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30 Tips & Tricks


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Tips and Tricks for Saving Money on your Computing

Tips and Tricks for Saving Money on your Computing

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  • 1. 28 Tips & Tricks to Save $$ Using Your Computer Steven Kieley July 7, 2009
  • 2. Revive your Old PC • It still might save you some money • Older PC’s, while too slow for speeds that we’ve gotten used to, can still be useful and save us from buying other technology • Fitted out with a new operating system and used as a single-purpose machine, you won’t notice its age
  • 3. Revive your Old PC • Wipe the hard drive and install Linux – Makes an old Pentium feel like a dual-core PC • Convert it into a DVR by adding a TV tuner – Install MediaPortal for free – Save the cable box monthly rental
  • 4. OR…. • Plug your old PC into a router • Add a TV tuner card • Install MediaPortal software • Record your favorite TV shows or download Netflix movies
  • 5. Buy Big Ticket Items Online • HDTV’s can be hundreds of $ cheaper online vs. big box stores, like Best Buy • 46” LCD as much as $500 cheaper • Check sites such as, • Sales tax savings alone may be as much as $200
  • 6. Buy Little Items Online • Bought a cable in a store recently? – 6’ HDMI cable can be $60-70 • sells same for $10 • sells two for $11 • PC World tests confirm same quality
  • 7. Stop Buying Music CD’s • Mall prices run around $15 • sells for $11 • MP3 store sells for $9 – Individual tracks as low as 99¢
  • 8. Buy Refurbished Hardware • Dell’s Outlet Store ( discounts some laptops by 25% • May have some cosmetic blemishes, but 90 day warranties • HP, Lenovo also have similar sites • Blu-Ray players, GPS devices, universal remotes all available (,,
  • 9. Wait! • Don’t do anything • Just go to or • Register and select an item • You’ll be notified when the price drops
  • 10. Sign Up • If you routinely shop at certain retailers, sign up for their email newsletters – Borders, eReader, others provide exclusive discounts for registered subscribers
  • 11. Save on Shipping • Go to to see which retailers are currently offering no-charge shipping • Or go to – Click on “stores & coupons” for alphabetical listing – Or type in “free shipping”
  • 12. Live Search for Savings • Go to for price comparisons on item you want – Sponsored by Microsoft – Cashback from participating stores – Actual site name has been recently changed to
  • 13. Don’t Print • “Print” only to PDF instead • • Free download • Save your paper and ink by “printing” to a file in your computer • Then send as an email attachment • Recipient does not need to have same software as you
  • 14. Print in Economy Mode
  • 15. Printing • Print two sheets on every page • Fonts are large enough to read easily
  • 16. Print Both Sides • For most programs: – Go to “print”, “properties”, “finishing”, “both sides”
  • 17. Use Third Party Ink • Often has been shown to yield more prints per cartridge than brand names • OK for printing text; may not be good for photo printing – Quality and fade-resistance probably less than name brands, but for printing short term documents, is adequate
  • 18. Get Rid of Cable • Download your shows via. the internet – Many are already on TV network websites – Other sites include: • • •
  • 19. Forget the TIVO • Use your computer – Windows Media Center already installed on newer PC’s – TV Tuner card costs $50-$100 – TIVO costs $150-600 plus monthly or annual fee
  • 20. Free Text Messages • Usually about $.20 per message • Telco plans cost about $5-$20 per month • one-way or two-way premium • two-way
  • 21. Manage Your Money without Spending it • Quicken and MS Money need periodic upgrading, if for nothing else, to get tech. support • imports Quicken files, does online-banking, imports stock quotes • Other web-based apps include: – –
  • 22. Pay Bills Online • Use automated bill pay through your bank – Most are completely free • Use Quicken or MS Money – May cost $9.95/month – Breakeven with 22 bills paid each month • Automated reminders may save late fees
  • 23. Worried About Security? Check for this
  • 24. Internet Security And this Also check for this Check for the green background in IE 7 & 8 (not just http)
  • 25. Internet Security • Use a virtual credit card account – Good only for single use or single vendor – Handy when you don’t want to have to remember to cancel a subscription • Use a card with a lower limit • Avoid using your checking account card – Credit cards allow more time to discover fraud – Important payments (mortgage, etc.) could bounce if overdrawn • Don’t shop over an unencrypted wireless network (including your own)
  • 26. Internet Security
  • 27. How the https Protocol Works
  • 28. Encryption
  • 29. Internet Security Better yet…. Take our course on computer safety
  • 30. Laptop Batteries • Don’t Overcharge – Constant charging reduces battery life • Will need replacement sooner – Pull the battery and use without it when possible – Fully discharge before recharging
  • 31. Cut Your Landline • Use VOIP instead – • Free computer to computer calls anywhere in world • Includes video • Low charges for calling a landline phone – • $199/year ($16.58/month) • Keep existing number • Caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding
  • 32. Dirt-Cheap International Calls • – Check it out via. the internet – Use your current cell phone without any changes – Currently for i-phone, Blackberry and Nokia users only; others being added – Eliminates Skype phone charges to landline phones – International calls costs a few cents per minute – 97% discount over AT&T charges
  • 33. Add a Second Line • Save on phone company charges • – Free voicemail – Caller ID – Local & Long Distance – $20/year
  • 34. Free Slingbox • What’s Slingbox? – Watch your TV or computer files everywhere • Go to • Enjoy all your computer’s files on any other device • Watch your TV on other devices • Save the cost of a Slingbox ($179 & up)
  • 35. Create charts, diagrams, floor plans? • Microsoft Professional Visio costs about $559 • Standard version is about $259 • is free • $5/month for ad-free version
  • 36. Use Open Source Software • OpenOffice takes the place of MS Office • can replace Photoshop • Linux can replace Windows
  • 37. Try It Before You Buy It • Such as can be obtained from • One stop shopping for downloads • Judge the quality of the download by the number of previous downloads • Steer your way past numerous misleading attempts to pay for more costly alternatives
  • 38. Burn CD’s If You Have to • Don’t buy Nero or Easy Media Creator • Use • Open Source software
  • 39. Want to Learn More? Check us out at The Computer Learning Center at Ewing 999 Lower Ferry Road