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      Money Talks: Things that used to be free

      With a few exceptions, like food and gas, inflation in America has been pretty low in recent years.But there TMs another part of rising prices the government just can't measure: and that is we now pay for things that used to be free.Nowadays, bones are likely to be packaged and sold as soup starters.While free coffee refills might still be found at the local diner| in a lot of places, they're not free at all.I won't even bother listing all the things on flights that used to be free, from luggage to food.While local TV is still free, more than 100 million American households pay for it through cable or satellite: and still have to watch commercials.You know, inflation has even struck|inflation. Who TMd have ever thought you could charge somebody for air? Same things with water for your radiator.A generation ago, you weren TMt even allowed to pump your own gas. But that was then|you TMll pay for full service today|if you can even find it.Free checking... getting harder and harder to find. In fact nowadays, it often costs money to cash a check|some banks even charge to talk to a teller.Do you remember when information was free? Well, it was. And not only was it free, get this: it was a live person.Bottom line? The best things in life are still the ones without price tags. But I'll tell you what, they sure are putting price tags on just about everything else.Want more information on stuff that used to be free? Go to and do a search for "Free"Click here to see other stories from "Money Talks"