Volume 1, Resources 1: Intro, Tax Help, & Putting Down Your Phone

So, last week I jumped right into the newsletter with a meaty post. My plan is to deliver one of those to your inbox every other week. For the weeks in between, I’ll be putting on my librarian cape and giving you a couple resources that I think are worth sharing. Whenever I go to a paid structure for this newsletter, the “meaty” posts will be behind the pay wall, but the resources will remain public and free as I believe resources should be. Please feel free to share!

Also! My intent is to share resources that are available for free or cheap. If I share a book as a resource, I’ll link it in such a way that you can see if it’s at your local library.

Onto this week’s resources!

Resource 1: Actual Free Tax Help!

This first resource was SO HELPFUL for me when I most needed it. “AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers - especially those 50 and older - at nearly 5,000 locations nationwide.” This link takes you to their page where you can learn about the program, find out where it is near you (they’re at a lot of libraries, among other places), and tells you what documents to bring. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

Resource 2: Forest App

I will sing the praises of this mobile app until I am a literal corpse. It is also available as a Chrome extension, I believe. Here’s the short version: You install the Forest app. You set the timer on the app for whatever amount of time you want to stay off your phone. When you press start, it plants a tree and starts the countdown. The tree grows as long as you leave your phone alone, but if you close the app and open, say, Facebook, your phone will give an alarm for a couple seconds and if you don’t close Facebook immediately and open Forest back up, YOUR TREE WILL DIE.

I’m trying to be more deliberate about how I use my phone and that means not checking Twitter every 3 minutes or scrolling through Instagram for so long that I lose track of time. Forest helps me keep off of social media.

But don’t worry, there’s a whitelist! You can “whitelist” apps that are okay to open while your tree is growing. So, I can totally text or listen to an audiobook or music while using the Forest app, but I can’t check my social media.

You earn virtual coins that you can spend on a variety of fun plants to plant:

You can also use the coins to plant actual trees somewhere (Forest partners with Trees for the Future). Obviously, from the image above, I can plant all kinds of silly things. Mostly I plant candy trees.

Here’s a screen shot of my entire forest I planted over the course of January 2020:

I use Forest when I should be reading, working, doing housework, writing, or literally anything else that isn’t scrolling through Twitter.

There is a free version with ads and a “pro” version for $1.99. Apparently in the pro version we can make teams and a team leader can plant a tree on everyone’s phone and wow I should never be given that sort of power.

That’s it for this week! If you enjoy this free resource email, feel free to buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com/theinfophile.

**EDIT** After I sent this out, I learned that the iOS version of Forest does not have a free version (Android does, or at least did). It is $1.99. Also, the iOS version does not support whitelisting, apparently? Android definitely does.

Share Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice