By Kim Komando
Gifts you shouldn’t buy
Q. I’m thinking of buying my wife an Apple Watch for Christmas. Good idea or bad idea?
A. Bad idea. People either love or hate the Apple Watch, and at $349 minimum, it’s an expensive gamble. The same is true of other smartwatches and fitness bands. Unless she specifically asked for one and was clear on the model and band style, go with something else. Learn about two more types of gadgets that aren’t the best and two specific products you need to avoid. And be sure check out the Q&A here to learn about this year’s hottest gifts.
Save big on Christmas purchases
Q. I don’t have a lot of money for presents this year. What’s a good way to make every dollar count?
A. Be sure to use coupons and promo codes for every purchase, both online and offline. These can net you straight savings, special deals and free shipping. It’s easy to find promo codes. There are specialty websites that collect and post money-saving deals. Click here to discover three of those sites and start saving today.
Before you travel …
Q. When I travel, I usually have a friend stop by to pick up mail and check on things. She isn’t available for my next trip. How should I handle mail and security?
A. You can put a hold on your mail on the Postal Service’s website. As for safety, you can put a light on a timer or get a gadget that simulates having the TV on for a few hours a night. That way it looks like someone is still at home. Get more tips for keeping your home safe while you’re away, and some things not to do.
Safety on the go
Q. My daughter likes to go running. What app or gadget can I get her to help keep her safe?
A. The best thing would be a running companion or a large dog. The next best thing is an app called Companion (Android, Apple; free). It lets you keep an eye on her location and signals an alert if she falls or changes her usual path. Plus, in an emergency, it plays loud alarm noises that she can use to signal for help.Learn more about apps and cool hardware anyone can use to improve their safety.
A great gift for budding engineers
Q. I’m looking for a gift for my son who likes to build things. He likes Legos but I want to expand his horizons. What would you suggest?
A. Check out the LittleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit (Amazon, $200). It includes 15 electronic building blocks that can be combined to build 12 different projects. Your son can easily combine the parts to create things like an automatic bubble blowing machine or a remote control race car. Click here for more of this year’s hottest gift suggestions for kids, along with gifts that moms and dads will love as well.
Bonus: Tools for getting ahead in business
Q. In 2016, my goal is to build a business, and I’m having trouble getting organized. What are some ideas?
A. Grab a book called “Organize Tomorrow Today” by Dr. Jason Selk, Tom Bartow and Matt Rudy (Amazon, $22). It outlines eight steps to become better organized and maximize your time. Plus, they give tips to train yourself to be more confident, energetic and focused. When you’re done with that, here are four more business-focuses books you should read. Good luck! I started my own national radio network and web company 20 years ago and it’s been a great adventure!
On the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show, Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.