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3 Free Life-Improving Resources

BY Mary Hunt TIMEMay 10, 2022 PRINT

If you are generally wary of free stuff, I’m right there with you. Most of the time, I’ve found that free stuff is like bait. It’s a tasty morsel, a big tease with the clear intent of getting us to part with money we have no intention of parting with to get whatever it is that’s “free.”

But now and then, free is truly free with no strings attached. And when it’s something I find useful in my life, well, that’s a happy find. Today I have three truly free things for you to consider. There’s a good chance you’ll find them downright awesome!

Marco Polo

Marco Polo (marcopolo.me/relationships/) is a phone app that combines the best of texting, social media and video chats — all in one private, easy-to-use app. Marco Polo is the video chat app that brings you closer to the people who matter most. It’s not the same as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. It’s in real time, without all the hassles.

For example, even though you may not be with your grandchild, he can pick up the phone anytime and just say, “Grandma, I love you.” Or you can all get together at one time. You and your family and/or circle of friends can have conversations in real life with no ads, no hassles.

Marco Polo is different from typical social media apps because it is real, trusted and built to be good for you. Unlike many apps, Marco Polo does not sell user data for advertising. Marco Polo isn’t about likes or social comparisons. This is an app that parents actually want their families to use.

Marco Polo is vastly more practical than video calls. You never play phone tag, and you don’t have to schedule blocks of time just to say hi. Marco Polo gives you tone, context and certainty that your message was heard.

Busykid

BusyKid (busykid.com/) is an ingenious website that takes the idea of teaching kids the value of money with a job board and digitizes it while including the concepts of sharing and saving.

Simply go to the site, open a free account and then add your kids to it. Next, choose from a list of chores to assign them, along with a deadline. For each chore or job, you also need to set points that your child earns upon completion.

The points become a “currency system” that BusyKid intends to use to teach children more about money. Children are free to save, spend or share the points they earn. And the “spend” is linked to rewards, like a bedtime story or anything they want from Amazon, which you get to add. BusyKid also offers mobile apps.

Ikea Hackers

Oh, this is fun! IkeaHackers is a free website (http://www.ikeahackers.net/) devoted to amazing ideas and how-tos for modifying and repurposing IKEA products. Think of IkeaHackers as a place where IKEA hackers from all over the globe gather to share their “geniousness.” They submit their creations with the hope of providing alternative ideas for IKEA products.

The term “hacks,” as used on this site, may be as simple as adding an embellishment; some others may require power tools and lots of ingenuity. Think: Turning a simple IKEA framed mirror into a jewelry storage vault by simply adding a couple of hinges. Or a laundry organizer made from IKEA kitchen cabinets.

To learn more about these resources, and to see my favorite IKEA hack of all time, meet me at EverydayCheapskate.com/3free.

This article was originally published on EverydayCheapskate.com.

Mary Hunt
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM
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