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.
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 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.
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, iTunes.com and Kobo.com.
For newer titles, check out your public library. Or join a free online lending community such as ebookfling or ebookexchange. 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.
Tired of trying to teach your kid the difference between sine and cosine? Ask your school or local library whether it provides free tutoring services, or access to free online tutoring such as Tutor.com and SkillsTutor.com. These sites off tutors in a range of subjects and let students and tutors communicate online.
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. And for high schoolers, Brightstorm ACT Prep or Kaplan’s SAT Flash Cubes apps can help your teen prepare for college-entry exams.
Free Résumé 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.
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