By John R. Levine, Margaret Levine Young

The Internet and the web were originally designed for educational and governmental purposes, not for selling stuff, although that’s hard to believe now. Even in this era of ecommerce, lots of free stuff is available.

  • You can watch tons of video for free on YouTube, Blip, Hulu, and other video-sharing sites. You can also try TED talks – short, informative lectures on technology, education, and design.

  • Freecycle enables you to post items you no longer want or to ask for items you need. No money can change hands; it’s all free. To sell your stuff, consider Craig’s List, where for-sale classified ads are free.

  • You can get rid of your old encyclopedia and use Wikipedia instead. If you are an expert in something, be sure to look at pages about your subject area and make corrections.

  • Want to learn another language? Free language lessons and practice is available at Duolingo. If you have a smartphone, you can load a Duolingo app and practice on the go.

  • Medical information is available at WebMD on a wide variety of symptoms and syndromes. (Of course, you should still see your doctor to find out what’s right for you.)

  • Take a free online course on almost any subject at Coursera. You don’t get official credit, but you take real courses by real instructors at real universities.

  • You can listen to streaming music for free from Pandora, Last.fm, or Spotify. You pick the style of music to create your own person online music station.