In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Fabulous Freebies 2014

By Cameron Huddleston

JewishWorldReview.com | There's only one thing better than getting a good price on something, and that's getting it for free.

Our list is packed with more something-for-nothing deals than ever. We don't allow any useless junk on our list, only quality goods and services that you would happily pay good money for (or perhaps you already are). From free investing and financial services to free technology and entertainment, there's something here for everyone.

Go ahead. Put away your wallet. We insist!

Free Credit Score and Monitoring

Credit scores measure your creditworthiness. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate will be on a loan. It's a good idea to keep tabs on your credit score, especially if you plan to apply for a loan or credit card soon. At Credit.com, you can view your "credit report card," updated monthly, to track various types of credit scores free. See How to Get a Free FICO Score for more information on seeing the score commonly used by lenders.

You don't have to pay $15 or more a month for credit monitoring because two Web sites do it free. Credit Sesame will monitor your Experian credit report daily and will send you an e-mail alert about changes to your report, such as a new line of credit opened in your name. Credit Karma tracks your TransUnion credit report daily and notifies you of any significant changes. If something unusual appears on either report, you can get your credit report free from credit bureau Equifax through AnnualCreditReport.com (if you haven't ordered one in the past year).

Free Fruit

Run by so-called urban foragers, FallingFruit.org has an interactive map that shows where you can harvest your own fruit -- as well as herbs, nuts and vegetables -- from trees and plants that grow mostly on public lands. You can sort by location or fruit type. Then you can drill down to individual locations to see what type of fruit grows there, when it's in season, and whether it's on public or private land. You also can see reviews by other foragers and a street view image courtesy of Google.

Free Document Shredding

Don't own a shredder, or don't want to clog yours up shredding a stack of papers a mile high? Local governments, police departments and solid-waste agencies in at least 23 states offer free shredding events once or several times a year to help residents keep documents with personal information out of the hands of identity thieves. Shredding companies such as Shred-it and Cintas also organize free shredding events in cities where they have a presence.

Free Car for Your Road Trip

If you love road trips but don't own a car, you can get one free to travel the highways and byways of the U.S. if you sign on as a driver for an auto relocation service. Services such as Auto Driveaway need drivers to transport cars for corporate fleets, RV owners, people who purchase vehicles online and those who migrate south in the winter. You must be 23 years old and have a valid driver's license. You must pay a security deposit of $350, but it will be refunded. You'll even get a free tank of gas. You'll have a specified number of days to complete your trip.

Free Auto Services

Auto service chain Pep Boys offers eight free services, including tire repair, tire rotation and brake inspection. No purchase is necessary to take advantage of any of the services.

If you're buying a new car, consider the value of free maintenance programs offered by various automakers. New cars typically don't require a lot of upkeep, so a nonluxury brand, such as General Motors, Toyota or Volkswagen, with a free maintenance program might not offer you a lot of savings and shouldn't sway your purchasing decision. But free maintenance on a luxury brand, such as BMW, Cadillac or Volvo, can save you a lot because service costs are much higher than they are for nonluxury brands. See The Value of Free Maintenance Offers on New Cars.

Free Preventive Care

As part of the new health care law, most health plans now must provide a variety of preventive-care benefits free -- even if you haven't met your plan's deductible for the year. Among the benefits that are fully covered: screenings for high blood pressure, mammograms for women older than 40, and routine vaccinations for children, as well as a long list of other tests and services. See the preventive-care page at Healthcare.gov for a full list of these preventive services and eligibility requirements.

Free Trees

Some utility companies offer customers free trees to help reduce energy use through strategic planting, so check with yours to see if it offers such a program. Local governments and conservation districts also give away seedlings on Arbor Day or during other events. For example, West Sacramento, Cal., gives residents up to two free 15-gallon trees a year if they attend a workshop on tree planting and care.

Many cities, counties and utility companies also offer residents free mulch, made from recycled leaves or wood from tree trimmings and tree removals, if you pick it up.

Free Tools

National auto-parts retailers, such as Pep Boys, Advanced Auto Parts, O'Reilly Auto Parts and AutoZone, let you borrow expensive-to-own, specialty tools to repair your car. You'll have to pay a deposit (which varies depending on the tool), but you'll get it back when you return the tool.

