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9 Things You Should Never Pay For - And How To Get Them For Free

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There are some feelings so heartwarming that you just can't experience them anywhere else.

Like sitting outside on a nice summer day, holding hands with that special someone, or getting something for free.

But if we're being honest, that last one is the best of all.

Which is why I've spent time tracking down how to get these 9 things we all waste money on for nothing (or next to nothing).

1. Moving Supplies

This is a true necessity, because there's no way to avoid buying moving boxes.

If the movers arrive at your home and everything is still unpacked, you can expect a few broken dishes and a huge bill when the day is done.

But even buying discounted boxes from the moving company is a mistake.

Instead, visit your local big box store and ask them to save you a night's worth of boxes. They crush a huge volume of cardboard each day, so you can pick up a huge amount at once.

Grocery stores and the recycling room in your apartment building are also good places to find boxes.

And instead of buying packing peanuts or foam, use old towels, rags, and newspaper to protect your valuables.

2. Light Bulbs

Here's another product you can't go without, unless you want to sit in the dark.

But the next time a light bulb burns out in your home, don't spend a dime replacing it.

The trick to getting free light bulbs is simple, but involves buying new energy-efficient models. So if they don't work with your lamp, you're out of luck.

Just about every state is desperate to get homeowners to switch to these cost-saving lights, so they offer valuable incentives.

Check your state to learn how you can get discounted or free bulbs, plus savings on your utilities.

3. Magazines

If I could add up all of the money I've wasted on magazines in this year alone the price tag would probably make me shriek.

But I just can't resist picking up the latest issue, so I've had to learn how to save on every issue.

The best answer is almost always to get a subscription.

Single issues are sold on the newsstand at an unbelievable markup, while subscription copies usually sell for less than $1 an issue.

You can save even more by signing up for online magazine services, which bundle the most popular names together in one place.

If you want a truly free solution, ValueMags offers complete back issues of popular magazines for nothing.

And - don't forget - your local library has plenty of free magazines too!

4. Coffee Pods

Since making the switch to a new machine a few years ago, I've drank a lot more coffee, and probably purchased thousands of disposable pods.

Any way you slice it, there pods are way more expensive than ground coffee, but so convenient that we ignore the markup.

Besides, coffee grinds won't work in the new style machines anyway, right?

Wrong. These reusable K Cups fit in just about any Keurig model, but are filled with cheaper ground coffee.

Similar products are available for other brands, even premium ones like Nespresso.

Even if you like a fancy drink, the reusable pods, creamer, and spices it takes to make it yourself will pay for themselves in a matter of months.

5. Shipping Fees

I'm not a very tech savvy person, but I buy something online at least once a month, which shows just how common it's becoming.

And if you're like me, seeing the shipping fee pop up at checkout probably drives you crazy.

Most online stores will waive the fee if you buy enough to make the shipment worth their while.

So how can you save money while buying more? Add essentials to your order - like toilet paper, paper towels, coffee - that you would buy anyway.

Now the whole order is shipped right to your door, at no extra cost. You're a savvy shopper who also just saved a trip to the store.

This tip works for online clothes shopping too, just add something useful to your cart like gloves, children's clothes, or out-of-season clothing you'll use later in the year.

6. Gym Memberships

I'm not going to tell you to just head outside and start running instead of hitting the gym. Sometimes the A/C, TVs, and music playing over the stereo are the only thing that gets me through a workout.

But many people don't realize they can get reimbursed for their entire gym membership. In fact, you're probably already paying for it twice.

Plenty of health insurance providers offer free or discounted gym memberships, and if your gym is cheap they can cover the entire cost.

Some plans also offer goodies like massage therapy or chiropractor visits - so be sure to read yours carefully for special offers.

A handful of providers will even pay you to exercise, because it benefits them in the long run.

7. Books

Sure, you know the library has free books of all kinds, but when's the last time you used it?

And that's not the only way to get books, ebooks, and audiobooks at no cost.

Digital book services and apps of all sorts offer public domain books for free. That means there are hundreds of classic titles waiting to be discovered on your Kindle or Google Play account.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

There are all sorts of online resources for free ebooks, audiobooks, and even textbooks.

What I'm trying to tell you is that if you paid for the book you're reading right now, you wasted your money.

8. Extended Warranties

I used to work for a big box store, so I know firsthand that the warranties they offer on big ticket items are (almost always) a waste of money.

Put simply, these warranties are a product sold to make money, so they will never be a "good deal" for the customer unless they're already bundled with the product.

Which leads to another important point: these items usually have their own warranty, which customers don't realize.

I would point out these warranties (which are displayed on the product's packaging) before offering the store's extended warranty, and the customer almost always told me they had no idea about the included warranty.

Finally, it's worth noting that most customers automatically get a second warranty on big purchases through their credit card.

Most people don't realize this, but if you keep your original receipt your card company will usually cover damaged or broken items for a year, and their customer service is famously better than the store warranty's.

So just say no to the clerk when they try to sell you a warranty.

9. Just About Anything Secondhand

My brother is an even bigger cheapskate than I am, and recently introduced me to the magic of Curb Alerts.

Every day, people toss out perfectly good furniture, electronics, clothes, toys, and even kitchen supplies.

People who want to recycle their goods will put a "Curb Alert" on Craigslist, signaling anyone who wants it to pick it up.

Other services, like Freecycle, connect users to prevent perfectly good stuff from being thrown away.

One person's trash is another person's treasure, so never turn your nose up at a good deal!

Are you paying too much for any of these? Do you have your own tricks for getting free things?

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories.