6 On Your Side: Things that are free

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – As the years go on, the cost of most things keeps going up.

But that’s not the case for everything – there are some things that use to cost money, but are now free.

Credit Report

In the past, if you wanted to see a copy of your credit report, you needed to pay for it.

Now, thanks to changes in federal law, you’re entitled to one free report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies:

  • Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

Music

This one has come full circle. In the early days of the internet, you could listen to music for free, but generally illegally. Then, you had to pay for music through iTunes, Rhapsody or similar services.

Today, we’re back to free music options through services such as:

  • Spotify and Pandora
  • Amazon Prime – if you’re a member, you can also use Prime Music at no additional cost besides your annual membership fee.

GPS Navigation

At one time, you had to pay more than $100 for a GPS unit. In some cases, you had to shell out extra to update maps periodically.

You can still buy separate GPS devices, but if you have a smartphone, there’s really no reason to do so. There are plenty of free GPS-based map and navigation apps that work perfectly fine.

But under Tennessee’s new law, make sure you are NOT looking at your smart phone’s GPS while driving.

Digital Storage

Backing up your important documents to the “cloud” can be a smart way to avoid the heartbreak that comes from a fried hard drive and the loss of irreplaceable files.

Cloud storage is a convenient way to access information and photos from anywhere with an internet connection.

While there are plenty of good cloud storage options that cost money, there are numerous others that offer a certain amount of storage for free:

  • Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox
  • Amazon Prime, again, if you’re a member – you have unlimited photo storage through a feature called Amazon Photos.

Selling Your Stuff

Once upon a time, if you wanted to sell something, you had to fork over money to run a classified ad in the newspaper.

Now, there are plenty of free ways to sell your wares:

The online site Craigslist has perhaps the widest reach. But there are also free buy/sell groups on Facebook, there are free smartphone apps like LetGo.

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