Several cities also have tool lending libraries that let residents borrow tools -- from plumbing tools to circular saws to demolition hammers and more -- free. Check this list to see if there's one near you, but note that some of these libraries require a membership fee.

Free Tuition

You can actually get a free college education at a handful of schools. For example, Berea College, in Berea, Ky., provides all students a four-year tuition scholarship that amounts to nearly $100,000. Alice Lloyd College -- another Kentucky school -- doesn't require students from a 108-county area in Central Appalachia to pay tuition, but it does require them to work ten hours a week to offset the cost of their education. College of the Ozarks in Missouri requires students to participate in a work program rather than pay tuition. See our College Rankings special report for more universities that offer academic excellence at a good price.

Free Food at Restaurants

Your favorite snack shop or fast-food restaurant may have an annual freebie day. And some places offer freebies on certain holidays or special days, such as tax day, Mother's Day and Veterans Day. Here's a list of what to expect throughout the year:

-- A free Rita's Italian Ice in March
-- A free Haagen-Dazs ice cream and y
-- A free doughnut from Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme, for National Donut Day in June
-- A free 7-Eleven slurpee on 7/11

Check with your favorite establishment to see if it offers any freebies throughout the year.

Free Hotel Stays

If you tend to stay at one hotel chain's properties more than others, sign up for its loyalty program to rack up points for your stays and earn free nights. For example, Hilton HHonors members earn 10 points for each dollar spent on room rates and other eligible room charges. Earn a free night's stay with 5,000 accumulated points.

There are other ways to score free hotel stays. Stash Hotel Rewards offers members who stay at any of the nearly 200 participating inns, resorts and boutique hotels the ability to earn points for free nights. And with the Hotels.com Welcome Rewards program, you can earn a free night after booking ten nights through the site.

Or get a hotel-branded credit card to earn points toward free stays every time you make a purchase. Just watch out for cards with annual fees, and make sure you pay off your balance each month so you don't incur interest charges. See Hotel Rewards Cards That Pay for more information.

Free Flights

Sign up for airlines' frequent-flier programs to accumulate points toward free flights and other goodies. See the Program Profiles at FrequentFlier.com for the lowdown on each airline's rules. Or consider getting a credit card affiliated with the airline you use most frequently to earn points toward free flights. See our picks for the six top airline rewards cards.

Free Computer Security

You don't have to pay $50 or more a year for security software. Avast Antivirus and Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows get good reviews from tech experts and offer basic defenses, including malware protection.

Free Language Lessons

Prepare for your international getaway with the free foreign language lessons online at FSI-language-courses.org. Or go to Openculture.com for a list of lessons around the Web that you can download to your MP3 player. Your public library may also offer courses or software to help you prepare for your travels.

Free Stuff on the Road

Traveling is expensive enough. Don't get nickel-and-dimed at every step of the way. Stay at hotels that offer free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free fitness facilities, free parking, and other perks. Priceline.com maintains a searchable database of hotel freebies.

Traveling with kids? You deserve even more freebies. Children under age 2 can fly any airline or ride Amtrak free of charge when they sit on a paying adult's lap. Also, watch for kids-fly-free, kids-cruise-free and kids-ski-free promotions, and ask the cruise or resort in advance about free supervised kid programs so you can have some much-needed grown-up time.

Free Price Watcher

Don't you hate it when you pay for a flight, and then the price drops? Enlist the help of Yapta.com, which tracks your flight's price after you buy your ticket. If the fare drops, it will notify you and help you collect a refund or travel vouchers from the airline. (Note: Yapta only kicks in if the price drop exceeds the ticket-change fee you'd be obligated to pay.) Yapta does the same for hotels too. Tingo automatically rebooks your room at the lower rate if the hotel drops its price. Then you'll get a refund for the difference. For rental cars, try AutoSlash.com.

Free Tour Guides

To get a real feel for a city when you're traveling, team up with a local. The Global Greeter Network organizes volunteers in several cities worldwide to show you around, give you the inside scoop and answer your questions. Tours can last a couple hours, and there's a strict no-tipping policy.

Prefer to explore at your own pace? Browse the free audio walking tours available for download at iTunes.com, Audisseyguides.com and iAudioguide.com. You can also search the Web for walking tours of your destination. In our simple search, we found free audio tour downloads from Boston and Chicago to Dublin and Jerusalem.

