6 things that once cost money that are now free

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – You may have noticed as the years roll along, the cost of most things keeps increasing. Some items have actually gotten cheaper in recent times and many things are now free.

Take classified ads, for example. Not too long ago if you wanted to sell something, you had to fork over money to run an ad in the newspaper. Now you have plenty of free options to sell your wares. Craigslist has the widest reach, but there’s also eBay Classifieds or any of the many buy/sell groups you’ll find on Facebook.

In the past, if you wanted to see a copy of your credit report, you needed to pay for it. Now, thanks to the government, you’re entitled to one free report each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. However, to keep your information safe, make sure you get the report from AnnualCreditReport.com, the official site established by the credit reporting agencies.

There is no reason you should be paying for long-distance calls. If you don’t have a phone plan that already gives you free long-distance service, check out services such as Skype and Google Voice, which allow you to make calls in the U.S. for free.

At one time, you had to pay $100 or more for a GPS unit. In some cases, you had to shell out extra to update maps periodically. You can still buy separate GPS systems, but if you have a smartphone, there’s really no reason to do so. There are plenty of free GPS apps that work perfectly fine, too, like Google Maps.

This one has come full circle. In the early days of the internet, you could listen to music for free, although illegally, on Napster. Then, you had to pay for music through iTunes, Rhapsody or similar services. Today, we’re back to free music through apps such as Spotify and Pandora.

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. Free cloud storage is a convenient way to access information and photos from anywhere. While there are plenty of good cloud storage options that cost money, others such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive are free.

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