You can’t get everything for nothing, but there are some things no-one should be paying top dollar for. Here’s Lifehacker’s top ways to keeping your outgoings low.
Free software and services are a major part of the Lifehacker ethos, and form the majority of what we write about here on the site each day. We’re realists, though, and recognise that not everything can be had for absolutely nothing.
With that said, it’s become clear over the years of writing about how to wring more out of your dollar that there are some things that you can nearly always pay less for. Here’s five that are definitely worth looking out for.
Using an iTunes gift card to buy music (rather than just registering your credit card) makes sense for three reasons. First and foremost, it’s less of a security risk: I think I’ve heard more people complain about unwanted charges on their credit cards after using iTunes than almost any other source. Secondly, it keeps you to a budget.
Most appealingly, iTunes cards regularly go on special — there haven’t been many weeks in 2009 there hasn’t been either a 10% off deal or a ‘2 $20 cards for $30’ option at one of the major retailers. We regularly post updates on iTunes discounts, so hang on tight to that cash until there’s a good special to be had.
Like Apple, eBay can’t resist discounting as a major form of marketing, and regularly runs listing specials. The most typical example is dropping the listing fee for items with a starting price of less than $1. Sure, that’s only a saving of 30 cents, but if you want to do a garage-style clearout, it makes sense to wait for that kind of special before selling up.
Australia has never had the “free Wi-Fi in every cafe” culture that permeates the US and much of Europe, but that’s not to say there are no options. The most visible remains McDonald’s, which now has free Wi-Fi in all its Australian locations. Internode also provides free Wi-Fi in much of Adelaide and some other unexpected locations (such as the MCG, and there’s always Laptopfriendlycafes for a more comprehensive listing.
There’s no such thing as a free ride, but there’s definitely such a thing as a cheaper ride. Check out our guide to off-peak public transport to save money in unfamiliar cities, and learn how to get to and from the airport cheaply while you’re at it.
There are some paid-for software packages that get a lot of coverage here at Lifehacker because they’re so widely used (Microsoft Office and Photoshop spring to mind). However, there’s almost nothing you can’t do with free software if you put your mind to it. The best place to start is with our Lifehacker Pack listing of essential software (also available in a Mac edition).
Lifehacker 101 is a weekly feature covering fundamental techniques that Lifehacker constantly refers to, explaining them step-by-step. Hey, we were all newbies once, right?