Free Credit-Card Perks

By simply carrying a credit card, you may be entitled to some cool travel freebies. For example, most credit cards come with free rental-car insurance, and some cards will cover the cost of your vacation if you have to cancel your trip. Call your card issuer to find out what perks you qualify for.

International travelers can get slammed with a 3% currency conversion fee every time they charge their credit cards, or withdraw money from an ATM overseas. Bypass the fee with a Capital One or Discover credit card.

Free Software

For many basic computing needs, you can get free software rather than shelling out for the Microsoft Office Home & Student suite ($139.99), Quicken Deluxe for budgeting ($23.35), Adobe Photoshop Elements for photo editing ($64.98) and other popular programs.

For word processing, spreadsheets and multimedia presentations, try OpenOffice.org or Google Docs. To manage finances, we like the free budgeting program at Mint.com. And for photo and video editing, try Aviary, Picasa, Pixlr or Apple's built-in iMovie software.

Free Workouts

Don't sweat enrollment fees and gym memberships. It doesn't cost a penny to put on your sneakers and go for a walk or jog in your neighborhood, or to join a pick-up game of basketball at your local park. To encourage public health, more communities are installing free outdoor gyms for adults at public parks. Residents of Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Antonio and others can use free equipment for strength training, flexibility and cardio workouts.

Prefer to work out at home? Check out a fitness DVD from your local library.

Or with companions and instructors? You may be able to find free fitness classes taught by experts in your area. For instance, Lululemon Athletica stores offer free yoga classes weekly. Many communities host free workouts in public parks or libraries, too. For instance, we found free yoga classes in Miami, New York and Los Angeles; free tai chi sessions in San Francisco, Omaha and Washington, D.C.; free Zumba classes in Chicago; and more.

Free Diet and Fitness Help

Need help sticking to a diet and exercise plan? At Fatsecret.com, MyFitnessPal.com and SparkPeople.com, you can craft meal plans and count calories, put together a fitness plan and track your progress, and get support and advice from other users.

Some employers offer free diet and fitness help to their employees. These programs may include free gym access, weight-loss support groups and smoking cessation programs. Some will even pay you for your progress. Ask if your workplace has a wellness plan.

Free Flight Perks

Domestic airlines are stingy with giveaways. But some airlines still offer a few freebies for fliers. One of our favorites: Southwest lets you check two bags for free -- which can save you up to $120 on a round-trip flight. JetBlue lets you check one bag free, plus gives you access to free TV, satellite radio and all-you-can-eat snacks.

Free Rx Drugs

Bring in your prescriptions and you can get some antibiotics free at several pharmacies, including those at Giant Eagle, Meijer, Price Chopper, Publix and Schnucks. You can also get free prenatal vitamins at Meijer, Shoprite and Schnucks. Meijer, Publix, Price Chopper and ShopRite stores give out free diabetes medications and supplies. See How to Get Free Prescription Drugs for more information.

Free Unlimited Texting

Save money on your cell phone plan by using a free texting service such as Textfree. It assigns you a free phone number through which you can send and receive texts as much as you want on your Android devices, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Free Investing Apps

Stay up-to-date on the financial markets with free apps on your iPhone, Blackberry or Android. Some of our favorites: Bloomberg for up-to-the-minute stock quotes and breaking news, Morningstar for mutual fund research at your fingertips, and Yahoo Finance for the latest financial headlines, stock news and videos.

Free Capital Gains

Who wouldn't love to let their investments grow 100% tax-free? Take a pass on paying capital-gains taxes by investing in a Roth IRA. Any money you put into your Roth grows tax-free, and you won't owe Uncle Sam a dime when you cash out in retirement. It's all yours. Learn more.

Free ETF Trades

Here's a great commission rate on exchange-traded funds: $0. Several big brokerages, including Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and Vanguard have free commissions on some of their ETFs, meaning you don't have to pay anything extra when you buy or sell.

Free Savings Bonds

Before you make any purchase online, consider making BondRewards.com your starting line. You click on an affiliated e-tailer (there are hundreds) to do your shopping as usual, and a percentage of your purchase is given back to you in your BondRewards account. You then redeem your rewards for U.S. savings bonds or cash.

Free Portfolio Checkup

Are your investments as diversified as you think they are? You needn't pay a financial planner to evaluate your holdings. Simply use Morningstar.com's Instant X-Ray tool to check for balance among stock sectors, investment styles, geographic regions and more.

