Inspired by Kiplinger, which recently updated its list of favorite free stuff, I’ve decided to compile a list of my own of where you can find a good deal on technology online. So, in no particular order:
Free 411 service: Kiplinger mentions 1-800-FREE-411. I personally prefer Goog-411 (1-800-GOOG-411) because it’s ad-free and it’ll text the number to your cell phone so you don’t have to memorize it. I also wrote about this in May (“Free and cheap 411 alternatives“) and offered 2-second reviews of Jingle Networks (1-800-Free411), Microsoft’s TellMe (1-800-555-TELL or 1-800-CALL-411, and AT&T 1-800-YELLOWPAGES (1-800-YELLOWPages).
Free shipping: Kiplinger only mentions a few sites, such as Amazon, which offers free shipping for orders over $25. (If you’re a frequent Amazon customer, you probably know about the $80 Amazon Prime, which includes free 2-day shipping all the time.) There are a ton of deals sites that track free shipping offers, among other things. But one site, FreeShippingOn.com, keeps this on one convenient place. It’s part of the Deal Locker family of sites, which I wrote about in May (“Deal Locker guarantees (some) coupon codes“).
Free legal advice: If you don’t know the first thing about getting a lawyer, Avvo.com is a good place to start. Plus you can submit a question and see if any of Avvo’s hundreds of active lawyers respond. The site also has reviews of lawyers. I interviewed the CEO in July (“Get legal questions answered for free by REAL lawyers“).
Free Wi-Fi: As I have in the past, Kiplinger’s mentions WiFiFreeSpot.com, which lists places nationwide with free Wi-Fi. I also like Panera Bread and Starbucks, the latter which offers 2 hours of free Wi-Fi daily to active users of its rewards card. Read more about it at “Free Wi-Fi at Starbucks — with restrictions.”
Free software: Kiplinger mentions OpenOffice.org, which is a great (and free) alternative to Microsoft Word. For something different every day, I try to visit GiveawayoftheDay.com to check out what software is up for grabs. These are full-versions, not limited trials. I’ve spotted DVD-rippers, spreadsheet creators and anti-virus products. The catch is that you have to download and install the software by midnight or else the free code needed during registration expires. I mentioned this site in June at “Free software every day…” along with other daily freebie sites offering discounted Mac software, such as MacZot.com, Softpedia.com and Mac Update Promo (mupromo.com).
Free online storage: Another crowded spot on the Web. For simple things, I just use my free Gmail account to store files, since I get a whopping 7 GBs! But for business use, my household uses Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), which isn’t free but super cheap because it only charges for what you use (15-cents per GB, plus transfer fees). More importantly, it’s reliable.
Free music: Tons of stuff available if you know where to find it. But sites I’ve downloaded from lately include Paste Magazine’s (don’t miss its 100 Free Tracks for Summer 2008), C/Net’s Music site (with 111,052 free MP3′s), DayTrotter.com (with 1,200+ free downloads), ArtistServer.com (with 8,222 songs) and PureVolume.com (intersperses free songs within albums, which are free to listen to if you’re a registered user). Also try NoiseTrade.com, Ruckus.com, Amazon, and iTunes (has a Free Single of the week). I’ve been meaning to write separately about this so stay tuned (and feel free to send me your favorites to include).
Free design tools:
- Fonts galore are available for free at 1001free fonts.com, but watch out for the annoying little search feature that takes you to not-so-free fonts.com site.
- Photo tweaking: While Photoshop Elements is a bargain at around $100 compared to the original’s $650 price tag, the free Photoshop Express is good enough for newbie designers. Like the original, you can tweak photos, add touches of color and resize photos.
- Free stock art: Sites like iStock charge just a few dollars for cool art and photos for web sites and beyond. But if you want it for free, there is SXC (stock.xchng) and EveryStockPhoto.com, a ‘search engine’ for free photos online.
Have a favorite of your own? Please share by commenting below!
Past Alt+Save posts: