Tampa, Florida -- It seems like a simple rule: Never pay for something you can get for free. But every year, families spend thousands of dollars for things that shouldn't cost them a dime.
10 News found five things you should never, or rarely ever, pay for.
- Bottled Water -- According to the International Bottled Water Association, Americans drank more than 9.67 billion gallons of bottled water in 2012. If you drink the recommended eight glasses of water each day, that would add up to $1,400 every year in bottled water. From the tap, the same amount of water would cost about 50 cents a year!
- Fancy Coffee Drinks -- If you were to buy a latte or espresso before heading to work, it would cost you nearly $1,000 a year.
"Is it necessary for me to buy a $4 latte, when for the price of those two lattes I can buy a bag of coffee and make myself wonderful drinks for an entire month?" said University of South Florida Visiting Professor Chris Jones.
- Books/ebooks/movies/music -- Most people know that libraries have thousands of books you can borrow for free. If you read two books a month and your children read twice that, your family could save more than $900 a year. But most libraries also offer ebooks, DVDs, Blu-rays and new music. Hillsborough County libraries also offer a streaming service called Hoopla that allows anyone with a library card watch streaming movies and music on their laptops, tablets or mobile devices.
"Sometimes there's a little bit of a waiting list, but generally it doesn't take too long," said Hillsborough County Senior Librarian Megan Danak. "We have all of our titles and the catalog before we get them so you can put your name on the list and when the book comes in, we start filling those holds."
- WiFi -- Most people spend around $15 a month for WiFi access on our phones. But many places now offer the service for free as an added service. There are plenty of apps you can download for free that will tell you where the nearly free WiFi is located.
- ATM Fees -- The average fee for using an ATM outside of your bank's network is $41.6. That includes not only what the out-of-network bank charges you, but also a "foreign surcharge fee" from your own bank. If you use out-of-network ATMs only once every other week, it will cost you hundreds of dollars a year. Avoid the added cost by using only your bank's ATMs (getting a little extra cash to tide you over) or get extra month at a grocery store or drug store that offers free cash back after your purchase.
Here are some other money saving tips:
- Project Gutenberg: Free classic ebooks. Titles are all part of the public domain.
- NoiseTrade: Free music from thousands of artists you may not have heard of, but may know in the future. The artists often ask for donations.
- Amazon Artists on the Rise: Free songs from up-and-coming artists.
- Allpoint App: Helps you find surcharge-free ATMs.
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