Category: Shopping Tools

Cloud Backup or Storage, What’s the Use?

Cloud backup or storage use

Thinking about using cloud backup or storage services, but confused about what “cloud” computing is? “Cloud computing” conjures up images like the one on the left. But it simply refers to accessing technology services offered by providers via the internet instead of buying and maintaining your own hardware or software.   Protect your data against these threats Years ago my daughter spilled an entire cup of coffee on her laptop. All of her photos were gone. I found a service to restore most of them to a CD and surprised her with it on Christmas morning. Her tears of joy were well worth the substantial amount of time and money spent. These days our computers are threatened by more than a cup of coffee. For example: Computer theft Computer failure Natural disasters like floods and earthquakes Ransomware, malware and hacker attacks Fire What to back up Take a look at the content on your computer. What data would you hate to lose? Everyone uses their devices differently, but here are the files I make sure to back up: Photos Music library Financial records and budget Emergency information Family history Travel info Household inventory Tax return copies Health records Contacts Business files Instructions for various […]

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Wrap Up Your Gift Shopping the “New Normal” Way

gift shopping

I usually wait until December to switch from “Thanksgiving” to “Christmas” mode. That includes thinking about gifts and decorating my home for the holidays. But his year, across San Francisco, homeowners are putting up holiday lights earlier than ever. Like the song, it seems We Need a Little Christmas Right Now! Inspired by the neighbors, I trimmed my windows with a profusion of icicle lights yesterday. Merry Thanksgiving. Come Friday I hope these tips help you with your holiday gift shopping. How to get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday In the past, Black Friday was the best day to snag great deals at the mall. Cyber Monday was best for online specials. Like so many other things this year, the way we shop has changed. As a result, many online retailers as well as “brick and mortar” stores have jumped the gun and offer “Black Friday” specials throughout November and December. To get the most out of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, see radiotimes.com. Making a list and checking it twice Coming up with gift ideas for everyone on your list at once can be overwhelming. Try keeping a “gifts” folder in your files. Make note of […]

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Sustainable Seafood Lists for You

sustainable seafood guide

I love seafood. But many species are threatened by overfishing and climate related changes. So when I shop for seafood or peruse the menu at my favorite restaurant, I try to choose only sustainable species. The list of what’s sustainable and what’s not changes over time. So I depend on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, which provides updated lists online.   Want to know what seafood is sustainable? There’s an app for that! Whether ordering sushi or standing in front of the fish counter at your market trying to decide what to have for dinner, the Seafood Watch app helps you make a responsible choice. The app categorizes species as “Best Choice,” “Good Alternatives” or “Avoid.” Search your app store for Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. You can download it free for your smartphone (IOS or Android). Download this free printable seafood list for your wallet. You can also download a printable wallet-size guide to sustainable seafood at the Seafood Watch website.  They offer a variety of guides to responsible choices including national, west coast and sushi. You can even download lists based on the state in which you live or are traveling. Just for fun. Clearly, there’s nothing funny about […]

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Printable Grocery List Saves Trips to the Store

printable grocery list

I’ve been using printable grocery lists for years. When I’m in a hurry (almost always!) my handwriting is so bad no one can read it, including me. Because the list reminds me of basic needs, we rarely run out of things. That saves extra trips to the store, which is especially important these days. I use button-style magnets to attach the list and a pen to the refrigerator. When someone uses the last of anything they circle it. On grocery day all I have to do is remember to grab the list on my way out the door. Why use a grocery list? So you don’t run out of staples To minimize trips to the grocery store To save time at the store So someone else can do the shopping Here’s a printable grocery list you can personalize If you use Microsoft Word, you should be able to download, personalize and print the list. To save time, I organize my list in the order things are found in the grocery store. No backtracking because I passed the peanut butter two aisles ago! If someone else does your grocery shopping you can add brand, size and other preferences. I print several […]

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Help With Your Gift List

person in Santa Hat holding a long gift list

If you could use some help with your gift list, you’ve come to the right place. And you’re not alone! In spite of good intentions, I’m way behind this year. Things just happen. Because of some tech problems with my computer and the HabiLinks website, I’ll have to wait until next week to finish shopping. Meanwhile, whether you’re almost done or desperate for last minute ideas, here are some tips to help you finish checking off your gift list. Making a list and checking it twice. If your gift list looks anything like the one in the picture, consider shortening it. Just because you and your 3rd cousin have exchanged gifts in the past, doesn’t mean you have to continue. Create a “Gifts” file to keep track of ideas and what you give through the years. Dad can only use so many ties. I keep sizes in the file too. Adults expand and contract. And kids seem to outgrow clothes overnight! Think about recipients’ hobbies and interests then click on over to Gifts.com. The site will give you ideas based on gender, age, interests and the occasion. You can order things on the spot. But even if you don’t buy […]

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Quick Gift Ideas

quick gift ideas

Need quick gift ideas? You’ve come to the right place. Gifts don’t need to be fancy or expensive. Any gift with a personal touch will be appreciated. Time is running short, but here are some ideas to help check off those last items on your shopping list. Music: CD’s or gift certificates for online digital music sources such as iTunes. Gourmet foods and spices: A selection from the specialty foods section of your market. Everyone has to eat! Books: Buy online or take your shopping list to your local independent book store. Donate to a friend or family member’s favorite charity in their name. Subscriptions: Give a subscription to a magazine based on their interests. Cooking, sports, stamp collecting…you get the idea. Buy a current edition and wrap it up with a note. Gift certificates: Consider giving a gift certificate for something they wouldn’t splurge on themselves. You’ll find gift certificates or cards for stores and services at many websites, supermarkets and pharmacies. You could also make your own gift certificates.  How about a babysitting gift certificate for your adult children? Or a gift certificate for an outing for an elderly (or not!) friend? Gift box: Out of time? Head […]

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Last Minute Gifts They Can Really Use

quick gift ideas

  Need ideas for last minute gifts they can really use? Shopping for gifts online is a great time-saver. But if it’s getting a little late to depend on delivery by the holidays there’s still time to come up with thoughtful gifts. They don’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Consider combining several small gifts from your nearby big box store, pharmacy or deli. Does the recipient take lots of road trips? Wrap up a thermal coffee cup and an over-the-seat car organizer. For someone who “has everything” consider edibles like a collection of exotic spices or gourmet sauces from the deli. Everyone has to eat! You can get gift certificates or cards for a store or service at many large supermarkets, pharmacies and websites. You can also make your own personal gift certificates.  How about a gift certificate for babysitting for your adult children? Or a gift certificate for an outing for an elderly friend? If you still have time, check out the Gift Giving topic in the Social Life & Society section of Habilinks, our web guide. You’ll find lots of ideas for gifts you can order online by just clicking on a link.

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