Frugal mom Jennifer Jolly shows
us how to save more than $21,000 a year in freebies!
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1) FREE DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE
Average yearly savings: $1,000
I was pretty mortified when I realized I was spending $30-$50 a month on 411
calls -- a service you can totally get for free!
By calling 1-800-FREE411, you get free directory assistance service for any
business, residential, government or toll-free listing in the United States.
How it works: After navigating the voice prompts, you listen to a short advertisement
(about 10 seconds long) and then you have the option to connect to the original
business you requested, or to the sponsor.
A family of four can save up to $80-$100 a month, or about a $1,000 a year.
American's spend $6 to $7 billion on directory assistance in 2007, which is
more than the U.S. government spent on cancer resea! rch the same year.
The catch: It's all automated
2) FREE LEGAL ADVICE
Average yearly savings: $5,000
Consulting a real, live attorney usually costs about $400 an hour.
At avvo.com <http://www.avvo.com/> , you can ask any legal question
-- even anonymously -- and get a personalized answer.
Instead of just picking an attorney out of the yellow pages, avvo.com <http://www.avvo.com/> helps
you shop for the best lawyer by providing you with ratings for lawyers and sorting
them by speciality -- kind of a YELP for lawyers. It's a a great place to find
free legal advice by "test driving" lawyers without having to hire
This is so relevant right now. Most people have financial questions, maybe
some tax or property related questions. You might find a Web site that speaks
to the generalities of the issues, but this is a connection to a real and credible
You do need to register and sign-in for the site, which takes about five seconds
and you DO NOT have to put in any personal information or credit card numbers.
3) FREE ENTERTAINMENT THROUGHOUT THE BAY AREA
Average yearly savings: $2,400
The deYoung Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is free the
first Tuesday of every month.
The Exploratorium and The Bay Area Discover Museum are free the first Wednesday
of every month.
There are also museums that are free everyday and a lot of other activities
like free guided walks throughout San Francisco and Golden Gate Park that you'll
also find at that site... and guess what else is free?
Being the studio audience of right here at View From the Bay -- come meet
Spencer and Janelle -- see how a live television show happens. Click here to
request tickets <http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/feature?section=view_from_the_bay&id=6337461> .
A family of four easily spends $100 just going to the movies -- this can save
you $2400 or more a year just on fun stuff to do together!
4) FREE BIRTHDAY TREATS
Average yearly savings: 2,000
I did a segment recently on how out of control children's birthday parties
have become. We're spending anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 to throw our kids
parties these days. It's our version of keeping up with the Joneses and equivalent
to a small wedding.
But there's a Web site, freebirthdaytreats.com <http://www.freebirthdaytreats.com/> ,
that gives you a database full of freebies that companies offer on a birthday
for both kids and adults.
A free day of skiing at Big Bear Mountain Resort
My favorite: spa treatments!
You have to do your homework and live in an area to take advantage of these deals
- but the average family can save a few thousand dollars a year just shopping
this site before they break on bank on birthdays!
5) FREE KIDS MEALS
Average yearly savings: $2,000
Sometimes it doesn't have to be your birthday to get a free meal. Kids can
eat free at a lot of restaurants across the nation.
At www.kidsmealdeals.com <http://www.kidsmealdeals.com/> you can find
all kinds of places where kids eat FREE with a paying adult.
This includes Denny's and Lone Star Steakhouse -- kids eat free every Tuesday
night (and some Saturdays).
IHOP, Golden Corral, Hooters, Red Robin and Roadhouse Grill restaurants offer
kids-eat-free deals at select locations.
What you do here is sign up for their newsletter and all the deals are delivered
right to you mailbox ever month.
Again, you need to live in an area that has a participating restaurant, so
if you don't see something on their that's in your neighborhood, ask the restaurant
to sign up!
6.) FREE MUSIC
Average yearly savings: $1,200
The average family spends about $100 a month on music downloads - or CD's.
Guess what, music is another thing you can get totally free.
At www.imeem.com <http://www.imeem.com/> you get any song you want,
any time, on demand. Think of a song. Play it. Share it. Post it on your blog
or website or myspace page. Enjoy.
There are more than 6 million songs streaming for free on imeem and it's a
social network so you can share photos and videos, as well as modern day versions
My friend Tim listens to music all day at work - he told me he was spending
a fortune on itunes - now, he has thousands more songs than he's ever had before
- as well as thousands more dollars in his pocket. This site opens up a whole
new world of music listening and sharing - it's pretty amazing.
It's super easy to use - even for non-techy types and we busy moms.
The catch? Again, you'll need to sign up, but no personal or confidential
information needed. And I've never once been spammed by them.
7) FREE PC PROTECTION
Average yearly savings: $50-$7,000
We all know by now that our home computers and everything we keep on them
-- for me that's my daughter's lifetime of pictures, my financial iformation,
that great novel I'm going to finish someday -- is vulnerable. One virus, one
bad bug,and it's all gone.
So, here's what you need to remember: www.housecall.trendmicro.com <http://www.housecall.trendmicro.com/> .
They'll scan your computer for spyware, viruses and other nasty software for
Until now our only choice was to $50 -$250 for virus protection software that
might or might not work, and when it doesn't, spend a small fortune to get a
computer tech to come to your house or get a new computer altogether. Both of
which I've had to do in the last year. I'm not sure what's worse, losing it all
or realizing that I could have gotten all the protection I needed - FOR FREE!
If they do a scan and find that you already have a bug, HouseCall will fix
the problem and help you make your computer safe, for free.
You don't need to install any software to use HouseCall.
Total Potential Savings: 20,600
Cautions/red flags to "Fabulous Freebies":
If you're looking for freebies on the Web and come across what seems like
a great offer, here are some important points to consider:
Never, ever, ever give out a credit card number or bank account
Make sure the site has a way to contact a real person, such as a phone number
where a real person answers. If the Web site looks cheap and unprofessional,
it probably is.
Never download anything "to get your free offer." It could be a
Never submit personal information such as name, address, phone number and
other things that you wouldn't want to get into the wrong hands.