Then, check out Kiplinger's 25 favorite funds and our model portfolios to establish the mix of investments that's right for you.

Free Financial Guidance

Prosper from the actionable, straightforward guidance found across Kiplinger.com and our related social-media platforms. Learn how to cut your tax bill, maximize returns on your investments, save more for retirement, plug insurance leaks, get the best banking and credit deals, and so much more.

Sign up for free email alerts for the latest insights from your favorite Kiplinger columnists.

And follow Kiplinger on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook to keep up with us on social media.

Free Shipping

If you love to shop online but hate to pay for shipping, go to FreeShipping.org. The site can direct you to retailers who offer free shipping on every order, big or small. The site also gives you coupon codes to snag free shipping at other retailers.

Many retailers' sites offer free shipping if you'll pick up the order at a local store, including AceHardware.com, BestBuy.com, Payless.com, REI.com and Walmart.com.

Free Travel Apps

Several free mobile applications can help you save time and money when you travel by car. For example, GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas prices near you. Yelp is great for finding restaurants, shops, attractions and more because it provides reviews, star ratings and directions to help you get to the place you want to go. For more, see 11 Great Apps for Road Trips.

Free Sales Tax

The chance to make purchases free of sales tax isn't technically a something-for-nothing deal, but it's definitely a money-saving opportunity you don't want to pass up. Seventeen states have sales-tax holidays in July or August that allow consumers to make noncommercial purchases of back-to-school items, such as clothing, computers and school supplies, tax-free.

Six states exempt purchases of Energy Star products on certain days of the year. And three coastal states have sales-tax holidays for hurricane preparedness items. See a complete list of sales tax holidays from the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Free Grocery-Shopping Assistance

ZipList lets you organize your shopping lists, recipes and grocery deals in one place. You can create your shopping list online and access on any phone (not just a smart phone) while you're shopping. If you do have a smart phone, you can use the ZipList app to scan items you have at home that you need to purchase, and they'll automatically be added to your list. You can share the list with family members, and they can add to it. Plus, the site has thousands of recipes, provides recipe recommendations based on ones you've already chosen and will add the ingredients you need to buy for recipes you select to your shopping list. It also shows which items on your list are on sale at local grocers, so you'll know where to shop to get the best prices.

Free Shopping Apps

Are your key ring and wallet getting crowded? Use the free Key Ring app to store all of your bar-coded loyalty, membership and library cards on your phone. You simply scan your phone at the point of service. Online shoppers can stay organized with Slice, which tracks packages and notifies you of price drops on items you already bought so you can recoup the difference from the merchant.

To help you get the best price, use apps such as Red Laser or ShopSavvy, which scan any bar code in the store and instantly compare prices for the same item online. For in-store coupons, try Coupon Sherpa or RetailMeNot.

Free Credit Report

Your credit report can impact your interest and insurance rates as well as your ability to land a job or apartment, so it pays to make sure it's accurate. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus, no strings attached.

Free Financial Apps

There's a slew of free apps for your mobile phone that can simplify your financial tasks. Among our favorites are apps from Mint to track your spending and investments, Allpoint and Moneypass to find surcharge-free ATMs nearby, Expensify to automatically compile receipts for your business expense report, and Venmo or Paypal to instantly pay your friend back for dinner before you even leave the table.

Most banks also have free mobile banking apps that allow you to check your balance, transfer funds and make deposits on the fly. To learn more, see Why You Should Try Your Bank's Mobile App.

Free Retirement Planning

A free tool at Fidelity.com enables everyone, not just Fidelity customers, to estimate future retirement expenses and income. It recommends appropriate investment strategies to generate steady income (with or without using annuities) and provide growth to keep pace with inflation.

Free Checking

This freebie is getting harder to find without having to jump through a lot of hoops. For the best free checking accounts, look to online banks such as Ally Bank and Bank of Internet USA. They give you free ATM access and free online bill-paying, plus you earn free interest (free money!) on your deposits as well. Or check with community banks and credit unions, which you can find at culookup.com or Kasasa.com.

Free Cash

You have to buy groceries and gas anyway, so why not use those purchases to get a little more green in your wallet? Sign up for a rewards credit card and get free money, gift certificates, airline miles or other perks. (Of course, it's only free if you pay the balance in full each month without incurring interest charges.)

