you sniff out identity thieves in the middle of their trickery. Tap or click here for a few other ways to check your credit for free.
11. Free resources for the artists in your life
Know someone who can spin a mean cardigan? If you or someone you know loves knitting, check out FreeNeedle. It’s a free website with step-by-step tutorials, crochet patterns, helpful articles and more.
That’s not all. We also found a creative wonderland through instructables.com. This website is perfect for anyone who wants to take on a project. Here are a few tasks you can accomplish through guides on the site:
- Make a 3D printed lamp
- Craft a college loft bed
- Make classic wood tiles with papers
- Learn astrophotography
- Cook bacon in the oven
- Build a spaceship-shaped chicken coop
- Design a custom fighting game controller
Yeah, we’re not kidding. Check out some of these projects:
Suffice it to say there’s something for everyone on instructables.com. You name it. You’ll find a project that tells you how to do it!
12. File your taxes for free
It’s not easy to file your taxes — and that’s by design. Corporate lobbyists pour millions of dollars into making taxes as difficult to understand as possible, according to Politico. The outlet says the average American taxpayer spends eight hours and $110 filing their personal income tax each year.
This might make you want to seethe and shake your fists at the politicians. That might soothe your emotions — but it won’t help you in a tangible way.
To make tax season less miserable, check out IRS Free File. This safe and easy method is a cost-free way to file your federal return.
13. You can even get free broadband
Internet access is essential to modern American life, as FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says. Luckily, the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program can give you discounts for up to $50 a month for broadband service. You can even get a one-time discount on phones or tablets.
Of course, this only works if you’re eligible. To qualify, you must meet one of five criteria, one of them being an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If you want to see the other four ways you can get free broadband, check them out below.
- Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year.
- Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since Feb. 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
- Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
14. Read for free
The book prices at Barnes & Noble can make your jaw drop. It seems like the cheapest book you’ll find is at least $15.99. Sure, you can head to a library to read for free — or you can get books in the mail thanks to Paperback Swap.
This site is like a buy-nothing group in that you give away stuff in return for free stuff. It’s a way to save money, reduce waste and build a community of book readers across the country. Here’s how it works.
There are all sorts of books there, from classics like “Of Mice and Men” or “As I Lay Dying” all the way to graphic novels or medical books. Oh, and the filtering system is extremely specific. You don’t have to worry about wasting time scrolling.
You can pick precisely what you want from a ton of specialized categories. For example, here’s how I honed in on American history books:
Also, check out BookMooch. It works a lot like Paperback Swap in that you give books away and get books you want. We recommend signing up for both. That way, you maximize your chance of finding your favorite next novel. After all, a wide net catches the most fish!
15. Who doesn’t love free samples?
If you’ve never browsed through freesamples.org, bookmark it now. You can sign up for all sorts of freebies, like:
- Pet foods
- Baby toys
- Beauty products
- Health products and more
Oh, and there are a ton of coupons, too. Just be warned that this site demands you fill out long surveys to get this free stuff. Of course, you have to input your name, birthday and address to get the goodies.
Our verdict: If you want free stuff, it’s worth a shot. Just be aware that you’re handing over a lot of sensitive personal information — and that can put you at risk of identity theft. Tap or click here for five warning signs you’re being targeted by an identity thief.