Check out these 12 tech freebies that everyone should know about
Nov 12, 2023, 5:00 AM
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The iPhone 15 Pro Max with tons of storage costs $1,599. The Razor Blade 18 gaming laptop starts at $2,899.99. Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H95 over-the-ear headphones? $999.
You get the point. Tech can set you back a whole lot of money. That’s why you should take every freebie you can get — with one caveat. Security programs, antivirus and VPNs are common honeypots for scammers. This list, though, you can trust.
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1. Free great photos for you to use everywhere
In search of high-quality, stunning visuals for your next project, blog post or social media update? Unsplash offers a vast collection of free-to-use photos captured by a talented community of photographers worldwide. From breathtaking landscapes to captivating portraits, you’ll find something that works for your project — or to use as your computer background.
2. Go ahead, tell everyone you go to Harvard
You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to learn from the greatest professors in the country. Take over 1,700 online courses from Harvard, Yale, Stanford and other Ivy League schools on Coursera. Want to boost your business skills? Take Financial Markets from Yale or Accounting Analytics from the University of Pennsylvania.
3. Check your credit for free
You’re entitled to a free credit check every year, so never get roped into paying for it. Even if you’re not applying for a loan, it’s worth doing to find anything strange. You can spot identity theft a lot sooner than if you wait to notice it some other way.
4. Free eBooks without driving to the library
My favorite way to do it is the Libby app. You can get a library card right in the app, then use it to borrow eBooks and audiobooks to your heart’s content. No more $15-a-month audiobook membership!
5. Visit the world’s best museums
Want to get away without leaving the comfort of home? Go on a virtual museum tour and see artwork from the best museums in the world. The graphics are so high-quality you’ll feel like you’re there in person. Best of all, virtual museum tours are 100% free!
6. Get the popcorn! 15 free streaming sites
You want to watch a show or a movie, but it’s on a streaming service you don’t subscribe to … and you’re already spending $100 a month on different apps. Don’t Google “free TV shows,” or you’ll probably end up with malware. I found free streaming services you can trust. Kanopy, Popcornflix, Vudu, hoopla and Xumo are all 100% safe. You might have to watch ads, but hey, free.
7. A second phone number
Protect your privacy by giving a burner number from TextNow to all the websites that want your contact info. This free smartphone app gives you an extra number you can use to talk and text. The only downside? Banner ads at the bottom of your conversations, as the developers make money through ads.
8. Quicken alternative
GnuCash is excellent accounting software that’s completely free. If you’re looking to manage your personal finances or even handle the accounts for a small business, it could be perfect for you. It’s available on Windows, macOS and Linux, and since it’s open-source, there’s a whole community of folks out there who can help if you need it.
9. Sweet, 50 free boxes from USPS
When you need to send out a package, your old Amazon boxes are nowhere to be found. Good news: You can get free shipping materials from USPS. Not just one or two, either. Grab a pack of 50 Priority Mail Express packages, medium boxes, legal envelopes, shoeboxes or whatever else you need. Who said the government never did anything for ya?
10. Poll your customers … or friends
Anyone with a Google account can create a Google Forms survey for free. Keep it super simple (“What are you bringing to the potluck?”), or make it as complex as you want. If you’re talking to customers, try page branching and logic to skip specific questions so your survey feels customized for each user. You can insert images and YouTube videos, too. Here’s all you need to know to get started.
11. A custom logo for whatever you want
A party invite, your small-biz idea, you name it. Check out LogoBee. Its free, web-based Logo Maker has hundreds of templates you can customize. You can download a PNG file for free as long as you agree to the terms and conditions, which include a line that says you don’t have exclusive rights to your design. In a pinch, it works. If you want your logo in a vector format (good for print, posters and high-quality graphics), that’s $39.
12. The perfect 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 easy, and the site tells you exactly what to do. That means you won’t get rejected once you submit the picture. Money and time-saving!
Keep your tech-know going
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.
Plus, ever wondered about tech giants’ biggest flops? I’ve got a rundown. Cathay from Seattle is having a rough go sorting through her late father’s 15 computers — I share some ways to ease her journey. Peek into the data your car collects on you, and the undercover map tracking your moves.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Sound like a tech pro, even if you’re not! Award-winning popular host Kim Komando is your secret weapon. Listen on 425+ radio stations or get the podcast. And join over 400,000 people who get her free 5-minute daily email newsletter.