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The Couch Fort Files: Watch and Read for FREE?!

Here you sit in your favorite unicorn onesie, but something is missing.

You’ve perfected your fort. You’ve gathered your list. And suddenly it dawns on you: you don’t have Netflix! And you can’t even get to your library or Barnes & Noble!

You aren’t about to drop that sweet stimulus check on piles of books and online movie rentals. But you got so freakin’ excited when you added Derry Girls and Little Fires Everywhere to your own Couch Fort List.

How can you participate in the Couch Fort Project, without art to consume? Worry not! I don’t plan on letting your enthusiasm go to waste, dear friend.

I put together a list of the best resources and free trials that I could find.

That’s right: watch and read FOR FREE.

You deserve to devour as much as you want for at least a month and not pay a dime. NARY A DIME, I SAY! Let’s explore your options, but first!

I’m going to assume that for the purposes of the Couch Fort Files, you want to indulge in as much free content as possible (cuz like, of course you do).

But: don’t get caught in the Free Trial Remorse Cycle. That’s a thing. I just made it up, but it is a thing, and you know it.

Free trials are a delight, but they are literally designed to make you forget when you started.

Then, suddenly, a $4.99 Kindle Unlimited charge shows up on your Visa statement. Oooops – there’s the remorse I was talking about. Let’s avoid any surprise spending, yes? I’m talking to you, my ADHD friends.

*raises hand, waves wildly*

I have a plan for that too. Grab these supplies and meet back here.

  • A Post-It note or cute notebook,
  • A favorite pen or marker,
  • Your library card,
    • If you don’t have one, you should find out if you can get one. Even if your library is currently closed to the public, you probably still can apply for one online. My library is still opening up new accounts and getting people registered for cards!
  • Your credit or debit card.

Great! Now title your Post-It “Free Trial Tracker”.

When you sign up for a free service, write the name of it and the date your trial will end on your Post-It or in your notebook.

Then immediately double-check that your account isn’t set to Auto-Renew.

And add the date to your Planner or Reminders app or Calendar.

Now that we’re protected against Free-Trial-Remorse, let’s have some fun.

I’ve divided the free resources into…

Free with your Library Card:

Everyone’s library is different, so you’ll need to go to your local library’s website to see what’s available to you (my library lists them on their eLibrary page). Keep that library card handy, as you’ll need to type in your card number for access. You can also search for your library directly from the resources themselves.

Each of the following is available as a phone or tablet app (check your app stores), or you can access them from a web browser.

  • Libby
    • eBooks
    • eAudiobooks
    • Limited selection of movies
  • Axis 360
    • eBooks
    • eAudiobooks
  • Hoopla
    • eBooks
    • eAudiobooks
    • TV shows
    • Movies
    • Music
  • Kanopy
    • Indie and prestige movies
    • Documentaries
  • Flipster
    • Magazines

Popular Streaming Services:

YouTube is mostly free already, which is great! A couple of recommended channels?

Online streaming choices can feel like navigating the wild west, and there are lots with free trials. Here’s a rundown of my top picks:

30-Day Free Trials
  • Netflix
    • Movies
    • TV
    • Netflix originals
  • Amazon Prime
    • Includes FREE Two Day shipping,
    • Prime Video,
      • Movies
      • TV
      • Amazon Originals
    • Prime Music,
    • Access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
    • Audible and more
  • Hulu
    • Movies
    • TV, including many day-after-broadcast TV shows
    • Hulu originals
  • Kindle Unlimited, which is separate from Amazon Prime – borrow up to 10 eligible Kindle Unlimited titles at a time.
    • eBooks
    • eMagazines
    • eAudiobooks
  • IFC Films Unlimited, but you must have a login to either Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV to access this streaming channel.
    • Indie film
    • Prestige movies
    • Documentaries and more
14-Day Free Trials
  • Crunchyroll
    • Amazing selection of anime (and I have recommendations on where to start if you need them)!
7-Day Free Trials
  • Disney+
    • Movies, including the entire Star Wars and Marvel movie catalogs as well as your favorite Disney films stretching way back to the ’50s and ’60s
    • TV shows, including tons of nostalgic Disney channel and ABC favorites
    • Disney+ original movies and TV shows, like The Mandalorian
  • Apple TV+
    • Apple TV+ originals and exclusive content
    • Ability to link, organize, and search your other subscription channels
    • GOOD NEWS: if you already have an Apple device, you could be eligible for a one-year free trial of Apple TV+
  • HBO Go

So, dressing up in your best unicorn onesie was not in vain.

There are so many options available to you right now – way more than I’ve listed here. But these are my favorites. 

If I’m missing any of YOUR favorite resources or free trials, comment below and let me know. And if you’re full of amazing resources yourself, or want to chat with other Couch Fort Pioneers, come to my Facebook group and share with us, your fellow pop culture brethren.

Love and freebies,


Katie Meyers

Katie writes, sings and creates her way through life from her home outside of Chicago, with the help and supervision of her two cats. Katie publishes on the Calming Creative website, to create a cozy corner of the internet where creative people like her can get together without judgement or pressure - and calmly create.
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