You can get even more free cash when you shop online by starting at rebate portal sites such as BeFrugal.com, CouponCactus.com, Ebates and Extrabux. You select a retailer from their lists, and they pay you back a percentage of your purchase price (typically between 1% and 10%).

Free Legal Advice

Nolo.com has been Kiplinger's go-to source for legal information for a long time, and it's still the best. The Web site is packed with free advice on a wide range of legal issues, such as estate planning, buying or selling real estate, managing a business and more. Nolo is authoritative, yet clearly explains when your situation calls for hiring a lawyer.

Free Tax Software and Guidance

Preparing your income taxes doesn't have to cost a lot. Check out the IRS's Free File program. If your adjusted gross income is $57,000 or less, you qualify for free tax-prep software and filing. If you make more money than that, you can still file for free, but you don't get the free software.

Have a tax question? Call the free IRS help line at 800-829-1040. Many communities also offer free face-to-face help during tax-filing season, with volunteers at public libraries and community centers. See the IRS's list of free tax return preparation resources for details.

Free Birthday Treats

A number of eateries offer birthday freebies to customers who sign up for their e-mail lists of join their "clubs." For example, you can get a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday if you sign up for the Baskin-Robbins Birthday Club. You can get a free burger on your birthday if you join Ruby Tuesday's So Connected program. For more, see 10 Great Birthday Freebies.


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You can also sign up to score free food on your birthday from a number of eateries, including Cold Stone Creamery, Denny's and Famous Dave's BBQ. Search the web for "birthday freebies," or call your local restaurants to ask whether they offer a deal.

Free Books, Movies, Music and More

Your public library is a freebies Mecca. Most offer books, magazines, audiobooks, e-books, video games, CDs and DVDs for free (as long as you return them on time, of course). Your library may also host free activities such as book clubs, lectures, film screenings, children's story hours and craft activities.

Free Fishing

Grab your pole and hang a "Gone Fishin'" sign on the door. Most states have free fishing days when you can fish without a license, saving you about $7 to $30, depending on your location. You'll find a list of states and dates at TakeMeFishing.org, or check with your local fish and wildlife agency for details.

Many locales let kids fish for free year-round. The age cutoff varies by state but is usually in the teens.

Free Movies and TV

Movie tickets, cable TV, Netflix and TiVo subscriptions can add up. Yet there are several free options to get your couch potato fix. Watch free movies and TV series online at Hulu.com and Crackle.com (check out the Crackle app for your phone). Or, head to the TV networks' Web sites.

You can catch free movies on the big screen, too. Many communities nationwide show free outdoor movies in the summer. Plus, your kids can catch free family films throughout the summer at several theaters, including Bow Tie Cinemas, Marquee, and Muvico.

Free Museums and Parks

Many top-notch museums, galleries and zoos offer free admission year-round, including the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., the Getty Center in Los Angeles, and Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. Others, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, let you in for free on certain days of the week or month.

Bank of America cardholders can gain free admission to more than 150 museums on the first full weekend of every month.

Our national parks boast some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, and some don't charge entrance fees, including the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway. Plus, on several days throughout the year, you can get in free to all national parks that usually charge admission. Here's the free-admission schedule.

Free E-Books

At Gutenberg.org or the University of Pennsylvania online books page, you won't pay a cent to legally download thousands of books whose copyrights have expired, including War and Peace, Moby Dick and Little Women. You can also search for free e-books at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and iTunes.com.

For newer titles, check out your public library. Or join a free online lending community such as ebookfling. You list your Kindle and Nook ebooks on the site (the publisher has to have chosen to enabled the title for lending), then you swap ebooks with other members. Borrowers have 14 days to read the book.

Free Audiobooks

If you love to read but don't have the time, download free audiobooks legally from Librophile.com and BooksShouldBeFree.com. You can listen on your computer or MP3 player while you sit in traffic, fold laundry, exercise or simply relax. The sites offer up classic books whose copyrights have expired, including works from Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe, Ayn Rand and more. They also have children's titles, such as The Three Little Pigs and The Secret Garden.

To get newer audiobook titles for free, check out your public library.

Free Music

Get your groove on with free music streaming services, such as Pandora.com, Grooveshark.com and Spotify.com. You can access them online, or install their handy apps to take the tunes on the go.

