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3 Free Life-Improving Resources

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.”

 free stuff resources on computer screen with bright window background

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 things for you to consider. Chances are good you’ll find them downright awesome!

Featured Resources

Marco Polo

Marco Polo is a video chat app that combines the best of texting, social media, and video chats—all in one private, easy-to-use app—that brings you closer to the people who matter most. It’s not the same as FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom.

For example, even though you may not be with your grandchild, he can pick up the phone anytime and 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 and no hassles.

Is it social media?

It’s different from typical social media apps because Marco Polo 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.

Similar to video calls?

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

With no limits on length and video stored in the cloud, you have room for a full life, not a full phone!

Unlimited possibilities

You can talk to friends and family face-to-face, even if they aren’t iPhone users because Marco Polo works over WiFi anywhere in the world. No more time zone scheduling!

Marco Polo is designed to be for your closest friends and family. You can’t search and find anyone without their mobile number. Marco Polo is also ad-free and does not collect your data.

Marco Polo is free with unlimited groups and chats, no video length limit, notification controls, and no third-party ads.


It happens to all of us: we spend and soon wonder where our money went. It’s as if our bank account has a slow leak. It’s helpful to see where the money goes, but hoping to remember isn’t ideal. Mental tracking isn’t a reliable form of budgeting. This is where the use of a budgeting app is helpful.

The Goodbudget app is built on a classic budgeting method based on the tried-and-true envelope-budgeting approach. With this method, you allocate your paycheck and other income into specific expense categories or “envelopes” that you have designated funds for each specific expense. It’s such a great way to grow personal financial discipline.

This app stands out because it smoothly connects with different financial accounts like savings, checking, credit cards, loans, and investments. Goodbudget makes budgeting easy and helps you manage your money better. Plus, you can easily share, making it simple to work together on financial plans.

Built for iPhone, Android, and Web, there are both free and paid versions of this app available. The free version allows for one account, usage on two devices, and a limited number of envelopes. However, for those seeking more comprehensive features, the paid version, Goodbudget Plus, offers unlimited envelopes and accounts, usage on up to five devices, and other additional perks.

If you appreciate the simplicity and effectiveness of traditional budgeting methods but desire the convenience of digital tools, the Goodbudget app might be the perfect fit for you.

IKEA Hackers

Oh, this is fun! IKEA Hackers is a free website devoted to amazing ideas and how-tos for modifying and repurposing IKEA products. Think of IKEA Hackers as a place where IKEA hackers from all over the globe gather to share their ingeniousness. They submit their creations with the hope of providing alternative ideas for IKEA products.

The term “hacks,” as used at this site, may be as simple as adding an embellishment, some others may require power tools and lots of ingenuity. Think: Building a DIY home flight simulator using IKEA LACK tables!


Well, head on over to IKEA Hackers to find out what that’s all about. In the meantime, take a look at my favorite IKEA hack of all time.

Yes, this is my beautiful kitchen—built entirely by my husband. From demo to finish, this total remodel took only 10 weeks, working only nights and weekends. All of the cabinets featuring 46 pullout drawers, and 16 doors are from IKEA.

The hack? We didn’t buy the drawer or door fronts from IKEA. Instead, we ordered them custom and prepainted from a local company that custom builds doors, drawer fronts, and visible trim pieces to fit exactly IKEA’s line of cabinetry.


Question: Have you ever stumbled upon a truly free resource or app that exceeded your expectations? Let the EC community in on your secrets using the comments below.


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4 replies
  1. Linda Radosevich says:

    We redid our kitchen about 12 years ago, with IKEA cabinets. MY hubby did all the work (he had his doubts about the premade cabinets but as he installed them, became more and more impressed with how well they went together). I figure, if I ever get tired of white, I can replace the fronts pretty easily…as long as IKEA stays in business! By the way, Mary, what kind of oven is that, with the double doors?


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