5 smart digital life hacks to save you time, money and stress

Oct 3, 2021, 5:00 AM
(Unsplash Photo)...
(Unsplash Photo)
(Unsplash Photo)

My mother recently needed medical tests in another state. She asked me to carry her COVID vaccination card and said, “Be sure to put the card in a safe place where we can find it quickly.”

There’s a much better way to have proof of that fragile card.

I showed Mom first how to save her vaccination card on her phone. Then, I showed her how she could access that card in seconds. Tap or click here for the steps to store and access your vaccination card on your iPhone or Android.

I love figuring out digital life hacks. They make life easier, save you money or teach you a new party trick to amaze your friends. Speaking of saving money, tap or click here for eight proven ways to save on your streaming, cable and internet bills.

Now, if you love short tech tips, check out my daily 60-second Digital Tech Updates on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts, search for “Komando.” Here are five you’re going to use right away.

1. Find something you want to watch

Netflix has more than 15,000 titles, but now and then, you might find yourself saying, “There’s nothing on.” Netflix does an admirable job recommending what you might want to watch next based on your viewing habits.

If you think it’s not working for you, or maybe the recommendations are based on your ex’s love of thrillers, do this:

● Go to the Viewing Activity tab in your account settings.

● Delete individual films and shows you’re not into.

● You can also select Hide All to do a complete reset.

If you’re still endlessly scrolling, go straight to the Celebrate the Oscars section. It’s only the award winners, broken down by genre and popularity. You’re bound to get into more than a few movies or shows here. You can find a list of 2021 Emmy-nominated shows and specials, too.

2. Change your font and use less ink

Here’s something I bet you never thought about: The font that you pick for your documents determines how much ink or toner is consumed when printing.

Let’s start with the worst font: Arial. It gobbles up over 20% more of your ink than other fonts. Unfortunately, it’s probably the most common font used on web pages.

Now, the best font to use when printing is Times New Roman. You’ll get almost 30% more pages printed using Times New Roman over Arial. Coming in a close second is Calibri. The problem with this font is that it doesn’t come across as professional. Instead, you can use Century Gothic as an ink-saving font.

3. Skip the video and get directions from YouTube

Have you ever watched a YouTube video to get the steps to do something and the guy or gal goes too fast? YouTube generates a hidden written transcript for every single video uploaded to its website.

You can read exactly what the person in the video is saying and even copy and print it if you want. This secret is incredibly handy when you are getting DIY instructions.

To see a video’s transcript, open the video in YouTube and press the three dots or the more option underneath the video’s title. Choose Transcript from the dropdown menu. The only time you won’t get a transcript is if the video owner disabled it, but that hardly ever happens.

4. Know who is calling without looking at your phone

When your phone rings, you take it out of your pocket and look at the screen to see who it is. What a pain, especially when it’s a spam caller trying to sell you a car warranty. By giving your different contacts their own custom vibrations, you know from the discrete buzzes if this is a call you can’t miss or one you should ignore.

To set it up on your iPhone, go into your Contacts, tap the person’s name, select Edit and then Text Tones. Here you can select Vibrations from a list. Maybe you select the heartbeat vibration for your partner and for your kid away at school the alert vibration. While in this menu, you can also give each contact a custom ringtone and text alert sound.

If you’re using an Android phone, you can do the same for your contacts too. In your Contacts menu, select More and then Vibration Pattern. From now on, you’ll know exactly who is calling without picking up your phone.

Did you know calling back a strange number can confirm your place on a spam list? You should hide your number instead. Tap or click for five ways to get the job done.

5. Save 70% on Amazon purchases

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff that gets returned to Amazon? It ends up in a warehouse. Prime Day, coupons and Lightning Deals are great, but Amazon Warehouse can save you up to 70% year-round.

It’s not really promoted on the site, but it’s where you’ll find thousands of discounted items. I just saw an Instant Pot for only $50.

Here’s the catch: Amazon Warehouse products are used. Check the quality ratings, like “Renewed” (another word for “refurbished”) and the four levels of used: “Like new,” “Very good,” “Good” and “Acceptable.”

Now, be careful on that last one because your definition of “Acceptable” might differ from the seller’s. Pay attention to the return period, too.

If you have a Prime membership, there’s much more to take advantage of than free shipping. Tap or click for 20 of my favorite Prime perks.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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5 smart digital life hacks to save you time, money and stress