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The best things in life are free. It’s literally my life’s motto, which sounds boring, but I’ll just wait while you try and name a more satisfying feeling. But what if you used free things as part of your savings plan? Because there’s actually a lot of stuff you can keep enjoying without spending any more money on them, from things you actually need, to the luxuries you want.

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1. Books

I grew up in a family of avid readers, so I understand deeply the immense pleasure of curling up with a good book. A real book. But the habit can get expensive, not to mention how much they can end up cluttering your home. Even electronic books can rack up a pretty penny.

You know what’s free? Libraries and book exchanges. Remember those? They’ve been forgotten of late, but they’re such amazing resources. Whether you need books for study reasons or entertainment reasons, they have you covered. At about $20 per book, imagine if you stopped buying and started borrowing or swapping.

2. Free Courses

Looking to expand your knowledge base, either for work or for good old self-improvement? Sometimes all you need is a short course to get a leg up and there are plenty around for free, particularly online.

Coursera has hundreds of uni-level courses you can take for free. They are in America so they won’t be officially recognised here, but they can teach you anything from the global financial crisis, to HTML coding, to the one I took about poetry purely because I’m a nerd who missed studying literature. Online Study Australia is a similar Aussie version with a range of courses to improve your Excel skills to your Project Management.

3. Clothing & Furniture

Thanks to the World Wide Web, you can have access to all sorts of groups and websites with people either giving their clothes and furniture away for free or who are totally up for a swap. Facebook is perfect for this, particularly if you’re an enthusiast of one brand in particular. A lot of well-known brands have a buy/ swap/ sell group just for them. Otherwise, your standard Gumtree and eBay websites can hold gems.

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4. Software

If you’re not making full use of the Google Suite yet, you’re crazy, IMO. They have comparable programs for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, etc etc. I find this particularly helpful with work stuff because you can add others to view and edit. Open Office is a good downloadable, offline alternative. Both totally free. If you need to edit your photos, GIMP and BeFunky are great for your basics and again, free.

5. Tunes

I know most people are probably well ahead of me on this one, but I had such a thing for actually buying my music. Then I added up how much I was spending on a song here and an album there and it was a decent amount. So now I’ve switched over to using streaming services more regularly. I’m just using the free version, rather than the premium subscriptions, but tbh even the subscription so I could play one song, in particular, would still save me money.

6. Long Distance Calls

We all know to make a call or video call over internet applications like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger now right? We’re not still paying long distance fees? Ok good, just checking.

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7. Beauty Samples

Need travel size beauty products? Ask for sample size. Please make it stuff you’re actually genuinely interested in trying so I don’t feel so bad about encouraging this. But seriously, sometimes you need to save.

8. Volunteer

Has a certain festival or event caught your eye? Some of the larger ones may be harder to get involved in, but I’ve gotten into music and culture festivals for free all around the world for donating a bit of time. I never felt like the work was particularly hard, or took away from my time to enjoy the event. Usually, you’ll work a few shifts and be free to roam the festival at your leisure the rest of the time.

9. Fitness Classes

You’ve got to love YouTube when it comes to free workout videos. Literally, any type of workout you could want, from ones that require no equipment to one that you can do in your home gym (you lucky duck). Gym memberships can be insanely pricey, but your fitness shouldn’t have to suffer so your wallet doesn’t.

Image: Real Housewives Of Atlanta