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Free Alternatives for Paid Services

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Cutting expenses from your budget doesn't have to mean giving things up. Check out these great, free alternatives for services that you're used to paying for:

1. Cable/Satellite

Use Hulu to keep up with the latest episodes of your favorite shows – even shows on premium channels, like HGTV, Lifetime and History. Then, hook an antenna up to your TV, and find new shows to fall in love with. Most networks have two or three channels of programming now, so there's more free TV than ever before (go to antennaweb.org to see what channels are available in your area).

2. Movie Subscriptions

Catch free movies on Hulu and Crackle. Then, hit the library for even more. Dying to see a particular new-release movie? Sign up to receive text messages from Redbox (just text OFFERS to 727272), and they'll send you a free rental code the first Monday of every month.

3. Antivirus Software

Trade in your paid antivirus subscription for a free download of Microsoft Security Essentials, or try one of the free programs from AVG or Avast. They'll keep your computer virus and malware-free, without charging you a cent.

4. Magazine Subscriptions

The next time one of your magazine subscriptions comes up for renewal, use one of the free subscription sources mentioned in this article to snag another year for free, or let your subscription run out, and get the latest issue from the library, instead. These days, most library branches will allow you to check magazines out, so borrowing can be just as good as buying (maybe better, since you don't have to deal with magazine pile up).

5. Internet

Ditch your DSL or broadband Internet service, and replace it with free 4G wireless Internet from FreedomPop. If the service isn't offered in your area yet, consider relying on free wi-fi hot spots until it is.

6. Cellphone Services

Snag 500mb of free data from FreedomPop each month. Text for free using the Heywire or Textfree app, and make free calls using Viber, Skype Mobile or Textfree. That pricey cell phone package is so 2012, so kick it to the curb.

7. Long Distance

Cancel the long distance service on your landline, and use Skype, Gmail or your cellphone to make all of your out-of-area calls.

8. Dental Care

Do a search for dental schools in your area. Then, visit each school's website or call to see what dental services they offer. This can be a great way to score free (or cheap) dental care, regardless of financial need.

If you're a low-income individual, check with your local health department to see if they offer any free dental services; search for a free dental clinic in your area; or visit dentistryfromtheheart.org to see, if they'll be coming to a city near you.

9. Haircuts

Kids cuts are free at JCP Salons on Sundays (grades K-6). For everyone else into your household, look into the services offered by the nearest cosmetology school, where the cuts could be as cheap as free.

Other Options: Consider becoming a hair model, or find out if any salons in your town offer a free cut when you donate to Locks of Love.

10. Gym Membership

Many church gyms have the same amenities that you'll find at a paid gym – game courts, walking tracks, weight rooms, even exercises classes, and you usually don't have to be a church member to take advantage of the offerings. Call around to a few churches in your area, and find yourself a workout spot sans the membership fee.

Another free option: Workout to free exercise videos from the web or your local library's collection.

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