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Gadgets That Will Save You Money

submitted on February 23, 2010 by mcgirl4 in "Products / Gadgets"

Invest in these smart household gadgets to cut your monthly bills and they end up paying for themselves in no time.

Concoct your own cola

Spend a fortune on fizzy drinks? You're not alone. The average family of four consumes 2,400 sodas annually-totaling nearly $1,080. With a home fountain machine, you can save money and have fun making everything from soda water to diet root beer. After purchasing a startup kit, you buy refill canisters of CO2 and syrup. A liter of sparkling water is 21 cents, compared with $1.50 or more for the store-bought variety, and flavored soda costs roughly 25 cents per 12 ounces.

Save about $720 per year for a family of four (you'll also produce less household waste). SodaStream Fountain Jet starter kit, $100.

Get free HDTV

Since TV went digital, you no longer need cable to receive local broadcast network HDTV channels. For static-free reception, all that's required is a digital antenna (and a converter box if your TV is analog instead of digital). To find out which antenna will work for your location and which channels you'll receive, simply enter your address at Although you won't get paid cable channels anymore, you may be amazed at how many HDTV channels are free (the number varies based on your location).

Save the $700 or more a year you spend on lists antennas ranging from $40 to $150. Or spend less by making your own for about $15 with the instructions at

Ditch your landline

With XLink, you can gab all you want-at home-without having to pay a monthly landline bill. Just route your cell phone calls to a regular phone through the Xlink console (via a Bluetooth signal). Your cell phone's caller ID and voice mail will transfer over, too, and you don't even need a landline for the console to work.

Save about $33 per month (depending on your phone usage). XLink, $80.

Lower grocery expenses

When ALL YOU asked readers for their favorite money-saving purchases, FoodSaver vacuums were a hit. Just put your food into one of the reusable bags, seal it with the vacuum, then store it in your pantry, refrigerator or freezer to extend freshness many times over.

Save the approximately $600 per year the average family loses each year on wasted food. FoodSaver vacuums starting at $100.

Get free home phone service

When you plug the MagicJack into a telephone and your computer's USB port, your calls (in the U.S. and Canada) are absolutely free, using your high-speed Internet connection. The service also comes with call waiting, voice mail and caller ID, at no extra charge.

Save from $30 to $100 per month, or however much you normally spend on your phone bill. MagicJack, $40.

  • 53498
    Posted by mcgirl4 on February 23, 2010
    [reply] 9 0
    Anyone use Magic jack? Curious of a personal experience.
    • orangearrows
      2 3
      7 1 1
      Posted by orangearrows on February 23, 2010
      [reply] 9 0
      Lot of forums online - not very favorable reviews but again it might be due to bad connections or other reason outside the quality of the product itself

      Here is the google search I did
    • 53546
    • deathbynosleep
      7 1 1
      Posted by deathbynosleep on February 23, 2010
      [reply] 9 0
      I've been using magic jack for almost a year. I highly recommend it. Once in a while there is some interference, but for the most part it works great.
    • 53548
    • MrCheap
      1 1 1
      Posted by MrCheap on February 23, 2010
      [reply] 8 0
      It it hard to set up?
    • 53565
    • HouTex
      Posted by HouTex on February 23, 2010
      [reply] 5 0
      Walgreens has them online and in the store
      There are 39 customer reviews at .
      1. Plug any household phone into the magicJack.
      2. Plug the magicJack into any USB port on your computer.
      3. Pick up the phone and talk for free to anywhere in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
      First year of service is included in the purchase price, and then you pay $19.95/year after that.
    • 53567
    • YanBz
      Posted by YanBz on February 23, 2010
      [reply] 8 0
      It is a decent product but a shady company. Here is a fresh bit about their practices:
    • 53572
    • deathbynosleep
      7 1 1
      Posted by deathbynosleep on February 23, 2010
      [reply] 6 0
      Took only a few minutes to set it up. Magic jack can also be used for a fax least sending a fax. I haven't been able to receive one with it(I could just have something hooked up wrong).

      I will say this phone is not used at my main phone. It's merely to use so I have an alternative to a cell phone...that I could forget to charge or leave at work or under a couch cushion.
  • 53528
    2 4 6
    10 8 2
    Posted by pablos17 on February 23, 2010
    [reply] 6 0
    Good tips MCGirl. Was thinking about getting one of soda streams after I saw it online earlier today.
  • 53578
    Posted by YanBz on February 23, 2010
    [reply] 6 0
    Added some formatting for readability sake
  • 53591
    4 1 1
    Posted by reallyrob on February 24, 2010
    [reply] 6 0
    I have been using the XLink Gateway for about 3 years now and I love it! It can be used with up to 3 cell phones and a landline. I don't have a landline, so I just use it for 3 cell phones. The only thing I don't like about it is that the name is not passed on the caller ID. It does tell me which cell line is ringing, by a special ring for each line. Also the caller ID passes the number and says line 1, 2 or 3. It's very easy to set up and then pretty much never needs to be touched again...unless you need to change cell phones. Mine is set to auto connect the phones to the XLink when they are in range.

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