Stuff You Shouldn't Be Paying For: Free TV, Phone Service and Apps
Rumor has it that Apple is considering adding 99 cent iTunes TV show rentals
. It seems that more and more, corporations are realizing exactly what modern consumers
are willing to pay for communication and entertainment services: not
much. The Internet has meant a lot of free and ultra-cheap services--which is great news for us regular people.
Call me an optimist, but I think this means THE END OF EVER HAVING TO PAY FOR ANYTHING.
That's not true (YET?!
), but the good news is free and cheap
alternatives to many pay services are readily available.
Here are five things you should be paying either nothing or very little for in these modern times:
- Cable TV: It's an expensive monthly payment and you're usually tied to some sort of nightmarish contract. NEXT...
IMDB let you stream full TV episodes for free, and Hulu does the same with both TV and movies. Many TV network sites, like NBC and Comedy Central, also have full episodes of their own shows available for free streaming. Netflix accounts that allow unlimited movie and TV streaming start at $8.99/ month. If you don't like watching media on your computer, look into getting some composite AV cables (as low as $2-ish) to hook your computer up to your TV.
- Land lines: I would list details, but I don't even know what land lines do anymore. Diagnosis: pointless.
Google Voice does everything land lines can do, plus a lot more. It offers cool features like voice mail transcription and text-to-email, and it's totally free.
- Online dating services: "Because dating just isn't expensive enough."
As we've learned, "free" no longer means there's necessarily some sort of horrible catch (although of course online scams are still alive and well, so always keep your healthy skepticism at hand). In the case of online dating, people who use the free site OkCupid are actually more likely to find potential mates than people using pay sites. (It's true that that post was written by one of the founders of OkCupid, but the methodology used is solid.)
- Word processing (and other) software: When you consider the stated purpose of word processing software--writing some words in a thing--it's fairly obvious that it should be free.
Free, open source word processing software like Open Office works just as well as its expensive counterparts, and many people even prefer it for functionality purposes. Check out Get the Free Version for great recommendations of free alternatives to word processing and other software.
- Smartphone apps: Fact: if you pay too much for apps, it cancels out the phone's smartness.
I'm generally wary of any app whose cost is in the double digits. Free and super cheap apps are plentiful, so do your research (or should I say FREESEARCH!) before shelling out. For example, Mapquest's free iPhone app is a great alternative to GPS apps that can run from $50 up. It even includes turn-by-turn directions.
That's my list of five things you shouldn't be spending much or any money for these days. What things make your list of stuff you no longer are willing to shell out for? Let me know in the comments.