They say the best things in life are free — but the list of such things seems to be getting shorter by the day.

Businesses are constantly coming up with more ways to nickel and dime customers, and many items that used to be gratis now come with a fee.

We can only imagine how much longer this list will be in 10 years — and what new items will be on it.

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Water in restaurants

There are certain things that people will obviously find it hard to commit some money to. Nowadays, at some restaurants, you have to specify whether or not you want water. Otherwise, the waiter may automatically bring you a bottle of still or sparkling water and add it to your bill. Water used to be free in resturants.

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Once upon a time, free checking accounts were a common occurrence at banks and credit unions. But that has changed and it is eating into bank profits and spurring the institutions to start charging regular fees for checking accounts.

On top of that, banks have added extra charges over the years, including service fees, overdraft fees, and ATM fees.

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School sports

There wasn’t always a charge to participate in after-school sports. Parents had to cover the cost of uniforms and some gear, but that was it.

Today, some schools suffering from tight budgets charge each child a sports activity fee simply to participate.

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Compressed air

You wouldn’t think that businesses could charge for air — and, for a long time, most gas stations didn’t. It was common practice for a station to allow anyone and everyone free use of an air compressor to fill up their tyres. The story is different now!

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Information on the Internet

In the early days of the Internet, almost everything online was free. Now granted, it wasn’t exactly the same caliber of content you’ll find nowadays, but you couldn’t beat the price.

Today, membership sites aren’t uncommon. You may have to join to post on a message board or view content or download reports.

Luckily for you, Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa remains your totally free source of news and information.