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You’re tech savvy, right? Use that and save yourself some money.

From fixing your own computers to making it a habit to understand why things break, you can use your love of tech to solve all sorts of problems.

Last year I let you know how a little tech knowledge could save you thousands How A Little Tech Knowlege Can Save You Thousands Every Year How A Little Tech Knowlege Can Save You Thousands Every Year A good chunk of your income goes to scheduled monthly expenses – and you're just barely keeping up. With a little tech savvy, you can get those expenses down and save thousands every year. Read More . I’ve been putting a lot of thought into that since – here’s a few ideas.

Fix Your Own Computers

This being a technology website, let’s start with something comfortable. When something goes wrong with your computer, don’t take it to the shop right away: try to figure out what’s gone wrong first. See if you can fix it.

If this sounds obvious, know that it isn’t obvious to everyone. Lots of people ask friends for help, or bring their computer into the shop, before they even try to work out what might be going on. But you’re a geek, so you want to solve the problem yourself.

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You read MakeUseOf regularly, you’ve got a head start: we’ve outlined all sorts of troubleshooting guides in the past. You’ve read about steps to take when you discover malware on your computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer We would like to think that the Internet is a safe place to spend our time (cough), but we all know there are risks around every corner. Email, social media, malicious websites that have worked... Read More , how to fix Windows issues by creating a new account Fix Windows Issues by Creating a New User Account Fix Windows Issues by Creating a New User Account Have you been troubleshooting a Windows issue to no avail? Creating a new user account could be your last resort. It's tricky, but we'll show you how to do it right. Read More , and ways to diagnose hardware problems when your computer won’t turn on How To Diagnose Hardware Problems When Your Computer Won't Turn On How To Diagnose Hardware Problems When Your Computer Won't Turn On Last week I showed you some of the simplest DIY repairs and upgrades that you can do yourself, but one reader asked how to diagnose which component was the problem. Today I’d like to walk... Read More .

Apply everything you’ve learned about computers over the year so you can play detective, and see if you can’t work out what’s wrong and how to fix it yourself.

Problem Around The House? Google It First

I worked in IT for years, and I’ve got a secret to share with you: most of the time we just Googled the problem. If there was a problem I’d run into before, I’d use my first hand knowledge. But a Windows PC is a complex animal, and there is seemingly no end to the number of ways something can go wrong.


But you know what else there is also seemingly no end of? Other people who have run into the exact same problem, many of whom found a solution on a forum or in the comments section of some blog.

Learning to fix computers was, for me, learning to search for the right thing so I could get exactly the information I needed. Usually the model of the computer, the problems that I’m having, and the error message. Nine times out of ten, a simple search would suffice, but enough people had trouble figuring this out that I was able to make a living at it.

If you fix computers regularly, you know all about this. But have you ever thought about using it for other problems?

I hadn’t. When the dishwasher in my new house managed to make dirty drinking glasses somehow even dirtier, my first inclination was to call a repairman. Then I remembered what it was like to be a repairman, to fix other people’s stuff, and wondered if I couldn’t figure out this problem myself.

One $20 part later, my dishwasher was good as new.

“Just Google it” is the least helpful advice imaginable, but we all forget it sometimes. That’s too bad, because if we can all make it a habit to find out own solutions, we stand to save a lot of money.

Measure Your Power Usage, Then Reduce It

Energy costs can add up quickly, but do you know where all your power is going? We’ve talked about ways to tell how much power your PC is using How Much Power Is Your PC Using? How Much Power Is Your PC Using? Computer power consumption can be estimated. Most of the components inside a PC have specific minimum and maximum power draw figures and, because quality control is so tight, it’s rare of a part to break... Read More , and you can use the same $20 Kill A Watt device mentioned in that article to find out how much power all the devices in your home are using.

Financial blogger Mr. Money Mustache outlined how he used this and other tools to track down electrical demons and save money. Read that article, because it’s the ultimate geek project: tracking down problems in a system and making sure that you optimize them. Even better, you’ll save money.