Free Concerts and Performances

A great way to see performances for free is to volunteer as an usher at a local theater. Call the theater manager to find out how to sign up.

If you can't commit to a long-term volunteer gig, take advantage of the occasional free concerts that some performing arts centers hold. For example, the Kennedy Center in Washington hosts a free concert every evening. Even if you can't make it to D.C., many of the concerts are viewable online. And communities across the country have free lunchtime and evening concerts in the park during summer months. Check the Web site of your local government or downtown development district for details.

Free Sports

You needn't pay a small fortune to see world-class athletes in action. Get an up-close look at your favorite baseball and football teams in action during spring training for Major League Baseball and summer training camps for the National Football League.

You can also watch Olympic athletes train in Park City, Utah, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Chula Vista, Cal., for free.

Free Hobbies

Want to learn something new in your spare time? Many local retailers offer free workshops. For instance, improve your culinary skills at Williams-Sonoma's free technique classes. At REI take a free clinic on bike maintenance, backpacking, camp cooking and more. Apple, Home Depot, Lowe's and Michaels stores offer free classes for adults and kids. Check your local library, too. We've seen hands-on workshops for computers, chess, knitting and more. Or check out a book or DVD on a topic that interests you, such as origami, pilates or international cooking.

Free Wi-Fi

In an effort to lure you inside, more restaurants and retailers are offering free Wi-Fi, including Starbucks, McDonald's and Barnes & Noble. Some public libraries, campgrounds and hotels offer this freebie too. Go to WiFiFreeSpot.com to find places to surf when you're away from home. Or download the Free Wi-Fi Finder app at iTunes.

Free Money for Tuition

Put a dent in that tuition bill by searching for scholarships at FastWeb.com, or apply for one of the grants handed out by the federal government. Several states also award grants which don't have to be repaid. Contact your state's department of higher education to learn more.

Free Classes

Many colleges and universities post course material and lectures on their Web sites, including Johns Hopkins, University of Notre Dame and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Saylor.org compiles open coursework from top-notch universities into more than 200 classes and awards certificates upon completion.

You can also go to Apple's iTunes U to access more than 250,000 free lectures, videos and other materials from 600 universities, including Oxford, Stanford and Yale.

Free Digital Storage Space

With free online backup storage, you can share files and protect them from computer crashes, theft and natural disaster. Windows SkyDrive gives you 7 gigabytes of free, secure digital storage space. You can also use Amazon Cloud Drive (5 GB free) or Dropbox (2 GB free).

Free Education Apps

Like it or not, kids and technology are drawn to each other. So why not use that magnetic power for good? For elementary-age kids, check out the iTooch app for math, science and language arts activities, the MeeGenius app for reading, and the free PBS Kids apps for educational games and videos. For middle schoolers, try the Blanks app for vocabulary, and Khan Academy app for math and science videos.

Free Resume Help

Whether you're applying for an internship, searching for your first job out of college or polishing a seasoned résumé, you can get free help with your job hunt. Stop by a One Stop Career Center (a service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor) in your area. Trained staff can help you with resume writing, interviewing skills and online job searching techniques. The centers also offer job training programs, or they can arrange on-the-job training and apprenticeships with local employers.

You can also watch for workshops at your local library, community center or college.

Free Passport Photos

You'll pay about $15 at the post office to get your picture taken for your passport. Instead, take your photo with your own digital camera, then upload it to ePassportPhoto.com, which will help you size it properly before printing on your home printer. The best part: You can redo your picture as many times as you like. After all, who wants to get stuck with a bad photo for the next ten years?

Free Computer Classes

Brush up on your computer skills at your public library, which may offer a variety of free computer and technology classes. Some common courses include Internet and email basics, spreadsheet and word processing, digital photography and image editing, and family history research. For instance, New Yorkers looking for even more free tech guidance for their personal computers can attend the hands-on PC Maintenance workshop at The New York Public Library -- one of more than 25,000 free programs offered at the Library's branches across the city.

Free Calls

To limit your landline costs or avoid using precious minutes on your mobile-phone plan, use a free calling service such as Skype, Viber or Vonage Mobile. All three allow you to make free calls to other users of these services. Skype and Viber can be installed on mobile phones and computers. Vonage Mobile is available only for iPhone and Android users.

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Cameron Huddleston is an Editor for Kiplinger's.

All contents copyright 2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC