Money is tight for everyone nowadays, and it’s nice to stretch your dollar as far as possible. You may have free perks from your cell provider that you don’t even know about. Here’s what you can get from Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile.
It’s easy to overspend when you subscribe to several streaming services. Here are some ways to stay entertained without breaking out your wallet.
How many streaming movie and TV services do you subscribe to? It’s not much of a financial burden if it’s one or two. But prices are increasing and it all adds up. Fortunately, there are free services abound:
- Crackle: This ad-supported streaming service has a vast library of popular movies and older TV shows.
- Freevee (formerly IMDb TV): Freevee has lots of content, some of which comes from its parent company Amazon. It carries commercials, but not as many as network TV. You’ll need an Amazon account to use Freevee.
- Kanopy: Supported by libraries and universities, Kanopy offers thousands of classic films for free if you have an applicable public library card or school ID.
- Pluto TV: This service offers over 250 curated channels with thousands of movies and TV shows for free.
- Tubi TV: Tubi has everything from quirky, artsy films to classic movies that made history and popular TV shows. The design is reminiscent of Netflix: Just select your favorite genre and you’ll see Tubi’s library of options. Although it’s ad-supported, the commercials aren’t overwhelming.
- Peacock: The free ad-supported tier has movies, TV shows and live channels. It has an impressive content library and is available as an app on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Fire TV and more.
- Roku: If you have a Roku, you can access The Roku Channel, which gets you free movie and TV content. Stream live shows on the Roku channel and watch an ever-changing catalog of movies and TV shows, all at no cost.
- YouTube: YouTube has thousands of TV episodes to watch for free. But as with most content on the platform, you’ll have to sit through some advertising for the privilege to view it. Here’s what you need to know.
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Physical or digital, here are the best places for bookworms to browse their favorite titles.
When was the last time you went to the library?
Public libraries these days don’t just offer old-school books for free. Now, you can borrow music CDs, movies and even eBooks. Here’s how.
First, find your local library online and see if it offers free eBooks to borrow. In some cities, you can download a digital book from your library and keep it anywhere from one to three weeks.
If you’re enrolled in college, check the options through the online campus library. You might be surprised at how much you’ll find.
Try this site
The National Emergency Library was a temporary collection of books that supported emergency remote teaching, research activities and other educational resources while universities, schools and libraries were closed due to COVID-19. The National Emergency Library launched on March 24, 2020, and closed three months later.
The books in the National Emergency Library are still available to borrow using controlled digital lending. Check it out at openlibrary.org. It’s free to sign up.
The Kindle Store
If you search for “free books” on the Kindle store, you’ll get tens of thousands of results. You need an Amazon account and a device to read, though it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Kindle. You can download the Kindle app on your smartphone or tablet.
Project Gutenberg offers over 70,000 free eBooks in its comprehensive library. It is also available for iOS and Android devices. Learn more at gutenberg.org.
These sites offer free access to thousands of audiobooks and more.
Learn Out Loud
Learn Out Loud has 50,000 free audiobooks, podcasts and videos that primarily focus on learning. To download content, you’ll need to create a free account at learnoutloud.com.
It offers several ways to find audiobooks. This is because they have been sorted alphabetically, recently added, most popular and random. The site also categorizes books into genres like science, technology, business and more.
LibriVox relies on volunteers to read books in the public domain and upload them as audiobooks. The site offers full books or chapters to read or download.
LibriVox has thousands of cataloged works in more than 30 different languages. LibriVox is available for iOS and Android devices — download or stream the available audiobooks through your phone or tablet. Get your audiobook fix at librivox.org.
Many subscription music services offer free options that come with some conditions.
YouTube Music is relatively new to the scene but has quickly risen in popularity. The free version does have its drawbacks, such as the inability to keep listening after you close the app and slightly subpar audio quality.
It does have some perks, though, like exclusive content you can’t hear anywhere else, including live concerts and emerging artists.
- Live music and content you can’t get anywhere else.
- Unlimited playlist creation.
- The music stops playing if you close the app.
- Possibilities for lots of ads.
- Sometimes poor audio quality.
Spotify is one of the most prominent players in the game and has long been a leader in the streaming department. Its best feature? Create and share as many playlists as you want — the equivalent of making a mixtape for someone — from nearly 50 million songs. Spotify says 40,000 new songs are added every day.
- Includes podcasts as well as music.
- Tons of playlist recommendations.
- You can share playlists with friends.
- You cannot pick individual songs to play.
- The free version has limited sound quality.
- Only six skips per hour.
Sometimes you just want to listen to some old-fashioned radio. That’s where the iHeartRadio app comes in. You can stream any station from across the U.S. You can create playlists, too, though the selection is much more limited than with a service like Spotify.
- Live radio any time, any place.
- Personalized artist radio stations.
- Full access to the podcast library.
- Limited music selection.
- Limited skips.
- Can’t play songs or albums on demand.
- Cannot download songs to listen to offline.
Pandora was one of the first platforms to the music streaming game. Its algorithm is capable of personalizing your music experience with great success. The drawbacks are the same as most: You can only skip a certain number of songs, and you can’t rewind a song to listen to it again.
- Algorithmically tailored recommendation.
- Radio-style playlists.
- A limited number of skips per hour.
- Can not rewind a song.
- Can’t share playlists.
Amazon Prime Music
Amazon has gotten into the game with its own music streaming service. While the rest on this list have a free version, Amazon Prime Music isn’t really free. You do still need to have an Amazon Prime subscription to get started. But with unlimited skips, it might be worth thinking about. Although, if you don’t upgrade to the premium version, you will lack many songs you might want to listen to.
- Unlimited skips.
- No ads.
- Personalized music recommendations.
- Not necessarily free (You must have an Amazon Prime subscription).
- Limited music library.
- You must upgrade to the paid version to get the complete list of songs.
Free stuff you get with your cable subscription