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5 Things You Shouldn't Have to Pay For

Farnoosh Torabi

What better way to save than to pay nothing at all? We often assume we need to pay for certain products and services when actually — if we just get a little creative — there's no real need to pay a penny.

Let's start with text messages. Any parent to a 14-year-old knows that texting can easily get out of hand and amount to hundreds of dollars, if not more, each year. With free smart phone applications you can text at no charge. Examples include TextFree Unlimited for iPhone users and textPlus for Android customers. If you have a Blackberry, switch to Blackberry Messenger to send free texts to other Blackberry users.

Next, you don't need to shell out any cash for books, e-Books or DVDs thanks to the local library. Billy Parrott, library manager at the New York Public Library in Battery Park City, New York, figures library card holders could save hundreds of dollars a month by taking advantage of their library's wide inventory of media.

Exercise also carries no costs. Fitness web sites, like FitOrbit and MyHomePersonalTrainer provide free workout routines and video exercises at no cost. Lululemon stores nationwide also hold free yoga classes each week.

Planning a trip? Your lodging can be free. For one, you can swap homes with other travelers through sites like Digsville and HomeExchange. You can also take a volunteer vacation, which sometimes includes free accommodations in exchange for your volunteering time. Examples in the U.S. include: The Pacific Crest Trail Association, The American Hiking Society and The Colorado Trail Foundation.

Finally, becoming a pet owner can be absolutely free when adopting from a local shelter. Of course you'll still need to pay for its tests and vaccinations, but otherwise the pet is yours.

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