My Favorite Free Things

by Mike

Not only is “FREE” the most powerful word in marketing, it’s also a way to stretch your dollars while saving time and money so that you can focus on the really important things in life.

Here are some of my favorite free things:

Financial Tracking Software.  At – set up your checking, saving, credit card and investment accounts and you can watch your spending, check your budget, and set up financial goals – all FREE!

Credit Card.  Don’t pay for a credit card – make them pay you!  There are several free cash back cards out there, but one that I have is a Costco AmEx card that is not only FREE, but also pays me 1% cash back on all spending (even more on special categories).  And as an Executive Member I also get a 2% rebate on Costco purchases.  You should always pay off your balance in full every month, but by using a card for purchases you can actually help build your credit history, get cash back, and also get 30-60 days of “float” for free!  Costco Amex.

Google Stuff.  Google has all kinds of free stuff, whether it’s free email at Gmail, a free phone number that will ring all your numbers and transcribe voice mail and send you a text or email at Google Voice (that’s right a free permanent phone number), free translation, free web document hosting and sharing – the list goes on and on.  See a full list and poke around – there’s sure to be something interesting for you.  Google even has a free version where they’ll host your email for free at Google Apps – so you can get yourself a spiffy vanity domain, have Google host it free, and have everyone use your email account.  Read about Google Apps here.

Replace Microsoft Office.  If the stripped-down functionality of Google docs isn’t right for you, you still don’t have to shell out hundreds to buy Microsoft Office.  There’s a FREE alternative that can open and save MS Office files for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations at

Remote Computer Access.  If you want to have secure remote access to a computer you can do that by setting up the computer using  I use this to access my home computer at work and while I’m traveling.  I also installed it on my mother’s computer so I can be her tech support when she runs into trouble with her computer.  I can pull up her screen, and talk her through the issues while I control her computer remotely.

Travel Agendas.  The good people at have developed a snazzy little product for anyone who travels.  Just set up your account, and then when you book your airfare, rental car, hotels, etc… just forward the confirmation email to from the email you used to sign up, and they pull out the important information and create a full agenda from all the disparate pieces.  It’s a huge time saver and will keep you organized and on time!

Some of these free things are part of “freemium” models, in other words they have a free version, but provide premium services for a fee.  Others are advertising supported, open source projects, or just companies trying out some cool ideas.

OK kiddos, that’s it for now.  I hope from my little black book of freebies you found something useful!  If anyone has their own favorite secret FREE service, post it on this blog or drop me a note.

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