It’s so easy to get sucked into buying the latest and greatest technology. One of my goals is to empower you to get the most out of the technology you already have. Take Amazon Prime.
If you’ve signed up to take advantage of this year’s Prime Day sales, don’t miss out on all the benefits your membership has to offer. Tap or click to access my favorite hidden Prime perks, including free unlimited full-resolution photo storage and 5GB video storage.
Of course, gifts are always great. We regularly collect all the tech upgrades you can get without paying a dime. Tap or click for 15 freebies you’ll use, from free desktop software to free audiobooks.
The savings in technology time and money tend to go unnoticed. Here are five that I think you’ll love:
1. Keep your phone number forever
Think about everything related to your number. You have probably signed up for many services over the years using it. Your cell phone number is connected to your bills and it obtains two-factor authentication codes for you to sign in to different accounts.
The easiest way to keep an old number is to port it to Google Voice for a fee of $ 20. Just make sure you do this before changing numbers with your carrier.
Not all providers or phone numbers are eligible, but it’s worth checking out. You will need your account number and PIN, so have your billing account information handy.
2. Easy shortcuts for smarter sound
If you spend a lot of time writing, you already know Grammar, the tool that helps you solve grammar, spelling, punctuation and clarity problems. The free version of the browser extension is worth the download. The paid version, Grammarly Premium, gives you even more guidance. To save money, go for the annual payment option.
If you have commas and clear spelling and need help with readability, see Hemingway. This free online editor analyzes your writing to help make it clearer and more understandable.
Paste a few paragraphs on Hemingway’s website and you will understand what I mean. It highlights hard-to-read sentences, passive voice, and other mistakes that make your writing difficult to understand. The web version is free, but you cannot save your work. The desktop app has a one-time cost of $ 19.99.
Do you often have trouble finding the right words? Wordtune is excellent in a pinch. Type in a phrase and you will see several options to get your message across in a different way. Try this one the next time you write a difficult email or find yourself at a loss for words.
3. Know that your packages are safe and sound
If you’re worried about packages being stolen, Amazon can give you a little more peace of mind. One of the most popular is Amazon Key, which allows delivery drivers to drop packages inside your door, garage, or home.
It works thanks to the smart locks and smart garage door openers you install. Amazon gives your delivery person access via a wireless key. Home delivery is still on hold due to the pandemic. To use garage delivery, you will need two things: a garage door opener compatible with the myQ app and the Prime membership.
the MyQ Chamberlain smart garage door opener is affordable and reliable. Being able to open or close your garage from anywhere is worth it.
Tap or click here for a garage delivery setup guide. It’s easy once you have the right equipment.
Don’t like the idea of someone coming to your house or garage? Set special instructions on your orders. I ask that all unbreakable items be thrown over the side door.
Your Amazon account needs a few tweaks to be as secure as possible. Tap or click for three essential settings to change now before you have any problems.
4. Get the highest Zestimate for your home
The real estate market is on fire across most of the country. Even if your home is not for sale, your home probably has a basic listing on Zillow.com. The most important part of this list is the estimated value of your home or Zestimate.
Zillow’s algorithms compare your homes to similar sales in your area. The Zestimate of a house has always been a point of contention. It’s apparently either on the mark or too low.
Obviously you want Zestimate to be as high as possible. To begin, register on Zillow and claim your home. Zillow obtains many facts about the home from public records such as lot size, square footage, and number of bedrooms, but those numbers aren’t always correct.
To increase your Zestimate, make sure the list is complete and accurate. Pay close attention to improvements that influence the value of the home, such as a renovation, a view, and extras like a pool or gated property. You can add a full description of your home as well as photos and videos. Be sure to complete the section called “What I like about this house”.
But be careful. Disclosing relevant details can give would-be thieves easy access. Don’t upload a floor plan or post photos that include big-ticket items or security system locations.
5. Share your home movies without Facebook
I hear callers on my national show all the time wanting to share home movies without using Facebook. Downloading and emailing is a major problem. The solution? Create a private YouTube channel.
It is quick, easy and free. When you’re ready to share, all you need to do is bond with your friends and family.
On YouTube, you’ll see two sharing options: private and unlisted. Private videos can only be viewed by those with whom you share a link. Unlisted means anyone can technically watch the video, but it won’t appear in search results or on your channel’s page.
ProPublica has obtained information from the IRS showing how billionaires like Bezos, Musk and Buffett pay little income tax compared to their enormous wealth – sometimes even nothing. I sat down with an experienced tax accountant who works with high net worth clients to get the scoop. In addition, we talked about special tax credits to reduce your taxes.
Discover all the latest technologies on the Kim Komando show, the country’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.