Okay….I thought it would be worth writing a blog that will help those on a limited income or those who are looking to live best as possible, by writing about services that I use or that I know my friends use, that are free or low cost. This blog is wordier and more disjointed, then more of my recent blogs, I just felt that it was worth the read, for how much it could help others, whether they are low income or just want to save money. There is a lot of good tips, if you’ll patiently bear with me, with this blog.
For my friends and or fellow internet peers, who love to read books and magazines electronically, I will give you a heads up about some apps, which either work on tablets, some may work also on computers. Some have a monthly fee such as Next Issue, but some of these apps for magazines and books are actually free, that I will discuss in this post.
I’m honestly not trying to be a spammer as it applies to my love for the app of Next Issue. While I’d be less than honest, that if I refer you and after you 60 day FREE trial, you decide to keep it, that I get a referral bonus. I’m finding because I love magazines, that I’m probably going to keep the app, which I have the premium version which is $14.99 a month, for weekly magazines such as People, Us and Star magazine. If you just use the monthly magazine membership it is $9.99 a month.
There’s a ton of magazines of all genres, on Next Issue (if I’m not Facebook friends with you, feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a Facebook friend request as I’m Lisa Kasen on Facebook) . If you would rather not go with me, you can do what I did, as I found it because of sponsored advertising on Facebook, which got me a 30 free trial day membership. Because 2 weeks into my 1st month free, I got as a Klout bonus (if you haven’t tried Klout , and you are a blogger or you have a lot of FB buds who you interact with, it’s worth checking Klout out, it’s an app that rewards those who have social media influence, whether you are a blogger or not) where I would get the one month free, and 2 months 1/2 priced.
Next Issue did NOT have to honor the fact that I got that Klout perk, in the middle of my free trial, but they did, anyways, once I contacted their Customer Service dept which was awesome.
I won’t take it personal, it’s just to your benefit, if you let me refer you to Next Issue, as it increases your free trial period from one month to two months. Regardless, if you want more info and then to decide if you want to try the app on your computer or tablet, check out the website http://www.nextissue.com for more information about the app as well as the catalog of magazines that are available.
I also found out about the app called Zinio for Libraries. That is FREE. It works with your library card. And you can use it on both a computer, tablet or phone. I only know how it works with computers and android devices. For Ipad/Apple peeps, you will have to do some research as I know nothing about Apple products and when I tried to find the Ipad version of Google Play store on my daughter’s Ipad, last Saturday, I had a lot of trouble figuring it out .
What I like about Zinio for Libraries, is that it has Reader’s Digest available (I still may get a printed subscription to RD, because it’s right now on sale for $7) and it’s not available on Next Issue. However magazines like People and Coastal Living aren’t available through Zinio for Libraries. And because my space is at a premium, it’s nice to have reduce the amount of clutter, as well as I love that in a 7 inch tablet, I have an enormous amount of things to read, on the go.
If you love to read books and whether or not you have a Kindle or Kindle app, there’s also OverDrive for Libraries. This works great for people who are on a limited budget and can’t afford to buy any or a lot of books electronically.
Also there is 3M Cloud Library which works similarily as OverDrive. I found many free online resources, also available through my county library and I have access both with my library card and my boyfriend’s, as he’s in a different county than I am. But there’s a lot of free digital resources with different libraries, across the United States. Some can be used for both entertainment and educational purposes so check with your own local library.
For music, I have access to Freegal. While there is a Freegal app for movies, both Hennepin County (where I live) and Dakota County (where bf lives ) here in Minnesota, doesn’t have access to that.
For music that I pay for, I LOVE my Google Play music account. For under $11 a month, I have access to a ton of music (as I can’t afford to pay for music per song). It also not just lets me watch You Tube with no ads, but allows me to download music videos to listen/watch offline, so I don’t use up, precious data when I’m not at home or don’t have a secure internet connection.
Note: Next Issue allows one account to be used on 5 devices, but you can’t personalize account preferences if you share the app) However Google Play, only allows it to be used on one device at a time. For me, I use it enough, both at home and when I’m out and about, exercising, that I’m kind of selfish with, and I don’t share that with anyone.
I also have Netflix, as I can’t personally afford cable and I share my account with my daughter and boyfriend and that allows it to be used on a maximum of 6 devices but only 2 people at a time can stream. Given the fact that boyfriend and my daughter have access to satellite, it’s not much of an issue for me, if not being able to access Netflix when I want to. I’m also lucky though, now that I have a tablet, that I can access both DirectTv (parents have service with them)and Dish Anywhere ( boyfriend has service with them) as well as I have a SmartTv, that I got as a gift, when I moved to the apartment I currently reside at, from my parents. I am also lucky enough to have a 42 inch regular tv, that’s currently at my boyfriend’s house (I have a “girl cave” there and bought the tv when I got my SSDI backpay in 2010 and because it took almost 3 years to get SSDI, I ended up getting quite a bit of money in backpay, so I’m putting out there, even though I’m digressing with this, and I’ve mentioned in past blogs, that if you are in need of SSI/SSDI and need support, please feel free to contact me, it’s a long arduous process and it didn’t help that I had no support even though I had a free resource to fight for SSDI, it made things that much worse for my children and I) and if you’ve read previous blogs of mine, for someone who had absolutely nothing 6 years ago and had to start all over again, I’m pretty grateful for what I have.
But if you have a library card, it’s worth checking into the multitude of applications that are free, that are associated with your local library and if you don’t have a library card, it may be worth getting.
