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No one loves a bargain more than a savvy shopper, and the only price better than a deeply discounted sale is a true freebie. Many sites, such as AARP, reveal gratis products and/or services available to us and since mi casa es su casa, then obviously mi strategies es su strategies! Let's take a look, shall we?

1. Going to college means paying hundreds and thousands of dollars in order to get educated and earn a diploma that will help one find a job in the field he is most interested in. However, not everyone can afford the price or even qualify for a loan. Tennesseans are fortunate enough to achieve Tennessee Promise degrees at community colleges and technical schools. Even better, very recently, Gov. Bill Lee announced that high-achieving students coming from families that make $50,000 or less will soon be able to attend the University of Tennessee for free. Moreover, students actually can take online college courses from big universities. One example is Coursera, which offers thousands of college-level classes about everything for which students can pick their own time to study. Once they're ready, go pass the exam and get their diploma. On the other hand, if you don't want to study in the traditional manner, visit YouTube where you'll discover hundreds of educational channels.

2. Credit unions and banks provide free checking accounts to their customers who don't need a minimum balance.

3. In many public libraries, patrons can get a library card for only $5 ($50 in Hamilton and Catoosa Counties) and sometimes even for free. As I've listed in the past, once we hold this card, then we've unlimited access to hundreds of books, news publications, and magazines in our local public library (as well as boo-coos more services I also iterated recently). Too, forget book buying because, as long as we have a proof of residency and a local library around us, the sky's the limit.

some text Ellen Phillips

4. Who's moved into a new house and needs new (or "new") furniture? Check the Marketplace page on your neighborhood to encounter many families who are giving their furniture away for free. Craigslist also has a section where you can find free stuff, but the marketplace can provide you with posts from your location to make the process easier and safer. (It goes without saying for any pickup, don't go alone to a stranger's house, and be certain someone you trust knows exactly where you'll be.)

5. Another past column discussed rental cars. While rental companies try to insist their coverage is necessary instead of that on our own insurance plan, booking with certain credit cards will make us completely covered. Logon to Creditcards.com as this site explains every piece of info necessary about rental car insurance and credit cards. Check out creditcards.com/credit-card-news/best-card-rent-car-insurance-1273.php.

6. Everyone with an iPhone or Android, as well as any other cell that possess internet access, can listen to free music. With Spotify's complimentary version, listen to whatever you want and at anytime you want. Another good gratis entrée is YouTube Music. Just remember that both settings do employ some ads.

7. Landline phones are becoming a thing of the past – in large part because of unwanted calls. Nowadays, texting, email, audio texting, and mobile calls have become our basic means of communication. (And don't get me started on the loss of face-to-face communication skills!) Not only do no more landlines equal money in our pockets, but also internet connection provides free calls, texts, and even video calls. Additionally, Google Voice can offer us a free number that allows domestic calls and texts from our iOS device, Android, and computer.

8. And speaking of free calls, Skype and Whatsapp, among others, gives us the ability to connect with anyone, anywhere. Your contacts must have the same app as yours and a decent internet link

9. As always, I enjoy finding tips about free meals and/or treats and relaying these on to readers. Check all the following, local websites to make sure which day(s) to take our hungry appetites. Let's begin with the kiddies: Applebees; Bob Evans; Bruster's; Chevy's Fresh Mex; Chick-fil-A; Denny's; Famous Dave's; IHop; O'Charley's; Pizza Hut; and Ruby Tuesday.

10. Many restaurants offer freebies to their diners after we join their "food clubs." These include, among others: Einstein Bros. Bagels; Firehouse Subs; Hooters; IHop; Panera; and Red Robin.

11. Finally, download their apps to receive free food from the following eateries: Auntie Anne's; Baskin-Robbins; Jack in the Box; Krispy Kreme; Schlotzsky's; and Steak 'n Shake.

Tune in the next couple of weeks for more smart tricks to solve everyday problems with a minimum of fuss and little-to-no expense.

Contact Ellen Phillips at consumerwatch@timesfreepress.com.

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