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May 8, 2011

What the Internet Has Made Free

Since the internet, there are things that are now free that you used to pay for.  Some of these include items where a savings has made it free. An example is writing a letter that costs $0.44 to mail but sending an email is free as you have no postage.  So here are just a few things that used to cost but are now free online:
  1. Skype - you can videochat with anyone who also has a Skype account anytime, anywhere for free.  No more tracking message units, long distance phone calls, etc.  Yes there are other videochat sites.  I am using Skype since it is so well known.
  2. Newspapers-  yes more and more newspapers are moving to a paid service online.  That said, there are still many that you can access for free.  
  3. Directory assistance - at one time this was entirely free then for local calls a charge was added.  You can access sites like and to get phone numbers for free.
  4. Paying bills - most banks allow to to pay checks online for free.  No postage costs or paying for checks.  Plus you can set up automatic payments that save you time.  The checks are automatically written at a time interval you specify.
  5. News, weather, sports - no more calling a 900 number or other number for which you were charged.  This up to date information can be obtained on the internet.
  6. Dictionary and Thesaurus - this also saves on space.  You can access definitions and synonyns at sites like or
  7. Your personal phonebook - can be put on sites like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.  No need to buy a phone book.  Further, you do not need to worry about losing your phonebook and losing all contacts.  You can access it anywhere you have internet access.
  8. Trip planning - Get routes on google maps.  Purchase and print tickets and boarding passes. Flight status is online. You used to need to be a member of AAA to get their triptik online.  Now you can go to their site and download a triptik at no charge which you can print even if you are not a member of AAA. Further you can get quite a bit of travel information online that you used to have to pay for.
  9. Photo sharing - no longer need to pay for extra pictures for friends and relatives.  You can send pictures via email or photo sharing sites like or  
  10. Historic weather data from the Farmers Almanac
  11. Encyclopedia - and have made that encyclopedia collection your parents had just about obsolete and a lot less expensive.  Plus they free up space around the house for other things.
  12. is a great source of reference for which a lot you previously had to pay for. 
  13. Sales tax - although this is changing, depending on where you live you may save sales tax by ordering something online.
  14. Shipping & handling - see sales tax above.  Due to online price comparisons, companies may waive shipping charges on certain items or if an order is greater than a certain amount.
  15. Movie showtimes - the cost was either a newspaper or a phone call.  Now free online along with reviews.
  16. Accounting software - GnuCash is a free accounting software program for small business usage. QuickBooks has a basic program that is also free.
  17. Money management - 
  18. Ecards - rather than buying and mailing birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc you can now send someone an ecard.  There are still those that are free plus you also save postage.  I would not send a sympathy card as an ecard but this post is about things that are now free not how to do a card on the cheap.  
I am sure there are other things that the internet has made free that you at one time paid for.  Any additions to this list are welcomed and if I get enough will publish them in a future blog giving you credit.