For low income persons and/or families , there are resources for inexpensive internet. Because I live in the metro area of the Twin Cities, I got through Pcs for People (www.pcsforpeople.com) it also serves some of the Greater Minnesota area. For more information about free internet in the United States, try these internet sites: https:// everyoneon.org and http://www.internetforallnow.org/ . I pay $40 every 3 months for internet now, compared to paying that monthly, going through Pcs for People. They also have low cost computers. But my personal advice is, that if at all possible, for how limited warranties are through non profits that offer computers, tablets and netbooks, you are almost better off, if at all possible, of buying these devices, new. Sometimes though you can get through these devices, FREE, from a nonprofit, so do your research. Or you can ask me for help and I’ll try to assist as best as I can.
For free or low cost cellular service: http://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/states . I did let my free phone lapse, when I got my smart phone, 17 months ago. I haven’t decided of whether or not to reapply as it might be prudent, if I’d lose my phone, to have a 2nd phone for back up. I can justify having a low cost smartphone, as for $60 a month, I have unlimited minutes for talking and texting (which I don’t use very often, due to my disabilities) and 3 gb of hi speed data, which I utilize in helping me, enjoy working out more, using my Google Play music app.
I also have a Fitbit Zip (which I was able to afford when I got my $25 reward for 6 months of service from Target) . I was able to afford Fitbit Zip (there is also free fitness/health trackers applications such as MapMyWalk, Runkeeper, Sparkpeople, etc and they can usually be synced with fitness devices i.e Fibit, Garmin, etc), when starting out with Brightspot and they offered a $25 Target gift card, for every 6 months of service. Unfortunately, Target is phasing out Brightspot, as well as the every 6 month $25 reward, but they do have pay as you go affordable plans for smartphones from T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon, as well as few other carriers. It’s worth doing some research on.
I picked though Brightspot vs. Walmart’s Straight Talk, because at the time I got my phone, Brightspot had a better deal for data. But as I’ve said, a lot is changing with Target, so do research to find what would work best for you, with your particular circumstances.
I happen to use Groupon, Restaurant.com, for when dining out on occasion. I know there are more resources out there for social events. For on rare occasion times, that I like to go out and try a new restaurant, I find “happy hours” to be a good deal vs. eating lunch or dinner, as well as I belong to most Facebook pages and/or e-clubs for my favorite places I like to eat out at. In addition to getting a lot of free stuff for birthdays, for example, because people don’t have the discretionary income they used to, you can save a lot of money, dining out by joining these e-clubs, some also have reward programs, too. Also because of my belonging to local Facebook business pages for hospitality services , I’ve won free nights at a nice casino hotel and free play tickets. I’ve had friends though win lots of things, such as clothing items, beauty products, etc.
Because I’m disabled and can’t drive again, I do have on my Minnesota Identification card, that identifies I’m permanently disabled, that allows me lower cost public transportation. While I have in my disability waiver, to get public transportation for free (there’s been a glitch for that the last 2 months) I’ve been paying 75 cents vs $1.75 to $3.00. So if you can’t drive again or if you can drive but can’t afford a car, and are of limited income and/or have permanent medical/mental health disabilities, it might worth checking with your local county office or a social service agency and/or non profit, on inexpensive or free ways to travel via public transportation.
Also it’s always worth checking if you belong to AAA, AARP, or you are current or formerly military, as well as if you are a student, for discounts on products and/or services.
Also for those who have permanent medical and/or mental health disabilities, it’s worth checking in for resources for socialization, either with a local non profit social service agency or local community drop in center. While I don’t use them currently, I did when I was in the system, I was able to get free tickets to local sporting events, as well for those who are of extremely limited means, as well as those who don’t have a lot of friend and/or family support, they have social events, holiday parties, etc. They also usually have social workers to help with finding affordable housing and resources to help those with medical and mental health barriers, for housing retention, food shelves, medical and dental care. Also in my case, my disability waiver allows me food delivery from either Mom’s Meals or Meals on Wheels. I try not to take advantage of services that I wouldn’t use, as I’m a picky eater, so I don’t use that, but that could help someone else in need who’s disabled but not a senior citizen. And I do get help with grocery shopping both from my disability waiver and from my boyfriend, because my disabilities can sometimes keep me homebound, for extended periods of time, especially in the Winter months, although my medical health issues do effect my ability to get out all year round. Also my disabilities also make it hard for me to cook anything remotely elaborate, as well as my cute studio is small, and I’m limited in storage for food items. So sometimes it’s cheaper, convenient and easier for me, for how much time I spend alone, with disablilities that I have, to go out to eat, to get variety in my diet, compared to those with families where it’s cheaper to get variety by cooking and/or eating at home (which I still eat at home, for most of my meals)
I know this was long and VERY disjointed. But it could help a lot of people. And I’m sure I’m missing a ton of resources. Feel free to add resources that you know about, in my comment section and/or feel free to privately message me.
I’m just writing what helps me,live a higher quality of life as for someone who is of limited income, while I live in affordable housing (it’s NOT Section 8, which I’ve had in the past and people need to lose their prejudices about it). In my case living in the State of MN, especially in the Twin Cities, where even where funding has been increased for Section 8, not enough property owners take it). But I don’t get anything for “free”, as far as food stamps, free health insurance, etc. My housing is not necessarily income based, but affordable (i.e. meaning there is income minimums as well as income limitations but someone could make a thousand dollars a month, more than I do, and still pay the same amount of rent)
For anyone in or not in acute crisis but if you need more resources, you can also try http://www.unitedway.org or https: www. 211.org …. Please pass this on though. I realize it wasn’t the easiest of reads, but I’m sure it could help someone you know in need of something, that is low cost or free and life enriching, if low income.
Also note: I know this was a blog that wasn’t the easiest of reads. I felt compelled to write it now, and publish it now, hoping to edit and/or reformat, in the future. I just figured though it was worth writing and publishing now, as it has a lot of valuable information that could help people now. I also have in other blogs, links for those who are actually in acute medical/mental health crisis.