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20 Free Things You Can Do Online—That Weren’t Free Before

Put your wallet away. The Internet is full of free books, free movies, free coupons, and so much more.

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Let's be honest, most of us are probably going to be staying home for a while. Amidst rising health concerns, everyone's trying to limit the time they spend outside for the safety of themselves and others. Lucky for us, a lot of companies are offering free services to make this time more enjoyable. From free movies to workouts to delivery services, here are 20 free things you can do online. And if you had to cancel a major life event, here's what event planners would do.

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Free e-books and audio books

Before you buy a pricey tablet e-book, visit Project Gutenberg, a massive repository of more than 50,000 free e-books, including many required reading classics such as Huckleberry Finn, Frankenstein, and A Tale of Two Cities. Many titles can be read directly online or downloaded to an e-reader—but if you prefer to listen to your literature, visit LibriVox, where you can download thousands of free audiobooks read by well-spoken volunteers. (You can even learn how to volunteer yourself!)  Finally, for even more literary free things online, visit to join a free online book-lending service carrying more than a million titles. Check out these other great sites where you can read free books online.


Millions of free coupons

Before you shop—online or in stores—look for the bounty of free coupons available free online. RetailMeNot allows you to search through more than 50,000 stores for free coupons and highlights current deals for big-name retailers on the homepage. Meanwhile, GoodRx provides huge discounts for expensive pharmacy prescriptions. Here are some more insider secrets to help you save money at your favorite stores.


Free college education

What do you feel like learning today? Class Central pairs your interests with free online college courses from institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. Khan Academy provides thousands of free video lectures on all subjects. Learn any language under the sun with Duolingo, a free app that turns language-learning into a fun game. Boost your resume on EdX by taking courses from top universities, then buying cheap verified certificates to prove you’ve learned from the best. And if your brain is still not satisfied with all these free things online, scroll through this list of other free learning sites out there.

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Free documentaries for life

Uninspired by Netflix? Worry not: There are literally thousands of free documentary films just waiting to be streamed on websites like Documentary Heaven and Documentary Storm, arranged by categories ranging from mystery to nature and even mockumentaries. If you don't know where to start, browse Documentary Storm's Top 100 for inspiration.

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Free tax filing

Sites like TurboTax make filing your returns easy, but they come with significant costs. If you earn less than $66,000 a year, take advantage of the IRS's Free File, a complimentary government service that guides you through your tax return quickly and effortlessly. Sites like TaxSlayer, meanwhile, allow you to deduct the cost of filing right on your return, making it next to free. If you're a senior citizen, check out all the stuff you can get discounted or for free.


Free logins to thousands of websites

Don't feel like building an account for a new website? Try BugMeNot. This handy site shares thousands of pre-created login credentials when all you want to do is get to your content without the hassle of setting up an account. Alas, some sites (like Amazon and YouTube) are not available.


Free therapy

Just want someone to talk to? At 7 Cups, you can connect with a trained “active listener” for free, completely confidential therapy. You can pick a listener based on location and life experience, or let the site assign someone to you for an instant compassionate conversation.


Background noise for free productivity

Studies show that a little background noise can boost creativity and focus, but going to a coffee shop just for the ambiance is a pain. Recreate the gentle buzz of humanity in your own home or office with free sites like Noisli, a customizable list of natural and synthetic background noise loops (including rolling thunder, a whirring fan, and much more), or You Are Listening To, a shockingly zen service that pairs ambient music from SoundCloud with real-time police scanner transmissions from cities around the country. Internet geeks–here's what URL actually stands for.


Free photo editing software

Want to give your family snapshots a Photoshop touch, but can’t afford pricey Adobe software? Download the next best thing with free apps like Pixlr , GIMP, or Paint.NET. All of these free things online don't cost a thing and mimic the vast image editing capabilities of Photoshop.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest