There’s always something new to spend money on when it comes to tech. Here’s a secret some companies don’t want you to know: You can get a lot without spending a dime.
Take photo storage. Are you using the free space from Apple, Google, and Amazon? Here are the best ways to store photos and videos on your phone.
Speaking of money, I hear from people all the time who want to cut Netflix, Hulu, and other expensive streaming services. Did you know that mobile carriers offer free streaming service subscriptions as part of their plans? Here’s what T-Mobile, Verizon, Spring and AT&T are offering.
Storage and movies aren’t the only things you’ll get for free. Here are freebies you can thank me for later.
1. Photo editing software
Photoshop is generally synonymous with photo editing, but the software subscription is expensive. Here are a few free ways to crop, brighten and otherwise adjust your photos:
- Canva: This user-friendly browser and app-based editing software is ideal for creating presentations, social media graphics, marketing materials, posters, and anything else you can dream up.
- Pixlr X: This tool runs in your browser; no download is required. It has advanced features like photo filters and drawing options, but it really shines with simple-to-use cropping and resizing tools.
- GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program): This professional-grade photo editor works similarly to Photoshop. Unlike Photoshop, GIMP is free to download.
- Adobe Express: This cloud-based platform from the makers of Photoshop offers a library of stock photos, illustrations, and fonts for your designs. You can also create a project from scratch.
Tap or click here for an in-depth breakdown of the pros and cons of each option.
2. Video editing software
This is one of those things you don’t need until you really need it. Maybe you were tasked with creating a video for a wedding or class reunion, or you finally want to start a YouTube channel.
Most dependable video editing programs cost an arm and a leg. Notice I said most. When it comes to free options, DaVinci Resolve takes the cake.
If you have a Mac or iPhone, you’ll be glad to know Apple iMovie is a surprisingly good video editor. Tap or click to see how to turn your clips and photos into a masterpiece with iMovie.
3. Word processing software
When it comes to productivity software, Microsoft Office is the gold standard. Of course, it’s pricey. I have recommended LibreOffice for years. It’s an open-source software suite that works much like the apps in Microsoft Office.
It also saves new files in Office formats, so you don’t have to worry about file conversions. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide to downloading LibreOffice.
Are you already using Google Docs? Tap or click for a simple trick that makes starting a new document a snap.
4. Freeze your credit
Freezing your credit is free. If you ever get prompted to pay, you’re on the wrong site, clicked a shady ad, or spoke to a scammer.
The trick is knowing the spots to freeze your credit. It’s not just one place. Go here for the steps you need to take. This page is worth bookmarking for the next time you get an alert that your info was exposed in a data breach.
5. Burner email addresses
Do you want a coupon code but not the spammy emails that come with it? Use a burner email address.
You can use a free disposable email service like 10–Minute Mail. It’s easy to create a temporary email address to ensure your security, so you don’t have to give away your personal and work email addresses.
Use an iPhone? The Hide My Email feature is powerful, easy to use, and requires no additional downloads. Tap or click for a simple way to protect your inbox privacy.
6. Brush up on your college Spanish
Duolingo is a top-rated language-learning app, and for good reason. It’s easy to use, engaging, and surprisingly easy.
Duolingo offers 37 languages, including Spanish, French, Japanese, German, Latin, Korean, Scottish Gaelic, Ukrainian, Italian, and Chinese. Have trouble staying committed? Duolingo offers daily reminders that hold you accountable each day.
7. eBooks for your summer vacation
Digital books can add up, especially if you’re a voracious reader. OpenLibrary.org lets you browse thousands of books to find your next favorite. Sign up, verify your email, and you’re good to go. Start browsing in just a few minutes.
Tap or click here for even more ways to get free eBooks.
Trying to get a side business or freelance career off the ground? I have an eBook you should read to maximize profits: “Guide to Successful Online Freelancing.”
8. Audiobooks for listening on your walks
Prefer to listen to your reading list? Audiobooks make chores like yard work and cooking much more interesting and liven up long walks or road trips.
Here are eight ways to get free audiobooks.
9. Internet speed tests
Free internet speed tests help determine whether you’re genuinely getting your advertised rates. One of the most reliable free speed tests around is Speedtest.net. This site will measure various statistics like the ping time, download speed and upload speed of your internet connection.
Are you a streaming video buff? Try Netflix’s free internet speed test, Fast.com.
If your internet speed turns out to be lower than expected, there are ways to improve it. Tap or click for tips to boost your Wi-Fi speeds.
10. Low-cost or free internet
The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides up to $50 monthly for broadband service. To qualify, you must meet one of five criteria, one of them being an income at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Tap or click for the other ways to qualify for free internet and how to sign up.
11. Shipping materials
Here’s some good news for small business owners who work from home. Actually, this freebie is helpful for anyone who wants to stop spending money on mail. Thanks to the USPS, you can score free envelopes and boxes.
It’s not just one or two, either. A pack of 50 Priority Mail Express packages is available at no cost. You can get medium boxes, shoe boxes and a lot more.
Here’s a direct link to grab free shipping supplies.
12. Update your passport photo
Don’t wait in a long line to have someone take your picture for your passport. Head to Passport Photo Online and follow a few steps to take the perfect shot. It’s pretty easy, and the site tells you exactly what to do.
RELATED: 5 things you should STOP paying for in 2023
13. Magazines to read on the beach
Have an Amazon Prime account? Then you have free access to a rotating library of popular magazines free for 30 days. Check them out here. The Prime Reading perk is a terrific way to save money you’d otherwise spend on expensive monthly subscriptions.
Titles include Wired, Popular Science, Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home and more.
14. Weekend project ideas for you and the kids
If you or someone you know loves to sew, check out Mood Sewciety. It includes step-by-step tutorials, sewing patterns, and helpful articles.
Instructables.com has a stellar library of projects for all ages and skill levels for those who are more into crafts and woodworking. There’s something for everyone. Here are some of my favorites:
- Make a 3D-printed lamp.
- Craft a college loft bed.
- Learn astrophotography.
- Build a spaceship-shaped chicken coop.
- Design a custom fighting game controller.
You may also like: 15 more things you didn’t know you can get for free
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