As the economy continues to improve, a lot of folks haven’t really seen so much improvement in their own personal economies.
Though the worst of the economic crisis seems to be over, many folks are still struggling – perhaps working two jobs, borrowing money from family or friends, even taking out payday loans to cover emergencies.
Many people don’t have a lot of money left over for life’s little extras. Fortunately there are lots of freebies available online.
Since so many of us spend so much time online anyway, why not use some of that time to check out some of the free options for enlightenment and entertainment?
Newspapers and Magazines
Many people still enjoy the experience and ritual of reading a print newspaper or handling a glossy magazine, but if you don’t want to pay for a subscription or just don’t want a pile of paper in your home, there’s a lot of content available online, and much of it is free.
Either by visiting the publication’s web site or downloading an app, you can get up to the minute news, features and commentary on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Many newspapers and periodicals have moved the majority of their content behind a paywall so you have to pay to subscribe to their online editions as you would for a print newspaper (although usually the price is considerably lower).
However many national publications will still offer the news online free of charge, and because they can update content instantly you’ll be more up to the minute than you would if you subscribed to the print edition.
As well, many print newspapers and magazines have online-only content not appearing in their print editions.
True bibliophiles will never give up their print books, but many book lovers are equally enamored of e-books, and as it happens there are vast numbers of e-books available for free.
You can download them to your e-book reader, if you have one, or to your computer or tablet or smartphone (Amazon offers several free versions of its beloved Kindle e-reader for computers and mobile devices).
You can choose from hundreds of free e-books: classics, contemporary fiction and nonfiction, cookbooks, and several versions of the Bible.
Visit the Amazon.UK Kindle store and type in “free books”, and you’re on your way.
The only disadvantage is that you cannot transfer most of these books to another device, nor can you print anything out without a great deal of trouble, but you can always download another free copy – or save up for a print book.
As is the case with books, there are music collectors who still love to own physical products such as CDs and even vinyl records, which are either making a comeback or never quite went away.
But there are many alternatives – Spotify being one of the most popular – that allow you to listen to all of your music for free online. There are several others as well (here’s a link to help you decide).
The free services generally insert an advertisement after every few songs and some limit your weekly usage, but for a nominal amount you can get unlimited service that’s ad-free.
If you are into computer games, you’re in luck as there are scads of free gaming web sites online. For instance there is FreeOnlineGaming.com
Keep in mind that these sites only feature basic games; advanced players might not be interested.
Even so there are plenty of choices for people who just want to try their hand at some games.
Also if you are looking for the latest version of a big-name game you can take advantage of the fact that most manufacturers will allow you to download a demo.
The demo lets you play at least part of the game for free in order to decide if you want to purchase th efull version.
Even if you don’t have a lot of money to spare, you can still stay informed and entertained, in many cases without spending a cent.
But if all else fails, shut off all of your devices and take a walk outside to enjoy nature.
Fortunately, that’s still free too.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net