The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License,
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License,

Frugal Café Philosophy
Save more.
Spend wisely.
Use resources responsibly.
Laugh often.
Kindle passion in life.
Give back.






Frugal Café Site Search:



Tremendously Useful Websites That Are Still Free to Access

By Vicki McClure Davidson


More and more websites are requiring membership and/or fees to use their sites. But don't despair! Many excellent ones are still free and don't require that you submit personal information.


Babel Fish: A simple, but effective translation site residing at Yahoo (it was formally available at AltaVista) that will quickly translate text, for free, from one language to another. No muss, no fuss. Languages include English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Greek, Chinese (simple and traditional), and Italian. All text can be translated from or to English; the others only link with a few (for instance, translations are offered from Portuguese to French, but not from Portuguese to Russian). Best of all, it doesn't cost anything to use, unlike many other translation websites. It may not be the best, but it's one of the easiest and cheapest to use. ( Another we have recently discovered is offered through Google, but we've not ever used it, so won't review it at this time. The selection of languages in Google's translator appears extensive. We did notice that Arabic and Bulgarian translations are offered, which Babel Fish does not provide.

Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is an extensive cinema database site for film buffs of all ages | Photo credit: Clem,

Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is an extensive cinema database site for film buffs of all ages

Internet Movie Database (IMDB): Hands down, this is the rich-grand-daddy-best web database we've ever used for movie information. Not only is biographical information about the film's cast, director, and crew included, but it stores an ocean of obscure trivia, production filming locations, dates of release in the US and other countries, awards received, film trailers (if available), forums, entertainment-related news reports, actors' links to other movies, polls, and up-to-date movie box office results. International films outside the US are included. It offers more comprehensive information about the silent film era than other sites we've perused. Also, brand-new to IMDB is the online showing of full-length movies, independent film shorts, and full-length TV episodes directly on IMDB—for free! The site's television database information is slowly improving (still painfully lacking in data for older/classic TV programs). The TV database isn't as thorough or detailed as its movie section for coverage of oldies, but is top-notch for current TV shows. The site is easy to navigate, has been growing and evolving for more than a decade (thousands upon thousands of entries), and it has been our absolute favorite film authority since 1999. ( While IMDB still isn't wholly up to speed in providing accurate, in-depth older/classic television reference information, tackles it with aplomb. This is our favorite site for accurate season and episode lists and biographical information. If you wanted to know which Star Trek episode back in the 1960's co-starred Joan Collins, this site can easily supply you with all the pertinent information. (It was titled "City on the Edge of Forever," season 1, episode # 28, and originally aired on April 6, 1967. Joan's character's name was Edith Keeler.) Remember when TV shows other than American Idol or late-night talk shows actually averaged 28 or more episodes in a season? This site details them all. An excellent resource for classic television shows (although still being built up with data), easy to navigate, no membership required unless you want to contribute information or upload comments, no annoying pop-ups (although it is rather ad-heavy in the sidebars). Love this site! (

Nolo: This site gives free legal advice. Yes, that's right—free legal advice. You don't need to hire a lawyer to handle many routine legal matters. All you need is Nolo, a publisher of self-help legal information that counsels you on writing a will or a living trust, buying real estate or minimizing estate taxes. The free articles on its web site, are authoritative, yet they explain in a simple manner when your situation calls for hiring a lawyer. The site also has podcasts on divorce, small claims, wills, and more, and it provides a blog on topics such as small business, estate planning, and others. There are other features on the site that are reasonably priced (legal forms for patents, business incorporation, etc.), but for routine advice, the free advice articles should be explored first. (

Playa Cofi Jukebox: This funky little site offers an adequate breakdown of the most popular top songs of a particular year and when selected, plays them through your computer. The years range from 1950 through 1989, and there are sections that are sub-divided by musical genre. For 1965, some of the songs available on Playa Cofi Jukebox include Back in My Arms Again, Unchained Melody, I'm Telling You Now, Baby Love, California Girls, Do You Believe in Magic?, and The Tracks of My Tears. From 1989, selections include If I Could Turn Back Time, Wind Beneath My Wings, Like a Prayer, Paradise City, End of Innocence, and Don't Wanna Lose You. Not a sophisticated website, but it's refreshing in that it is without an inordinate amount of intrusive ads (there are some, but not many), voice-over audio commercials, or annoying pop-ups, and is a lot of fun to listen to. Easy to navigate, too. (

Webmonkey: Our favorite Web design site for quick, well-written info, like color code charts, simple HTML codes, references, and tutorials. Easy to navigate, and has a lighthearted approach to Web design. We also get a good chuckle out of the site's name every time we say it. ( offers valuable nutrition facts and information | Photo credit: MS Clipart offers valuable nutrition facts and information | Photo credit: MS Clipart

Nutrition Data: While there are many excellent websites that offer nutritional information about fruits and vegetables, we really like using this one. It is authoritative, formatted attractively, has colorful charts that illustrate the data, and is chockful of valuable nutritional information. "Know what you eat" is the site's mantra. There's a search field in the upper right corner to type in the food you want information about, and without much delay, the page is brought up with several link options (you then click the appropriate link for the variety/type of the food item, such as with salt or no salt, boiled, raw, etc.). Here's a link to the facts page for rutabagas, broken down by whether they are cooked, drained, or without salt. The information provided by this site is valuable for meal planning, food bill budgeting, and grocery shopping... find the fruits and vegetables that give the most nutritional "bang for the buck" for your family's meals. The site is one of several others like it that we refer to for nutritional data, but it is our favorite (probably because it is more scientific than most, less dry than others). (


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