Best deals for Black Friday
Q. This Black Friday, I’m hitting the stores. Do you have any insider knowledge about what’s going to be on sale?
A. Laptops and TVs are going to be the hottest big-ticket items this year. Be sure to look for bundles that include store gift cards. Watch the terms of the gift cards closely. Some have expiration dates or other limitations. Some stores will be open Thanksgiving Day. There also are online-only deals. Every year, companies create Black Friday ads listing their big deals. Although these are supposed to go out on Thanksgiving, they usually leak in advance. Click here for the leaked Black Friday ads for Amazon, Best Buy, Dell, Target and more.
Get the best prices on amazon.com
Q. I’m starting to make Christmas shopping lists and I’ve noticed that prices for items on Amazon.com go up and down. How can make sure I get the lowest price?
A. CamelCamelCamel is a site that tracks Amazon prices, with an interesting twist. You can add items to your shopping list and the site will notify you when the price drops. You can also see a price trend graph that shows the general price range of the item over time. But did you know you can also get availability alerts, text shipment alerts and share your Prime account with family members so they get free shipping too? Click here for these and more insider tips only the pros know when shopping on Amazon.com.
Legitimate work-at-home jobs
Q. I just had a baby and want to stay home with her, but I really need a job. Are there any jobs I can do at home that will actually make me money?
A. Congratulations! With a newborn in the house, I would say most phone-based at-home jobs are likely off the table. Instead, look for typing-based jobs like search engine evaluation (basically a mystery shopper for websites) or medical transcriptions. Click here to learn about legitimate work-at-home jobs.
Spotty Wi-Fi fixes
Q. I can stream Netflix to my laptop, no problem, in my living room. But in my bedroom on the other side of the house, it slows to a crawl. Do you know what’s going on?
A. It’s likely that your router isn’t strong enough to send a good signal to your bedroom. In that case, get a Wi-Fi extender and put it in the middle of your home. You might also have a neighbor near that side of the house whose Wi-Fi network is conflicting with yours. To find out easily, grab a free program like Vistumbler. It gives you full details on every Wi-Fi network in range, including signal strength and channel. Click here for download and usage instructions.
Speed up a slow smartphone
Q. My smartphone is slowing down, which might be because the storage space is almost full. Do you think that’s it? How do I fix it?
A. Like any computer, a smartphone is just going to slow down over time as it gets filled with more information. To free up space, try removing any apps you no longer need. In Android, this is done under Settings>>Apps or App Manager. Tap an app and then tap “Uninstall.” For iPhone, tap and hold an app icon on the home screen until it wobbles, then hit the “X” to delete the app. Of course, there’s still hidden stuff on your gadget that can also take up space. Click here for step-by-step details on how to clear your phone’s cache, search history, call logs and more.