Gadget culture means people are obsessed with their mobiles and entertainment devices. But gadgets are not just a good way to spend your money, they can help save it too. From 2009, The Irish Times.
Title: 10 Gadgets That Could Save You Money
1. Save on home heating with The Oxyvent Tank
An Irish invention that’s hot right now, the Oxyvent Tank improves the efficiency of your central heating by eliminating air-locks.
Recent scientific studies by Trinity College Dublin indicate that the Oxyvent Tank can provide 30%-50% energy savings in home heating.
That’s a cosy EUR240 or more siphoned off of a typical EUR800 fill of home heating oil.
The Oxyvent Tank costs EUR900, plus installation (1 day). Available direct from www.oxyvent.com.
2. Free TV with Freesat
Since 2008, channels from BBC, ITV, Channel 4 plus 140 others (see www.freesat.co.uk) have been available in Ireland via satellite.
Picture quality is good, although the programme guide could be better. Unfortunately, RTE TV have no plans to broadcast via Freesat.
Put an end to TV bills (typically from EUR260 p.a.) and to frustrating Help desk calls to your service provider.
3. Deflate telephone bills with Skype Out and a headset
Skype is well-known for its ability to make free voice and video calls between computers, but it also allows you to call landlines and mobiles cheaply with Skype Out.
Just purchase credit from the Skype website to begin saving bucket-loads on national and international calls.
Using a headset (from EUR12), the quality is acceptable, especially when you consider how the pennies stack up. At a flat rate of 1.7c per minute, you can chat anytime for an hour to someone on the phone in Stockholm or Skibereen for EUR1. Texts only 9c.
Depending on your usage, Skype Out on its own could repay your broadband investment. See www.skype.com. See www.skype.com.
4. Save gym fees with a Wii and My Fitness Coach
The latest best-selling fitness franchise for the Wii, My Fitness Coach (IGN review) is not really a game and doesn’t even require the Wii Fit Balance Board.
Maya, your personal trainer, computes your vital information and creates a tailored exercise program to suit you. She then motivates your home fitness routines (without shouting, thankfully) and monitors your progress. My Fitness Coach, EUR26.99 from www.cdwow.ie, (plus Wii, from EUR239.99 at Smyths/www.toys.ie) replacing gym fees, from EUR625 p.a.
5. Save batteries with Reelight magnetic dynamo lights
6. Smart power with Standby Saver
Standby-Saver was the first product ever to win the backing of all four Dragons on BBC’s Dragon’s
Den when it appeared in 2007. This clever plug board redeems a small fortune on wasted electricity by automatically powering-down your home entertainment appliances to zero, so you don’t have to. Versatile and good value at STG19.99 (plus P&P), it can recoup the investment in six months.
Best buy: Two at www.energybulbs.co.uk
7. Free computer stuff
There’s often a free download that’s just as good as branded software. OpenOffice.org provide top-notch free office applications which even allow you to send finished work around in PDF and Microsoft formats.
Clamwin is a trusted anti-virus tool which, together with WinPatrol (pic left), can help your PC fight off computer-nasties instead of commercial utilities. Available free from www.download.com.
8. Rechargeable Batteries
If you use a lot of remote-controls in your home then it makes sense to invest in rechargeable batteries. Chargers start from EUR15, various batteries EUR5 for four from Lidl. Kids and gamers take note.
Learn how to Do-It-Yourself with video tutorials from www.videojug.com and www.popular-mechanics.com. Clearly explaining repairs and patches of every description, the short videos will help you fix most daily problems in jig time and make good use of that hammer-gadget.
10. Internet Super Savers
Like any retailer, Amazon offers end-of-line sales. Use the Deallockersearch tool to rummage through the gigantic bargain bins on the world’s largest retail website: deallocker.com/tool/secret-amazon-discount/
(Copyright 2009 by Kevin Casey)