“With the right adjustments, your electric bill can be a trivial affair that feels like a small monthly reward for your thoughtful use, rather than a painful but necessary draining of your bank account.”  -Mr Money Mustache

Set Up Bill Reminders So You Don’t Miss Payments

Missing bill payments is a great way to lose money, not to mention damage your credit. That’s why it’s a good idea to set as many bills as you can to autopay, but when that’s not possible make sure you set up a reminder somewhere else. Set up a monthly reminder on Google Calendar, or wherever you keep track of your dates, to make sure you stay on top of any and all regular payments.

Help Your Friends And They’ll Help You


As you learn to fix more things yourself, you’ll become more helpful. Use that to help your friends.

If you learn a lot about how to fix computers, offer to help people out when they’ve got problems. You’ll get to spend time with them, and more importantly you’ll be making life better for one of your friends.

That’s a reward in and of itself, but they’ll probably want to help you out later. This isn’t to say that friendship is a contract: it isn’t. No matter what you do for a friend, they are not obligated to help you with something else later – especially the things they do for a living. But if you’re helpful, and if you’re kind, they’ll want to help you.

Learn skills, then share them. It’s old-fashioned, but it’s rewarding, and it works.

There’s So Much More You Can Do

Fixing your own computer is just one skill you can learn. The Internet gives you access to all of human knowledge, and it’s just a search away. The key trick here is to remember to use it.

We could go on. Couponing online can save you a lot of money How To Save Money By Couponing Online How To Save Money By Couponing Online While technology sometimes offers us entirely new options, it more commonly refines everyday life. Couponing is one example. People have been saving money with coupons for decades, but the proliferation of mobile Internet offers new... Read More , for example. So can ensuring you have the right habits How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits One of the top new year resolutions on many people's lists is to spend less and save more. It's easier said than done, but you can still rely on several apps and tools to help... Read More . But I want to know what tips you have.

Please share your geeky money-saving tips in the comments below.

  1. Colin
    August 7, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    It is also good to check different stores/sites for prices. Just saved over 200$ by checking on ebay for something we will need in time. Also saved a lot on repairs just by googling. It is easy to repair stuff if you can find out how to do it.

  2. JimD
    January 28, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Come on, guys. My browser link folder for Make Use Of is stuffed...unmanageable. A while ago I began making pdf's of your articles thinking that would take some pressure off of my link folder; it did. But now my Make Use Of pdf folder is stuffed...unmanageable. Let's see you fix MY problem!! Oh, I did try your Google suggestion by using the search phrase, "'Make Use Of' files." I'm sure you know how that turned out.

    • Justin Pot
      January 28, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      I don't think there is a problem here, just keep coming back and reading more.

  3. Joe
    January 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    YouTube and are also your friends.....tons of useful stuff there

    • Justin Pot
      January 12, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      It's true! There's hardly anything you can't learn on YouTube at this point, and I apparently need to check out Instructibles more closely.

  4. Rick
    January 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    How about actually saving money! Automatic transfer of $30.42 a month to an IRA, 401K, or savings account will equal, at year end, $365.04. That's the same as depositing $1 a day for a year. Pay yourself for retirement, an extra car payment, starting an emergency fund, or maybe for that next computer purchase or vacation.

    I use this method in three variations. First, I transfer $100 each month to a savings I call Dream Account. This is for the tech I want to buy or vacation money. I do the same again to an account for stocks such as Apple and Nike. Finally, I have 401K set up to increase 1% each calendar year.

    As a bonus that Dream account has helped out for emergencies as well like unexpected home expenses. My wife coupons as well and she always checks to see which stores are offering double or triple coupons. She keeps a spreadsheet about the amounts saved on groceries. Coupons saved us $2700 on groceries last year!

  5. Carol
    January 4, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Great Article. I google stuff all the time. and it seems no matter what I am googling about - I always learn something additional at the same time - even if its just that in what I was doing I messed up and created a second internet line and couldn't actually access the internet with either one - but in a couple of days I got it figured out. You guys are one of my go to places along with a couple other sites. Couldn't do it without you! Thanks.

    • Justin Pot
      January 5, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      I'm really happy that we're helpful, Carol. Thanks for leaving a note. :)

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