Software and Websites Frugal People Should Know

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It’s good to be frugal, and being frugal is easier when you have the right tools at your disposal. There are a few bits of software, websites, and general tech tools that frugal people should know about if they want to take their money-saving efforts as far as possible for the least amount of effort.

Spotify

spotifySpotify is a music streaming service. There are various account plans available, but prices start at free. There is a huge catalogue of music available, which includes most big hits past and present as well as a range of more obscure, specialist, niche artists. Unless you have a paid account, adverts will be played every few minutes which is how the service is funded, but they are not intrusive. A few competitors such as Deezer can also offer a good experience, but Spotify is definitely the market leader. This essentially translates into free music. Spotify and most competitors also offer mobile apps for portability but these can be tough on your data plan and generally have restrictions. For example, the Spotify app allows unlimited free streaming, but only in shuffle mode. In other words, you can choose an artist or album but not which specific track to play or the order they play in.

Google Shopping Search

Google Shopping Search, also sometimes known by the catchy name of Froogle, is sort of like a price comparison for physical products. When shopping online, you can type in the name of the product you are looking for and Froogle will search a number of sites, including the likes of eBay, for the best prices. It’s not perfect and it shouldn’t be taken as gospel that the things it finds are the very, very best deals going, but it is still well worth checking if you are shopping around for a bargain on a specific product.

mySupermarket

The mySupermarket website is sort of like Google Shopping Search but for actual, physical shops. It is quite comprehensive, covering a fairly complete range of high street retailers and a huge variety of everyday items. You might not think your weekly shop really needs a price comparison site, but the website makes it easy enough that it can be well worth putting in your shopping list and seeing which store comes out as offering the best deal. It mostly focuses on the kind of things you would put in your trolley week after week, but does also cover a respectable range of other products such as electronics, books, and entertainment.


Getting Things for Free

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freeThey say that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, by which they really mean that everything has a catch. However, there are times when you might find you are paying for something when you could get it for free. It may be that there really is no significant catch, or it might simply be that the catch is outweighed by the money you save.

Anti-virus Software

If your computer doesn’t have anti-virus software, or it has software that is years out of date because you don’t want to renew the subscription, then you should get some ASAP. The internet is a far safer place with some security software tucked away on your hard drive.

The problem for many people is that anti-virus packages usually aren’t cheap as software goes, and you have to pay for them every single year. If you want a license that allows you to use it on multiple machines, this can be even more expensive. Fortunately, there are several completely free packages out there.

Before you balk at trusting your computer’s safety (and by extension your passwords and bank details) to a free package, several free security suites regularly equal or outperform the big names in tests and expert reviews. There is really no safety compromise involved in choosing a free package. The catch is that these companies all have paid products, and they will send you advertisements and offers to try and get you to upgrade. Ignore them; free protection should be more than adequate for home users.

Freecycle

Freecycle, and similar initiatives such as Freegle, are local communities designed to allow people to simply give things away. The idea is to reduce waste and recycle items that would either be thrown away or languish unused in a cupboard, rehoming them with people who want or need them. People who have such items can advertise them to the group, and those who want the item can get in contact.

You can see all sorts of things on Freecycle, from furniture to freshly-laid eggs. You can also post requests, so if you are going to buy something that you think somebody might be willing to give away you can try posting a wanted ad before spending your money. However, there are some rules of etiquette to follow. It is usually considered rude and irritating to other users if you post too many “wanted” ads, so try not to get carried away. It is also a good idea not to post ridiculous requests. This may seem obvious, but there are people who will seriously post “wanted” adverts for items like cars or high-value electronics.