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The following is a staff writer post from Amanda L. Grossman at Frugal Confessions. She covers how to live a frugal decadent life where saving and living in the present are both held in high regard.

The amount of legal, free content available on the web is overwhelming. There are so many sites and advertisements screaming “free” at us, that sometimes it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth our time. Fortunately, I am in the business of trying these sites out. Over the last several years I have enjoyed sifting through the muck and finding some real gems that I’d like to share with you.

Finding Free (Legal) Music Online

  • Live Streaming on Your Computer: The easiest place to start with is on-demand streaming. With Pandora, you can create your own radio stations based on a selection of songs or artists. Other websites to try are Live365, Jango and Shoutcast.   
  • Sponsored MP3 Giveaways: There are several companies who sponsor free giveaways of music (also apps and games). You can stop by your local Starbucks each week and pick up a small card for a free MP3 download through iTunes. iTunes offers free songs each week as well as Spinner.com (daily freebies). Check out Amazon.com  for more  free music to download.
  • Artists Give it Away: Just like bloggers give away free content, artists sometimes give away their music for free. On music.downloand.com you can find 25 pages of free music downloads.
  • Public Domain Music: If the intellectual property rights have expired, or were forfeited, or if the music was not covered by intellectual property rights to begin with, then music becomes part of the Public Domain. Once it is part of the Public Domain, it is free for anyone. So how do you find this treasure trove of free, downloadable music? Start out by perusing Wikipedia’s list of free music on Wikipedia/Wikipedia Commons. You can also find music by navigating the Internet Archives. Check out the Free Music Archives where you can find free music under Creative Commons licenses.
  • Websites with Specific Genres: For free classical music check out Classiccat.net, a website that indexes the web’s free classical MP3 downloads. For handpicked, indie music visit Epitonic.com (the artists give their permission for free downloads).

Downloading Free eBooks

Whether you own an eBook reader or not, you can download and read thousands of free eBooks. The Nook has a free reading app to download, as well as Kindle’s free reading app, so you can turn your computer or laptop into an eBook reader.

Note: readers and reader apps only read certain file formats. If you find a free eBook from the list below that is not supported on your app, then you can convert other file formats using this free service.

  • Search for Free eBooks on Amazon.com and BN.com: Search within these two stores for “$0.00”, and a list of free eBooks will appear.
  • Search the Public Domain: You will never need to buy a classic book again! There are thousands of them available on the Public Domain for download.
  • Search Project Gutenberg: Project Gutenberg offers 42,000 free eBooks to download.
  • Search the Internet Archive: The Internet Archive has over one million free eBook classics. Use OpenLibrary.org to navigate it.
  • Search Google: There is a search powered by Google that allows you to search for free pdfs called findpdf.net (sort of like Google images).
  • Checkout Library eBooks on Your App: If your library is linked to Overdrive, then you can actually check out eBooks on your reading app or reading device. If your library is not connected with Overdrive, then check out OpenLibrary.org.

Scoring Free Digital Prints

New online photo companies start-up all the time (and subsequently online photo companies seem to close their browsers quite often as well). The good news for us consumers is that it is basically a requirement to offer free digital prints in order to enter the online photo market. Here are a few offers to get you started (note that you will generally need to pay shipping):

  • York Photo: This site gives you 100 free prints for signing up! Interestingly, if you refer a friend, they get 60 free prints and you get $10 in credits.
  • Snapfish: Enjoy 150 free prints with sign up.
  • Clark Color Lab: Your first 20 prints are free.
  • Wink Flash: Receive 50 free prints with your first order.

Any other ideas spring to mind?