A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

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.

1 / 21
Laptop and headphone
Ju Photographer/Getty Images

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.

2 / 21
gutenberg screenshot
via gutenberg.com

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 openlibrary.org 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.

3 / 21
via retailmenot.com

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.

4 / 21
via classcentral.com

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.

5 / 21
Documentary Heaven
via documentaryheaven.com

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.

6 / 21
tax slayer home page
via taxslayer.com

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.

7 / 21
via bugmenot.com

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.

8 / 21
via 7cups.com

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.

9 / 21
via noisli.com

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.

10 / 21
via pixlr.com

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.

11 / 21
via 10minutemail.com

Free disposable email address

Need to sign up for an account to view a website, but don’t want to deal with their daily email badgering? Grab a free, disposable email address from 10 Minute Mail. Why the name?  Ten minutes after you click onto the page, your one-time email address will disappear forever, giving you just enough time to confirm a subscription, then never have to think about it again. While you’re browsing these great free online resources, be aware of these 10 online scams and learn how to avoid them.

12 / 21
via craigslist.org

Free furniture, moving supplies, and everything else

Many people don’t realize that Craigslist, the popular resale website, has a free section for just about every city in America. Here, generous donors list the items they are willing to part with free of charge (provided you are willing to pick it up). In a busy city like New York, it’s not uncommon to see hundreds of free listings every day. Give it a try with your hometown.

13 / 21
via mint.com

Free personal finance management

If your goal is saving money, you probably aren’t looking to spend money on a financial adviser. Mint, a personal finance management website and app, is completely free, and security is important to this web-based software because it can be linked directly to your online bank accounts. Started by Intuit, the makers of TurboTax, the Mint site allows you to personalize your account to make budgets that work for you, stay on top of bills, and keep track of your credit score. Try these other 56 easy ways to start saving money immediately.

14 / 21
via grammarly.com

Free editing for emails, Facebook posts, and more

The “free writing assistant” Grammarly can be downloaded as an attachment on your browser. It will not only help you out with any grammar and spelling mistakes in your essays and emails, but it also reviews anything you’re typing online, including social media posts, because it’s connected to your browser. If you’ve been slighted by autocorrect before, don’t worry—Grammarly works by offering you suggestions instead of automatically correcting your work.

15 / 21
via spotify.com

Free music streaming

If you’re sick of paying for music on iTunes or Apple Music, or you just want to broaden your musical horizons, there are quite a few free things online to choose from. Spotify is a popular choice, and it’s totally free if you don’t have a premium account. While you can shuffle any album, artist, or playlist on the free version, it does have some downsides: You need to listen to ads, and you can’t pick individual songs or stream offline on the mobile app. With Pandora, you can create a radio station based off of any song, artist, or genre—balancing songs you already like with new finds. If you’re more of a radio lover, try iHeartRadio. You can stream your favorite stations or make new ones based on your favorite artists.

16 / 21
google arts and culture
via artsandculture.google.com

Free museum tours

Many museums are shutting their doors due to rising health concerns—but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy art. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you now have the chance to explore over 2500 museums and galleries (from all around the world!) without having to step outside your home. Have you always wanted to go to Tate Britain? Been a while since you’ve been at the MoMa? Always wondered what the Rijks Museum is like? Now is your chance to find out. Most museums include online exhibits, and a “street view” that lets you roam the halls of the museum itself, according to Fast Company. If you don’t know where to start, here are the world’s most popular museums.

17 / 21
corepower yoga on demand
via corepoweryogaondemand.com

Free workout classes

Your gym is closed for the foreseeable future, now what? It might be hard to come up with workout routines you can do in your own home. But don’t worry, you have various gyms and workout apps here to help you stay healthy during this time. For example, with the Downward Dog Yoga app, you can choose from a variety of yoga, HIIT, and barre classes for free until April 1st. Core Power Yoga is offering 16 hour-long yoga classes, while Planet Fitness is streaming live, at-home workouts for free on its Facebook page daily at 7 p.m. This is prime time to adopt healthier habits.

18 / 21
broadway hd
via broadwayhd.com

Free Broadway shows

Are you someone who loves theatre? Social distancing does not mean you have to go without it, thanks to BroadwayHD. The platform has been around since 2015 and is currently offering a free seven-day trial, along with a (discounted) $8.99 monthly plan. Available shows include Cats, Kinky Boots, Macbeth, and many more. And, you can watch them as many times as you like!

19 / 21
via metopera.org

Free opera

If you’ve never been to an opera, now is your chance. The Metropolitan Opera is offering the Nightly Met Opera Streams to brighten the lives of their audience members even while their stage is dark, according to their website. Every night at 7:30, a different performance is available for streaming.

20 / 21
sling tv
via sling.com

Free movies and TV

Yes, there are a lot of opportunities for you to keep active while social distancing. But if all you want to do is to watch TV, follow your dreams with these free streaming options! If you’re a true horror junkie, the streaming site Shudder is offering a 30-day free access to all the horror movies it offers. A true football fan? Lucky for you, the NFL is giving fans complimentary access to NFL Game Pass through May 31. There is, of course, Sling TV, which is offering free access to select on-demand movies, television shows, and ABC News Live. Next, find out how to get free stuff almost anywhere. 

21 / 21
via headspace.com

Free meditation

Healthcare workers are more important than ever these days. Headspace and these free meditation apps know that and are here to help. Headspace is offering free subscriptions to US health-care workers through the end of 2020. You just have to provide your National Provider Identifier, and you’re all set. Next, check out everything you need to be successful working from home.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest